Mammography is also known as mammogram.
It is a low-dose x-ray of the breasts, which is a standard method of detecting breast cancer in women over 40.
Mammography for early breast cancer detection is considered as the best method .
Mammography is done using a special type of x-ray machine that is designed only for this purpose.
With mammogram, it is possible to have an early detection of breast cancer before it develops into worse stage.
A highly skilled health care professional or qualified radiographer usually performs mammogram. It is generally performed in a procedure room. The recent studies show that the mammograms have reduced the mortality rate of women with breast cancer by 35%.
A new type of mammogram equipment called full-field digital mammography has created mammogram to be the best method for diagnosing early breast cancer. As the traditional film-screen mammogram is limited in its ability to detect some cancers, extensive research has made to improve mammogram, thus, introduced full-field digital mammography.
This mammogram provides theoretical advantages when compared to film-screen mammography for cancer detection.
Digital mammography is a conventional film screen mammography that uses low energy x-rays to pass through a compressed breast during a mammographic examination. The emitting x-rays are captivated by the film (x-ray film), which then develops into a mammographic image that usually held and looked at by the radiologist.
However, the traditional film-screen mammogram is equivalent to photographic cameras and films where negatives are printed as a picture. With digital mammogram, low energy x-rays will be passed through the breast similarly as conventional mammograms but are recorded through an electronic digital detector rather than the film.
The radiologist can change electronically to increase an area, or alter the brightness.
Patients going through digital mammographic examinations will find differences during the examination itself such as more equipment in the room (a small TV monitor to view the mammogram results) and the duration of tests.
However, breast compression is still required to produce best possible images at the lowest possible radiation dose.
With full-filled digital mammography, it is possible to use advanced computer and electronic technologies to change the image in order to detect certain breast cancers, which are difficult to visualize through film screen mammography.
This new technology application includes computer-aided diagnosis (computer reading of mammograms), 3-D imaging, dual energy mammography, and the contrast-enhanced mammography. Most of these processes remain in the development stage.
The efficiency of full-field digital mammography is more than traditional film-screening mammography. This is probably because of the facility for the radiologist to increase an image and change contrast with digital systems.
Also, the digital images are available within seconds of ray exposure and interventional procedures such as needle localizations necessitating x-ray assistance performed on digital machines are much faster for tests.
Moreover, the duration of the breast compression is comparatively very shorter. Even, the equipment costs for digital mammography is three to five times more than the cost of film screen mammography.