What is Mammography?
Mammography is an X-ray examination exclusively for breasts. Mammography excels in the visualizing calcification and is useful for early detection of breast cancer that does not produce lumps. (* Calcification: A state calcium is deposited on dead cells. There are both benign and malignant ones.)
Exposure to radiation
Mammography is an X-ray examination associated with radiation. The level of radiation exposure in mammography, however, is the same as the one exposed in natural environment. There is no risk of affecting your health. Nevertheless, if you are pregnant or suspected to be pregnant, you should avoid mammography considering the effects on fetus being highly sensitive to radiation.
Mammography is generally not recommended for women under the age of 40. The reason is that the number of people who develop breast cancer for that age group is statistically low, therefore the test efficiency is also low. Mammary gland of those under the age of 40 is fully developed and it is difficult to detect its abnormalities by mammography.
Differences between mammography and ultrasound scan
Mammography and breast ultrasound scan have their respective advantages and disadvantages. One of mammography’s advantages is that the latest image can be easily compared with past images as the imaging method is well defined. The effectiveness of breast ultrasound scan, however, largely depends on the skills of operators. Mammography exposes you to a low level of radiation whrereas ultrasound scan does not emit any radiation. Recommended method of examimnation differs depending on age group as mentioned above. Please consult your doctor with your medical history and past test results.