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Mammogram: What to Know Before You Go

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Mammography is a specific type of breast imaging that use low dose x-ray to detect cancer inside breast early. An X-ray is a noninvasive medical test that helps radiologist diagnose and treat medical conditions. Using a small dose of ionizing radiation to produce pictures of the inside body by exposing a part of the body. There are three recent advances in mammography include computer-aided detection, breast tomosynthesis and mammography. Mammography are used as a screening tool to detect early breast cancer in women that no experiencing any symptom but also can be detect and diagnose breast cancer in women experiencing symptoms such as pain, lump, skin dimpling or nipple discharge.

For screening mammography, it play a major part in early detection of breast cancer because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel or detect them. Recommended screening mamography for women beginning at age 40 and there is research has shown that annual mamograms lead to early detection of breast cancer, when they are most curable and breast-conservation therapies are available.

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Actually there is no specific age to do screening mammogram. Further, experts and medical organizations don’t agree on when woman should begin regular mammogram or how often the tests should be performed. There is some general guidelines for when to begin test, women with an average risk of breast cancer and women with high risk of breast cancer.

One of the indications is microcalcification of breast. The definition is deposits of calcium in breast tissue visible on mamographic imaging. The terminology is either calcium phosphate (basophilic, nonbirefringent) or calcium oxalate. It can occur at any age but more common after menoupause. The etiology can be associated with both benign and malignant lesions. The clinical features are presence of microcalcifications on mamography has led to detection of breast tumors as small as 1-2 mm, and when microcalcifications are present in 50% of carcinomas versus 20% of benign breast disease but only 20% of suspicious microcalcifications are actually part of malignant process. One of the suspicious microcalcifications is irregular and fine, nonsuspicious are coarse and chunky.

How to prepare for screening mammogram is important. There are a few things that patient should take attention such as choose a certified mammogram facility. It is important but if patient going to government or private hospital in Malaysia, it can be sure 100% that mammogram facility is certified by the Food and Drug Administration. This certification will ensure that the facility meets certain standard.

Next, the best time to schedule for a breast test are when the breast are least likely to be tender. If the patient is still young or haven’t gone through menopause yet, that’s usually during the week after menstrual period. At that time, the breasts are most likely to be tender the week before and the week during the period.

Bring prior mammogram images if the patients are going to a new facility for mammogram. As a patient, she can request to have any prior mammogram placed on a CD. Bring the CD with to appointment so that the radiologist can compare past mammograms with new images.

On the day of procedure don’t use deodorant before mammogram. Avoid using deodorants, antiperspirants, powders, lotions, creams or perfumes under your arms or on breasts. There are reasons why those things can apply because metallic particles in powders and deodorant could be visible on mammogram image and cause confusion. If patient came to department and had use deodorant or powders, ask them to wipe them off or take a bath before screening.

In addition, if you find that having a mammogram is uncomfortable, consider an over-the-counter pain medication. Taking an over-the-counter pain medication such as aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen, about an hour before mammogram might ease the discomfort of the test.


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