Mammograms are probably the most important tool doctors have not only to screen for breast cancer, but also to diagnose, evaluate, and follow people who’ve had breast cancer. Safe and reasonably accurate, a mammogram is an x-ray photograph of the breast. The technique has been in use for about 40 years.
Screening mammograms should be performed annually beginning at age 40 to check the breasts for any early signs of breast cancer. Diagnostic mammograms are different from screening mammograms in that they focus on getting more information about a specific area (or areas) of concern — usually due to a suspicious screening mammogram or a suspicious lump. Diagnostic mammograms take more pictures than screening mammograms do. A mammography technician and a radiologist would coordinate to get the images your doctor needs to address that concern. The technician may need to magnify a suspicious area to produce a more detailed picture that will help your doctor make the diagnosis.
In this section, you can read more about mammograms, including the following topics:
- Breastcancer.org Mammogram Recommendations
- Mammography: Benefits, Risks, What You Need to Know
- Mammography Technique and Types
- Where to Get a Mammogram
- What Mammograms Show: Calcifications, Cysts, Fibroadenomas
- How Doctors Interpret Mammograms
- Mammogram Results: Breast Imaging Reporting and Database System (BI-RADS)
- Mammograms after Different Types of Breast Surgery
- Take the "I Am" Pledge