Breast compression is necessary for the mammary gland tissue to be adequately spread and for any nodules and microcalcifications to be revealed and the examination to be effective.
The possible discomfort that can happen is totally bearable, and it should not be a barrier for women to take the exam, as it is essential for obtaining an early diagnosis of the disease.
A mammography may be screening, performed to detect any breast injury early, even before the patient or doctor may notice it. It may also be diagnostic, used to determine any change from previous routine or screening tests. When it is just a screening test, images of each breast are obtained at two different angles, whereas when it is a diagnostic mammography, it may include obtaining additional images or other complementary exams.
With the advancement of technology came the digital (computerized) mammography. This exam resembles the conventional one because it uses X-rays to produce the images, but the system converts the image into a digital photo that can be viewed on a computer monitor. With this new technology, exams have become faster and benefit both patients and radiologists who have the ability to handle the computer image.
Preferably, the examination should be performed one week after menstruation, when the breasts are less sensitive. On the day of the exam, it is not recommended to use lotion, powder, nor deodorant.
Mammography is performed by a radiology technique, which positions the patient's breast on the mammography machine. The images are evaluated by a radiologist who issues the exam report.
An early diagnosis of the disease enables a less aggressive treatment and a greater chance of cure.
Be sure to have your mammography as prescribed by your doctor.
Very important: If you have had a mammography before, do not forget to take it for comparison.