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ARTICLE What is a Mammogram?

What is a Mammogram?

A mammogram is a test used to examine a woman's breast and to insure that they are healthy. It uses a low-dose x-ray to take a picture of each breast individually. The pictures will show if there is anything unusual about the breast, such as lumps or changes in the tissue that makes up the breast.

Why should I have a mammogram?

Mammograms are used as a screening test for breast cancer. If the doctor finds anything unusual, like a lump, then he or she may order you to have an ultrasound or biopsy. I biopsy entails that a small amount of tissue is removed from the lump and is then sent to a lab to be tested for cancer.

If you are forty or older you should have a mammogram every one or two years, even if you aren't experiencing any symptoms of breast cancer. If you are experiencing symptoms of breast cancer or you have found a lump, then you need to schedule a diagnostic mammogram. A diagnostic mammogram takes more in-depth pictures of the breast than the ordinary screening mammogram.

Early detection of breast cancer dramatically increases your chances of beating the disease.

What is digital mammography?

Digital mammograms are different from the usual x-ray mammograms because they take pictures of the breast and then stores the image directly on a computer. At this point research has not proven digital mammography to be more effective at detecting breast cancer than an x-ray mammogram.