Today, millions of women have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are enjoying even more than thirty years of being cancer free.
However, early detection is the key for this success.
Mammogram is the technology that often used to detect breast cancer.
Mammogram, also called a mammography exam, is an x-ray of the breasts.
The mammograms are used to diagnose early breast cancer in women.
Basically, there are two basic mammogram tests: screening and diagnostic mammograms.
Screening mammogram is done in women who have no signs of breast cancer. Generally, the test involves two X-rays of each breast. With a screening mammogram, you can detect a tumor that cannot be felt. The mammograms that are used frequently are screening mammograms.
Diagnostic mammogram takes even longer and also involves more radiation exposure than a screening mammogram due to the involvement of more X-rays.
With diagnostic mammogram you can evaluate the abnormalities in the breast such as lumps, pain, nipple discharge or a strange change in breast size or shape. Also, obtain a clear X-ray image that a screening mammogram is unable to produce.
Remember, with mammogram you cannot prevent breast cancer rather you can save your life by finding it in early stages. The recent studies shows that the mammograms have reduced the mortality rate of women with breast cancer by 35%.
A mammogram unit is a rectangular box that consists of a tube in which x-rays are produced. This unit is exclusively used for x-ray tests of the breast, with special accessories that allow only the breast to be exposed to the x-rays.
Moreover, a device is attached to the unit to hold and compress the breast and even positions it so as to obtain the images at different angles.
Mammogram is usually performed in the procedure room. During the test, a qualified radiographer will help you to position your breast in the mammogram unit. One breast will be placed at a time on a small flat plate, with an X-ray plate under it. Another flat plate is available above your breast.
When the machine starts working, your breast will be compressed between the plates for a few moments. This compression of the breast helps provide a clear picture of breasts to examine by the doctors.
However, there are a few reasons for this breast compression: it evens out the breast thickness so that all of the tissue can be visualized. It also reduces the amount of radiation needed to penetrate the tissue and also reduces x-ray scatter to increase sharpness of image.
For mammogram test, you may be asked to hold a standstill position and may keep from breathing for a few seconds, while the x-ray image is taken, to reduce the possibility of a vague image. The radiographer will move to the next room in order to activate the x-ray machine.
Once the examination is complete, you may be asked to wait until the radiographer determines that the x-ray images of the breasts are of high quality for the radiologist to examine.