The Importance of Routine Mammograms
Mammograms are one of the most essential instruments that doctors use to not only screen for breast cancer but also diagnose, investigate, and evaluate patients who have the disease. This is a safe and reasonably accurate method that has been in use for more than 50 years.  

What is a mammogram?

A mammogram or mammography test is an X-ray image of the breast; an early detection tool that may often discover abnormalities which could detect breast cancer before any physical symptoms arise and are less likely to require invasive treatments like a mastectomy (to surgically remove the breast) and chemotherapy. Patients also have a better chance of being cured with early detection.  

How do mammograms find breast cancer?

Just like any other medical examination or X-ray, a technologist will perform the exam and a radiologist will review the results of your breast cancer scan by looking for signs of abnormality which include:
  • Asymmetries
  • Irregular areas of increased density
  • Skin thickening
  • Cluster of calcifications (a build-up of calcium salts in body tissue)

What are the benefits of having an annual mammogram?

It is important to go for an annual breast mammogram screening to detect any early signs of breast cancer. Finding breast cancers early with mammogram screening also means that more women being treated for breast cancer can keep their breasts.  

When should you get a mammogram?

It is recommended that women over 40 should get a routine mammogram, but it is never too late to start nor too early, if you have a higher risk of breast cancer or feel an abnormality in your breast tissue.  

The difference between mammograms and breast screening?

Mammogram screening is an annual preventive exam while a diagnostic mammogram is done on women who have been "called back" from a breast screening, it is more detailed and based on any signs of breast cancer symptoms - such as a lump.  

What is Tomosynthesis?

Tomosynthesis is also referred to as a 3D mammogram, which is a new form of a digital mammogram that produces 2D and 3D images of the breasts. This technique increases a mammography's ability to detect early breast cancer and reduces the number of patients that are "called back" for additional testing for findings that have no cancer indications. The entire process takes around 15 minutes, which is less time than you would spend at the grocery store. So, don't let your dread of the mammography results prevent you from getting this vital, albeit routine, exam. Remember, early detection saves lives.