Mammography – How It is Different from X-ray
According to recent research, breast cancer has become number one leading cancer type in Indian women. With a mortality rate of upto 12.7 per 100,000 women, it easily goes undetected in early stages and thus, becomes an even bigger problem to tackle. Hence, women are again and again advised to get regular tests to keep a check on its symptoms and early signs.
A mammography, or mammogram, is basically an X-ray of the breast. It’s used as a screening tool to detect and diagnose breast cancer. It is suggested together with regular clinical exams and monthly breast-self exams for early diagnosis of the disease.
It is even recommended that women aged 40 and above should have mammograms every one to two years. Especially in cases of women who have a personal or family history of breast cancer, doctors recommend them to start having screenings earlier and more often.
Based on the doctor’s recommendation, mammograms are of two types, namely, routine mammogram or diagnostic mammogram. Diagnostic mammograms are more extensive than screening mammograms since they typically require more X-rays to get views of the breast from multiple positions some of which are magnified accordingly with the areas of concern.
What do the results of mammogram show?
- Images obtained via mammogram help in finding calcifications or calcium deposits in the breasts which might be a sign cancer although most are benignant.
- It can also help in finding cysts (fluid-filled sacs) that may come and go normally during some women’s menstrual cycles.
- There are also sometimes lumps observed which may or may not be cancerous.
- Your doctor, at Ayushman Hospital and Health Services, will review the result and help you to learn and understand the next steps during a follow-up appointment.
What are the risks associated with a mammography screening?
As with any type of X-ray, the patient is exposed to a very small radiation amount during a mammogram. However, the risk from this exposure is extremely low and far outweighs it’s benefits.
In a special case of mammogram prescribed for a pregnant woman which is only done if it is unavoidable and absolutely necessary, she is required to wear a lead apron typically used to prevent exposure as much as possible.
We, at Ayushman Hospital and Health Services promote integrity and competence in terms of practice and will do our very best to make the procedure as safe and uncomfortable for you as possible.