Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system for examination of the breasts. Most medical experts agree that successful treatment of breast cancer often is linked to early diagnosis. Mammography plays a central part in early detection of breast cancers because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them.
These instructions are IMPORTANT. Please follow them.
- If possible, obtain prior mammograms and make them available to the radiologist at the time of the current exam.
- Before scheduling a mammogram it is recommended that you discuss any new findings or problems in your breasts with your doctor. In addition, inform your doctor of any prior surgeries, hormone use, and family or personal history of breast cancer.
- Do not schedule your mammogram for the week before your period if your breasts are usually tender during this time. The best time to schedule is one week after your period. Always inform your doctor, radiologist, and x-ray technologist if there is any possibility that you are pregnant.
- Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder, or lotion under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the exam. These can appear on the x-ray film as “calcium”.
- Describe any breast symptoms or problems to the technologist performing the exam.
- Ask when your results will be available; do not assume the results are normal if you do not hear from your doctor.
In addition, before the examination, you will be asked to remove all jewellery and clothing above the waist and you will be given a gown or loose-fitting material that opens in the front.
What happens if an abnormality is detected?
- After the mammography exam, the images are transferred to the radiologist for review
- If a possible breast cancer lesion is detected on the mammogram, other examinations will be necessary to get the information needed for an accurate diagnosis. Such exams could involve ultrasound, contrast-enhanced spectral mammography (CESM), MRI and/or a breast tissue biopsy
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