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Mammography is a great help not only in the medical field but also to women. With this procedure, many breast diseases can be detected early and a lot of women’s lives can be saved. Mammography is a special kind of imaging that is used to examine a woman’s breast to aid in detecting and diagnosing a breast disease in a woman at an early stage which uses a low-dose x-ray (Mammography).
Mammography is not an invasive procedure that would cause pain. It is a procedure that helps in screening and detecting breast diseases in women especially cancer even without the presence of symptoms and this procedure also helps in the detection and early diagnosis to those who have symptoms as the lump in the breast, pain or nipple discharges (Mammography).
Let us take a deeper look at what mammography is how it started, what its advances are and how it changed the medical practice and how it saved women’s lives.
In the year 1960, mammography already started but it was only in 1969 when modern mammography really existed when mammography machines are already available and by the year 1976 mammography became a screening device became a practice and became recognized as a diagnostic tool. It was very important as even lower doses of radiation are very helpful in the detection of potential problems at a very early stage. At the present time, research centers are trying to develop a higher-end technology to improve mammography (Mammogram, 1).
Advances in Mammography
At present, there are two recent advances in the field of mammography that came out and these two are the following: digital mammography and computer-aided second detection. Digital mammography offers almost instant results because it gives very readable computerized images of the breast. This type of mammography is a helpful tool for women whose breasts are dense and to those who have implants as well.
This is also used to patients who are required to have diagnostic mammograms to be able to have a more accurate diagnosis. This kind of mammography also helps the physician in giving diagnoses because of its better view especially details near the skin line and it also offers a convenient time for busy women because they don’t have to wait for hours before they get their results(Advances in Mammography and Breast Imaging).
The other tool is the Computer-Aided System or CAD that can be used for screening as well as for diagnosing. This system also helps the radiologists to look into the details of a mammogram for the second time to aid them in a more accurate diagnosis. The advantage of this procedure is that patients would not be required to undergo other procedures or testing. This was designed to have a clearer vision of the changes in the breast of a woman that may be suggestive of cancer and the chances of catching breast cancer (Advances in Mammography and Breast Imaging).
Mammography may be helpful in detecting breast cancer but the two recent advances in the mammography technology advances once step ahead which helps patients and doctors the real condition of the patient.
Presently mammography is used to detect and to diagnose certain breast diseases such as breast cancer. Screening mammography is one use; this procedure is advised to women at the age of 40 to have an annual mammogram. As mammography helps in detecting breast cancers as it shows changes in the breast two years even before a lump is palpable. Thus the American Cancer Society (ACS), the US Department of Health and Human Services, together with the American College of Radiology recommends a yearly mammography for early detection and treatment of breast cancer.
For those women who had a genetic history of the said disease or had the disease before, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) recommends that these women should seek help when they should start screening or how often do they have to go through the said procedure (Mammography). Another use is the diagnostic mammography wherein this is used to evaluate abnormal clinical findings of patients. This can also be used if an abnormality is detected when a screening mammography was done to evaluate and look deeper into the said abnormality (Mammography).
How is a mammography done?
As mammography is not an invasive procedure thus it is done without being admitted to a hospital. A radiologic technologist will assist the person and position the patient’s breast in the mammogram. The breast will be placed on a specialized platform and will be compressed gradually with paddle that is made of plastic or Plexiglas (Mammogram, 1). Compression is important because it evens the breast tissues for better visualization and abnormalities would be visible. The patient should hold still and will be asked not to breathe while the x-ray is being taken because it may cause blurring of the image being taken. The technologist will just tell the patient that the procedure is done when the necessary image or images are taken (Mammogram, 1).
In one instance, I was able to accompany a friend one day who will undergo screening mammography for a certain requirement. She was anxious because she was new to the procedure. She was advised not to use deodorants or lotion under the arms as this may produce false positive results as this may appear as calcium spots. Before the procedure was done she was asked if she was pregnant, as we know radiation may be bad during pregnancy and if she was using any hormones, if she had history of surgery or if her family had the cancer history. Her doctor scheduled her for a mammography one week after her menstrual period.
Mammography is a very helpful procedure for doctors and for women especially. In the future, it may lessen the cases of breast cancer because women now can have an early detection and thus have early treatment for breast cancer.
In the future, mammography may do a step higher of what it is now. There can be better, higher end technology that will be produced out of the extensive research that has been done now a day. Mammography may help women and doctors in the future to detect a possibility at an earlier time wherein a prophylaxis may be given to really prevent an occurrence of a breast disease.
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“Mammography.” RadiologyInfo – The radiology information resource for patients.. 2009. Web.
Mondro, Sandra L. “Advances in Mammography and Breast Imaging.” West Palm Beach & Treasure Coast area breaking news, headlines, weather & traffic at PalmBeachPost. 2009. Web.