A mammogram is a screening procedure for a disease that claims many lives- breast cancer. It can tell you if there are any unnatural growths in your breast tissues.
Read on to know more about this procedure.
What is a mammogram?
It involves an X-Ray examination of the breast. There are two purposes for this procedure –
- Your doctor may advise you to undergo it (a screening mammogram) as a part of a routine check to prevent cancer.
- She/he could prescribe a diagnostic mammogram if a physical examination reveals the presence of lumps in your breasts.
When should you opt for a mammogram?
Doctors advise all women over the age of 45 to get it once a year. Most women reach menopause in their mid-forties and become more susceptible to breast cancer. This is because there is excess oestrogen in the body after menopause.
If you notice any of the following breast cancer symptoms, you may have to undergo a mammogram-
- When you detect a lump: a lump can grow for a number of reasons. Many of them are benign. But, if you feel a lump, no matter how old you are, then you must immediately consult a doctor.
- A change in the breast shape: if you notice one of your breasts change shape rapidly over a short duration of time, it could indicate breast cancer.
- Pain in the breast: breast pain could be the result of hormonal changes. But, to be on the safe side, a doctor will ask you to get a mammogram done.
Moreover, you should consider getting it if you have a family history of breast cancer. If you have breast implants, you should get mammograms done regularly. Consult a doctor through MediBuddy if you have any doubts.
How should you prepare for a mammogram?
You need to keep in mind a few things in mind before you go in for your first mammogram.
- If you are within the menstrual age, do not schedule the test a week before or during your periods. This is when your breasts are tender and the procedure will be painful.
- Do not use deodorant before the test, as these particles will show up on the X-Ray results as white blotches. So do tumours or lumps. This makes it difficult for a doctor to make an accurate diagnosis.
The doctor will check for two things in your mammogram result –
- Breast calcification: these are calcium deposits in your breasts.
- A mass or cysts
Both calcifications and masses can be cancerous. If so, your doctor will prescribe follow-up tests. If they are non-cancerous, she/he will give you medicines that will dissolve them.
Many women hesitate to go in for a mammogram procedure because they are apprehensive of the results. Remember, early detection increases the chances of staging a successful recovery.