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Benign Breast Conditions
Mammography is a special kind of low does x-ray that creates highly detailed images of the breast. Early diagnosis is key to the successful treatment of breast cancer and mammography provides an excellent tool for early detection. Research suggests that mammograms are capable of uncovering up to 90% of cancerous breast tumors, and that they are capable of finding a tumor two years before the tumor itself can be detected manually.
After a breast lump has been discovered, mammography can be an excellent tool to evaluate the lump to determine if it is cancerous. If a mammogram shows a breast abnormality, other tests such as ultrasound (sonography) or biopsy can be performed to offer a conclusive diagnosis.
Mammography is divided into two types:
Screening mammography refers to the examination of the breasts using x-ray technology for a woman who has no complaints or symptoms of breast cancer (asymptomatic). Early detection of breast cancer is essential for effective treatment of the disease and screening mammography provides an excellent opportunity to find a tumor that is undetectable through physical examination. Once a woman reaches the age of 40, a screening mammogram is recommended every one to two years. Women over 50 should have a screening mammogram yearly. Younger women who have a family history of breast cancer or are at increased risk due to other factors may be encouraged to undergo a screening mammogram as often as directed by their physician. Diagnostic mammography
Diagnostic mammography refers to the examination of the breasts using x-ray technology for a woman who has a breast problem, for example, nipple discharge or a lump, or where an abnormality has been discovered through screening mammography. Diagnostic mammography is a more complex x-ray that seeks to determine the location and size of a breast lump, and to image the tissue and lymph nodes. Imaging will be performed using a number of angles and views for a complete interpretation of the breast abnormality.
Network of Strength offers excellent resources for those dealing with the disease, a diagnosis of the disease or a family member with breast cancer. The National Cancer Institute provides outstanding online sources for breast cancer information and support services.
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