mammography

Mammograms are an essential aspect of women’s health and evaluation

A low dose X-ray is used to examine breast tissue.

This tool both accomplishes the screening portion and diagnostic portion of an evaluation

Early detection of breast cancer is the goal and the product is often a reduction of mortality from the breast cancer.

Evaluation also includes self breast exams and examination by a medical provider

10% of breast cancers may be missed on mammograms

It is not a perfect screening or diagnostic tool

 

Breast Screening Recommendations

1.)  At or over age 40

2.)  Occurrence every 1-2 years

 

Breast Diagnostic Recommendations

1.)  An abnormal finding on self-breast exams or by a provider

2.) Typically referred by a medical provider

3.)  Can be seen at any age

mammography

 

What to expect

1.)  X-ray is done – small amounts of radiation are involved

2.)  Breast will be compressed between a table-like portion and levered portion

3.)  You must remain still

4.)  Images are taken of the sides and the front

5.)  Do not wear deodorant, lotion or other powders [talcum]

6.)  A biopsy may be necessary at some point

7.)  A second mammogram is necessary for a small portion of patients

8.)  Usually around 10% are called back for further evaluation

9.)  Less than 10% of those called back will require a biopsy

10.)  Between 30 and 40% of those who get a biopsy will have breast cancer

 

Risks

False Positives

  • Occurs when a normal patient is called back because of an abnormal finding
  • Because Breast cancer finding is the goal – This exam is designed to be over-sensitive
  • The absence of cancer is usually found at a later point

self breast exam

 

False Negatives

  • Occurs when a breast cancer patient is missed as a normal finding
  • Because exact diagnosis in everyone is difficult
  • Breast tissue and cancer tissue may appear similar or the cancer tissue may be missed entirely

 

Radiation exposure

  • An overall relatively low risk
  • The greater risk is for those below age 40

 

Controversy of Mammograms

  • Is a highly debated topic
  • Age of starting is always being debated at 40 or 50 is being debated
  • Overall improvement is debated
  • The frequency of mammograms is debated

 

Regulation

  • Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA)
  • Inspection and Accreditation every 3 years

mammographycarestream

 

Other screening tools:

  • MRI
  • Ultrasound
  • Ductography
  • Positron emission mammography (PEM)
  • Biopsy
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