Mammography is a technique of taking soft tissue X-rays in which two films of each breast are taken after adequate compression under an acrylic sheet. This quick medical exam produces pictures that your doctor can use to identify and treat any abnormal areas, possibly indicating the presence of cancer.
Annual mammograms can detect cancer early (when it is most treatable). In fact, mammograms show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. Mammograms can also prevent the need for extensive treatment for advanced cancers and improve chances of breast conservation.
Mammography should be done in the below cases:
- If you have pain, discharge or a lump in the breast.
- If a lump is felt during self or routine examination.
- If you have a family history of breast cancer.
- If you are undergoing hormone replacement therapy as per consultation with your doctor.
Below are some important points one should keep in mind before going for mammography:
- Mammography should preferably be done after the month’s menstrual cycle.
- Avoid the week before your menstrual period.
- When you go for a mammography test, make sure to take with you copies of any previous reports you may have, so that the doctor may compare the reports.
- Go dressed correctly for the rest. Wear a two piece outfit, so that you will need to remove only your top.
- Don’t use a lotion, deodorant or powder around the breasts or armpit, as this may show up in X-rays.