Mammography is a breast tissue examination performed using x-rays. It is a screening procedure that plays an important role in diagnosing the cause of symptoms such as breast lumps, breast pain and nipple discharge.
Mammograms are performed on patients with a breast complaint. Scans of the breast abnormality are obtained and carefully examined. A screening mammography may be prescribed to individuals who are over 40 years old or have a family history of breast cancer. It usually involves imaging both breasts. The aim is to detect breast cancer when the symptoms are not apparent and cannot be felt by either the individual or their physician. This aids in the early detection of small breast cancers which brings about a marked increase in the chances of successful treatment of the disease.
If the mammography reveals an abnormal area, a needle or surgical biopsy is performed to confirm the presence of malignancy. A prescription of biopsy does not necessarily mean that the breast abnormality is indeed cancer.
What preparation is required?
Do not apply any chemicals such as lotions, powders, perfumes or deodorants in the underarm or breast regions on the day of your test as these may distort the images. You should avoid scheduling your exam the week before your periods as your breasts will be tender at this time.