What is Mammography
Mammography, or x-ray of the breasts, is an investigation that enables early detection of breast cancer even before you or your doctor may be aware of any changes in your breasts.
Specialised x-ray machines and equipment are used to take x-rays of both breasts. The pictures taken are then examined and interpreted by a specialist radiologist who will report the results back to your doctor.
Breast cancer shows up as tiny specks of calcium or small masses on the x-ray.
During the mammography, your breasts come into direct contact with the x-ray plates, so wearing clothes that are easily removed is a good idea. A simple shirt over a skirt or pants is preferable.
Avoid using talcum powder or deodorant on the day of the mammogram.
As well as bringing the request form that your doctor gave you, bring any previous mammography films that you may have. Comparisons with x-rays taken in the past are very helpful in determining if there have been any changes.
Detection of early breast cancer, before it has spread to the glands under the arms is more likely to be associated with cure.
Many breast cancers these days can be cured by an operation which does not remove the breast. The common cause of a breast lump in women between 35 and 60 years is a cyst, not cancer.
No test is infallible… and the same is true for mammography. A small lump in breasts that are dense may not show up on the mammogram, so it is vital that any breast lump be investigated fully. Any lump should be examined by your doctor.