Mammography | Purpose and Risks
Mammography | Purpose and Risks
Journal of Cancer Research and Immuno-Oncology is an open access rapid peer reviewed journal in the field of cancer research. It is a bimonthly journal. Below we discuss about Sarcoma –Symptoms, Causes and Treatment.
Mammography is the study of the breast using x ray. The actual test is called a mammogram. There are two types of mammograms. A screening mammogram is ordered for women who have no problems with their breasts. It consists of two x ray views of each breast. A diagnostic mammogram is for evaluation of new abnormalities or of patients with a past abnormality requiring follow-up (i.e., a woman with breast cancer treated with lumpectomy). Additional x rays from other angles or special views of certain areas are taken.
The purpose of screening mammography is breast cancer detection. A screening test, by definition,is used for patients without any signs or symptoms in order to detect disease as early as possible. Many studies have shown that having regular mammograms increases a woman's chances of finding breast cancer in an early stage, when it is more likely to be curable. It has been estimated that a mammogram may find a cancer as much as two years before it can be felt
Screening mammograms usually are not recommended for women under age 40 who have no special risk factors and a normal physical breast examination. Below age 40, breasts tend to be "radiographically dense," which means it is difficult to see many details. Diagnostic mammography is used to evaluate an existing problem, such as a lump, discharge from the nipple, or unusual tenderness in one area.
A mammogram may be offered in a variety of settings. Hospitals, outpatient clinics, physicians' offices, or other facilities may have mammography equipment
In addition to the usual paperwork, a woman will be asked to fill out a form seeking information relevant to her risk of breast cancer and special mammography needs. The woman is asked about personal and family history of cancer, details about menstruation, child bearing, birth control, breast implants, other breast surgery, age, and hormone replacement therapy. At some centers, a technologist may perform a physical examination of the breasts before the mammogram. Whether or not this is done, it is essential for the patient to tell the technologist about any lumps, nipple discharge, breast pain, or other concerns.
The compression or squeezing of the breast for a mammogram is a concern for some women, but necessary to render a quality image. Even with concerns about pain, a 2003 study said that three-fourths of women reported the pain associated with a mammogram as four on a 10point scale. Mammograms should be scheduled when a woman's breasts are least likely to be tender. One week after the menstrual period is usually best. The MQSA regulates equipment compression for consistency and performance.
Women should not put deodorant, powder, or lotion on their upper body on the day the mammogram is performed. Particles from these products can get on the breast or film holder and may look like abnormalities on the mammogram film.
The risk of radiation exposure from a mammogram is considered virtually nonexistent. Experts are unanimous that any negligible risk is far outweighed by the potential benefits of mammography.
Some breast cancers do not show up on mammograms, or "hide" in dense breast tissue. A normal (or negative) study is not a guarantee that a woman is cancer-free. Mammograms find about 85% to 90% of breast cancers.
"False positive" readings also are possible, and 5% to 10% of mammogram results indicate the need for additional testing, most of which confirm that no cancer is present.
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