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Breast Cancer Screening using Mammogram
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Breast Cancer Screening using Mammogram

Last Updated on Jul 28, 2021
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What is Mammograph?

Mammography is a procedure that uses X-Rays for the imaging of breasts. It is useful in detecting any abnormal tumor or nodes in the breast and axilla.

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What are the types of Mammography?

Mammography is of two types: Screening Mammography and Diagnostic Mammography

Screening with mammography is recommended to detect breast cancer in its early stages. Though results of mammography may not be 100% accurate, it is one of the best methods available for screening breast cancer. Women at high risk are now recommended double contrast MRI for better detection of the tumor.

Diagnostic Mammography is performed on patients with symptoms or elevated risk factors.

When should screening for breast cancer with mammography be started?

Breast cancer screening with mammography should start once a woman is 40 years of age.

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How frequently should mammography be done?

Mammogram may be repeated every year for high risk patients and every 2 years for low risk patients between the ages of 40 and 50 and yearly thereafter till the age of 70.

Who should undergo screening with mammography?

Women over 40 years of age without prior breast cancer should undergo mammography. Women with family history of breast or ovarian cancer, abnormal breasts or certain genetic mutations predisposing to breast cancer are considered to be at high risk and are advised double contrast MRI instead of mammography. Younger women should be sure that they are not pregnant before undergoing the procedure.

Breast cancer Screening

How is the patient prepared before Mammography?

The Patient is requested to take bath on the day of procedure. Patient should not wear talcum powder or deodorant underarms, as these may interfere with the procedure.

How is a mammogram performed?

A mammogram is a simple procedure done using a special x-ray machine and is slightly compressed. The breast is placed between two plastic plates of an x-ray machine and is slightly compressed. The Breast compression is done to spread the anatomy inside the breasts and minimise the overlying structures. Two views of each breast are taken.

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Must Know Information About Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is an abnormal growth of cells inside glands of the breast and if this is not detected early it can spread to the other parts of the body and result in death. Breast cancer is fully curable if detected early.

Breast cancer is among the most common cancers in women of the industrialized world. It was responsible for 39,840 deaths in females in the United States in the year 2007. Some factors that increase a woman’s risk for developing breast include:

  • Age more than 50 years
  • Mutations of BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes
  • First-degree relative with breast cancer
  • Previous breast cancer
  • Prior exposure to radiation or hormone replacement therapy during menopause
  • Early menstruation or late menopause
  • Was never pregnant or had delayed pregnancy
  • Lack of breast feeding
  • Lack of physical activity

References:

  1. Nelson HD, Tyne K, Naik A, Bougatsos C, Chan BK, Humphrey L. Screening for Breast Cancer: Systematic Evidence Review Update for the U. S. Preventive Services Task Force. Ann Intern Med. 2009 November 17; 151(10): 727–W242.
  2. Mammogram - (http://www.emedicinehealth.com/mammogram/article_em.htm)
  3. NCCN – National Comprehensive Cancer Network Guidelines - (https://www.nccn.org/)

Latest Publications and Research on Breast Cancer Screening using Mammogram

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