Mammography

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast. The National Cancer Institute recommends that women age 40 and older have mammograms every one to two years. Dr. Edward Hill discusses mammography and its role in the fight against breast cancer in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

A mammogram is an X-ray that allows a qualified specialist to examine the breast tissue for any suspicious areas. The breast is exposed to a small dose of iodizing radiation that produces an image of the breast tissue.

Mammograms can often show a breast lump before it can be felt. They also can show tiny clusters of calcium called microcalcifications. Lumps or specks can be caused by cancer, fatty cells or other conditions like cysts. Further tests are needed to find out if abnormal cells are present.

The National Cancer Institute recommends women 40 and older should have mammograms every one or two years. Women who are younger than 40 who have risk factors for breast cancer should ask their health care professional whether mammograms are advisable.

Although lumps are usually non-cancerous, the only way to be certain is to perform additional tests, such as an ultrasound or MRI.

Early detection of breast cancer with screening mammography means that treatment can be started earlier in the course of the disease.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.