Breast Cancer Screen – Mammogram

Breast cancer screening for women includes a discussion of symptoms, a thorough breast examination by the physician, and a digital mammogram which is a low-energy digital x-ray image of your breasts that can be manipulated on a computer by the radiologist to make it easier to see abnormal areas.

Benefit

It goes without saying that this screening procedure could help identify cancer earlier, when it is easier to treat.

Procedure

Most women begin having mammograms at age 40 and have them every one or two years. You should bring your prior mammogram images, with you, preferably on a CD, so that the radiologist can compare past mammograms with your new images. Avoid using deodorants, antiperspirants, powders, lotions, creams or perfumes under your arms or on your breasts because metallic particles in them could be visible on your mammogram and cause confusion.

You may take an over-the-counter pain medication about an hour before your mammogram to ease any discomfort from the test. Additional mammographic views, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or (rarely) a biopsy, may be added if necessary.

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