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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 more than 50 years.

For women at average risk, screening mammograms should be performed annually beginning at age 40 to check the breasts for any early signs of breast cancer.

If you have a higher risk of breast cancer, you and your doctor may decide that you will be start screening mammograms at a younger age.

Diagnostic mammograms are different from screening mammograms. Diagnostic mammograms focus on getting more information about a specific area (or areas) of concern -- usually because of a suspicious screening mammogram or a suspicious lump. Diagnostic mammograms take more pictures than screening mammograms do. A mammography technician and a radiologist work together to get the images your doctor needs to address that concern.

Use the links below to read more about mammograms, including:


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