Mammography is a specific type of breast imaging that uses low-dose x-rays to detect changes of breast tissue anatomy, so we can perform early treatment and therapy. Mammography is aimed at patients above 35 years old. However, for those under 35 years old the breast USG is the method to detect the breast tumor. Some experts recommend that women who are 40 years old and older should have mammograms every one to two years.
During mammography, you will be asked to stand in front of the mammography machine. Your breast is placed between 2 plastic compression plates. The plates are then pressed together to flatten or compress the breast. Flattening the breast is done to make the mammogram clearer so the tissues inside the breast can be seen. If you have a lot of discomfort during the test, tell the doctor or radiologist who is doing the test. They may adjust the compression to make it more comfortable.
Modern mammography equipment uses very low doses of radiation. The risk of exposure is extremely low. If a woman is pregnant and absolutely needs a mammogram before her delivery date, she will be asked to wear a lead apron during the procedure. The benefits of mammography and finding breast cancer early outweigh the risk of exposure of radiation during the test.
How Do You Prepare for a Mammography ?
Before the test, you can’t use deodorant, antiperspirant, body lotion or talcum powder under the arms or on the breasts before mammography. Also, you shouldn’t apply any ointments or creams to your breasts or underarms. These products can interfere with the accuracy of the x-ray. Be sure to tell your doctors if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. Wear clothing that is easy to remove from the waist up and remove necklaces and other jewelry that might get in the way during the test.
Try to avoid having mammography in the 7 to 10 days before your menstrual period begins. Your breast may be tender during this time and you may feel discomfort during the test.