What is a mammogram?
It is an x-ray that is especially used to see what a breast is like inside. It is the first technique of choice to detect breast cancer and in addition we can visualize other abnormalities in the breast.
It is performed using an x-ray apparatus called a mammogram. In our center we have two state-of-the-art digital mammograms from the Lorad commercial house.
When should I have a mammogram?
The most effective prevention is early detection. This is why routine breast self-exploration is essential. In addition, mammograms should be performed periodically, because small tumors cannot be detected by self-examination.
Patients without symptoms
A control mammogram is indicated for women between the ages of 50 and 70 years
Indicated every 2 years for the early detection of breast cancer (screening). Mammography performed at intervals of 1 to 2 years reduces disease deaths by 25% to 35%. It is often recommended to go through the exams for a variety of reasons, in which case the radiologist will notify you of the result of your mammograms.
Patients with symptoms
A mammogram is indicated as long as the radiologist or gynecologist has important clinical reasons for performing it, regardless of the patient's age.
These reasons can be:
- Mastalgia (pain in the breast) unrelated to the menstrual cycle.
- Nipple pulled out suddenly.
- Modifications to the outline or structure of the breast.
- Skin disorders (ulcer, orange or red skin, ...)
- Presence of a nodule
- Presence of a nodule in the armpit
Patients under 35 years of age
Mammography is usually not indicated unless there are important clinical reasons for performing it. Breast cancer is unusual in women younger than 30 and less common below 35.
Almost all breast problems in this age group are caused by benign or physiological diseases. The usefulness of mammography in these cases is very scarce, since young breasts are dense, so the lesions are likely not to be seen; it is preferable in this age group to use digital technology.
How do I prepare?
No special preparation is needed except good body hygiene and no creams, talcum powders or deodorant. Often this kind of product has some components that can cause false images.
IMPORTANT: It is imperative that the day you come to be screened, you need to have your mammograms taken before, as the radiologist will need them for a comparative study.
How is a mammogram performed?
A total of four plates are performed in the routine breast examination: right and left chest and oblique. Both the forehead and the side should take the whole breast. On side mammograms it is important to have armpits to see the axillary nodes.
What will I notice while performing a mammogram?
Mammography is not a painful test but annoying and awkward. Breast compression is essential for a good mammogram. With optimum compression we get rid of the breast tissue that is usually grouped in the breast. In this way we avoid lumps of breast tissue that hide injuries.
You will notice a pressure on the breasts in the projections of the forehead and a little stronger in the projections of the side, in the armpit. The discomfort depends a lot on the anatomy of the breast (whether it has a lot of fiber or not) and the sensitivity of the patient, because each one feels the pain differently.
What do we see? What do we expect?
On mammography we visualize breast tissue (cancer can form), adipose tissue (fat) and skin. It is also imperative to hold the armpit to visualize the axillary nodes. We hope to detect lesions smaller than 1 cm in order to be able to perform the least aggressive treatment possible.
What risks and complications can I have? Contraindications
The only contraindication for not performing mammography is the risk of pregnancy, unless there are important clinical reasons for performing it.
There is no risk during the procedure, but sometimes there are things to keep in mind:
Maybe the days before menstruation or when ovulation is a bit annoying. But there are no contraindications for not performing it.
Some patients with large breasts or dry skin may have redness or even flaking when stretching, in which case the test may still be performed, but the patient should consult with his doctor and ask remedy.
Patients with a pacemaker or "Port-a-cath" should be considered, as exceeding the compression could cause irreparable damage, which is why it is important to alert health workers.
What troubles do I have after the test?
You should not feel any discomfort after the test. But in the event that you get any blue, you should consult your doctor because you probably have coagulation problems and you need a solution.
Once we finish the test, what do we do?
Once the scan is done you can return to normal life as this procedure has no side effects.
The results will be sent to your destination center to the attention of the doctor who has requested the scan in about a week.
What complementary tests can be performed after a mammogram?
Your doctor may not be able to make a diagnosis with your routine examination and be referred again for further screening. These projections serve to see the breast from another angle or enlargement and clarify images that are in doubt. They can be more annoying because we do maximum compression in the study area.
Mammography can be completed with many other tests: ECO, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Biopsy, ...
Considerations for the use of thyroid protector when performing a mammogram. ACPRO