Mammography is a specific type of breast imaging that uses low-dose X-rays to find cancer early when it is most treatable
What is a mammography?
A mammogram is a low-radiation test used to obtain a clear view of the breast.The small amount of x-rays that are emitted are designed to look exclusively through the breast tissue. The images obtained are called mammograms and can be printed on film, digital or even three-dimensional. Thanks to this test it is possible to visualise calcifications, cysts, masses, asymmetries, distortions or any abnormal areas in the breast.
They are often performed in combination with an ultrasound scan, so that the two tests complement each other and provide the most accurate diagnosis possible.
Can Mammography detect cancer?
Mammograms are the main method of prevention and detection for breast cancer thanks to their ability to discover alterations and know whether they seem benign or malignant. It can identify early signs of cancer, even when no lump is noticed on palpation and no symptoms are felt. Some signs may take years to appear, so it helps to act in time.
The procedure consists of placing the breast on one plate and compressing it with another plate that will apply pressure to keep the breast flat. The procedure is repeated a few times to capture images of both breasts from above and from the side. This process is short but can be a little awkward, this is necessary to make the image as sharp as possible.
How to prepare for a mammography exam?
If there are days during the month when the breast feels more swollen, such as during your period, choose dates that do not coincide. This way the test will be more comfortable.
Don’t apply deodorant, creams or perfumes under arms or breasts on the day of the examination. Some of these products contain substances that may show up on the X-ray as white spots.
Wear trousers or a skirt. In this way only the top needs to be undressed. And remember to remove any metal objects such as piercings.