What is a Mammogram?

December 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Education

A mammogram is a safe, low-dose x-ray picture of the breast.

Mammograms are taken during a mammography exam. There are two kinds of mammography exams screening and diagnostic.

A screening mammogram is a quick, easy way to detect early, when treatment is more effective and survival is high. Usually two x-ray pictures are taken of each breast. A physician trained to read x-ray pictures-a radiologist-examines them later.

It is generally agreed that screening mammography decreases deaths from breast cancer in women 50 and over. There is a range of opinion about the value of screening mammography for women under 50.

Have a screening mammogram as often as your doctor or other health care provider suggests. A screening mammogram often can show breast changes like lumps long before they can be felt.

A diagnostic mammogram is used if there may be a problem. It is also used if it is hard to get a good picture because of special circumstances (for instance, in women with breast implants). Diagnostic mammography takes a little longer than screening mammography because more x-ray pictures usually are taken. A radiologist may check the x-ray pictures while you wait.

Tags: Medical imaging, Radiology, Screening, Breast implant, Breast, breast cancer

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