Exactly what is a mammogram? When must i obtain a mammogram?


MNT Knowledge Center

Cancer of the breast is really a disease affecting roughly 2,300 men and 230,000 women yearly within the U . s . States.1 Some women understand the word “mammogram,” they are certainly not conscious of what it’s, why it’s used so when it ought to be done.

A mammogram is really a low-dose X-ray exam utilized by medical service providers to judge for abnormalities within the breast not gone through by a clinical breast exam, in order to evaluate abnormal breast findings.2

Contents want to know ,:

Exactly what is a mammogram?

Exactly what do mammograms show?

Benefits and perils of mammograms

Mammogram recommendations: when must i obtain a mammogram?

Additionally, you will see introductions in the finish of some sections to the recent developments which have been included in MNT’s news tales. Also consider links to details about related conditions.

Fast details on mammograms

Here are a few tips about mammograms. More detail and supporting information is incorporated in the primary article.

  • Every year over 200,000 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Mammograms can help find breast cancer early, when treatments are more likely to be successful.
  • After increasing for many years, the percentage of women getting mammograms has leveled off over the past decade.
  • Around 203,400 breast cancer deaths have been averted since 1991.
  • Breast cancer death rate: down 34% between 1990 and 2010.
  • Around 66.8% of women in the US 40 years of age and over have had a mammogram within the past 2 years.
  • Of insured women, 29% are not getting their mammograms and of uninsured women, 68% are not getting their mammograms.
  • Results from randomized clinical trials show that screening mammography can help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer among women ages 40 to 74, especially for those over age 50.
  • False-positive results occur when radiologists decide mammograms are abnormal but no cancer is actually present.
  • Getting a high-quality screening mammogram and having a clinical breast exam on a regular basis are the most effective ways to detect breast cancer early.
  • Talk to your doctor about your risk factors for breast cancer and the screening plan that is best for you.

Exactly what is a mammogram?

Mammograms can be used as two reasons – to screen for or identify a breast abnormality, and therefore are utilized in women with and without signs and symptoms.1-3

mammogram machine
A mammogram can help a health professional decide whether a lump in the breast is a gland, a harmless cyst, or a tumor.

When employed for screening purposes, mammograms are employed by medical service providers to judge women who don’t display signs and symptoms or abnormal findings with the aim of discovering cancer before the start of clinical signs and symptoms.1-3

These mammograms might also locate calcium deposits known as microcalcifications, which can be associated with cancer of the breast.1,2

Diagnostic mammograms however, are utilized to evaluate abnormal findings like a lump, discomfort, skin changes, nipple thickening, nipple discharge, alternation in breast size or alternation in size a current lump.1-3

Diagnostic mammograms will also be accustomed to further evaluate abnormal screening mammogram findings or whenever a screening mammogram cannot adequately see the breast growth, for instance, when breast enlargements can be found.1

Exactly what do mammograms show?

The aim of a mammogram is to locate cancer, however, other findings might be discovered throughout the test. Some possible mammogram findings include:2,3

mammogram technician

A mammography specialist is educated to operate radiologic equipment accustomed to examine breasts for cancer along with other abnormalities.

Protuberances or masses

The radiologist will assess the shape and contour of those findings to find out a suspicion for cancer versus a benign mass. Benign masses generally appear smooth and round having a clearly defined border whereas cancerous masses appear more irregular having a jagged border.


A calcification (viewed as white-colored spots on the mammogram) is really a calcium deposit frequently brought on by cell secretions, cell debris, inflammation and trauma.

There’s two kinds of calcification – macrocalcifications and microcalcifications:

Macrocalcification: these calcium deposits are large, frequently because of normal aging and therefore are not often cancerous

Microcalcifications: really small deposits of calcium, which can be connected with cancer they can be present in areas where you can find quickly dividing cells.

Distorted tissue, dense tissue or new breast densities

Dense areas represent regions of the breast growth which have more glands than fat. Masses and calcifications during these areas are difficult to identify areas similar to this may at occasions be associated with cancer, with distorted areas being possible spread with other surrounding tissue.

Around the next page we consider the benefits and perils of mammograms and when you obtain a mammogram.


MNT Knowledge Center

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Benefits and perils of mammograms

Just like any test, mammograms have both benefits and certain risks or limitations. The apparent benefit to acquire a screening mammogram would be to identify cancer early just before it metastasizing or distributing with other areas of the body.1

In conjunction with a mammogram, the easiest method to identify cancer of the breast is to possess a clinical breast exam, that is done by your medical provider.1,2

Several studies discuss that in females ages 40-74, most particularly women over age 50, screening mammograms can help to eliminate cancer of the breast deaths. However, studies didn’t reveal any benefit in acquiring screening or baseline mammograms in females younger than 40.1

The potential risks or limitations of mammograms include:1-3

woman having mammogram

Even though the compression in the plates around the mammogram machine can seem to be uncomfortable as well as painful for many women, it is required to obtain a good picture and just lasts the couple of seconds needed to accept X-ray.

Precision: mammograms aren’t always correct and accurate, and lots of produce false negative or positive results. Frequently, it’s because radiologist technique, experience and talent, breast density and age. Most generally youthful women, individuals with past prior breast biopsies, genealogy of cancer of the breast or individuals taking oestrogen hormone therapy may have false good results. High breast density, specifically in more youthful women, may be the primary reason for false-negative results

Overdiagnosis and overtreatment: screening mammograms can’t only find cancers and ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) that need treatment, but could also find cancers and DCIS which will never be a reason for a lady to see signs and symptoms or jeopardize her health, which results in management of a cancer that will have otherwise not needed treatment

Requirement for additional testing: at occasions, in roughly 10% of mammograms, additional testing might be needed for more evaluation. Additional tests include ultrasound and biopsy. You should observe that not every abnormal mammogram findings are cancer

Not every cancers are diagnosed on screening mammogram: 1 in 5 female cancers are missed on the mammogram and could be associated with size as well as location of cancer

Not every cancers found is often curable

Low-dose radiation exposure: as the contact with radiation is low, repeated contact with radiation could possibly cause cancer. Talking to your medical provider regarding your particular risks is essential. For almost all women, the advantages of mammograms over-shadow the chance of radiation exposure.

Mammogram recommendations: when must i obtain a mammogram?

You should consult with your medical provider about when it’s suggested that you should begin cancer screening having a mammogram, as there’s no agreement on when women must start and receive mammograms.2,3

The U . s . States Preventative Services Task Pressure (USPSTF) presently recommends that ladies who’re between your ages 50-74 undergo testing having a mammogram every 24 months. Additionally they suggest that women younger than 50 discuss the requirement for earlier testing using their doctor.2

The American Cancer Society, recommends that ladies begin screening mammograms at age 40 and repeat every one to two years.3

For greater risk women, mammograms can start earlier and really should be based upon your medical provider. In a few high-risk cases, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) might be suggested along with mammograms.3

Ladies who have breast enlargements have to still receive mammograms, which needs to be discussed with a physician. When obtaining a mammogram, it ought to be discussed using the mammogram technologist and facility that implants can be found.2

You should observe that conducting a breast self-exam won’t replace the necessity to undergo a mammogram along with a clinical breast exam done by your medical provider.1,2

Recent developments on mammograms from MNT news

Women with dense breasts might not need additional cancer imaging

A lot of women with dense breasts don’t need to have additional imaging transported out for cancer of the breast after getting an ordinary mammogram, based on the findings of new research.

Anxiety over false-positive mammogram results is ‘only temporary’

Receiving news that the mammogram outcome is positive is understandably alarming, but getting a false-positive result may also induce anxiety. However, researchers publishing in JAMA Internal Medicine say women’s anxiety over such false-good results is temporary and doesn’t negatively impact a ladies well-being overall.

New guidelines for cancer of the breast screening age

Women must have the chance to start annual screening for cancer of the breast from 40 years old and remain permitted to carry on screening yearly after 55, based on the American Cancer Society’s new cancer of the breast guidelines, printed in JAMA.