Screening Mammography

Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses low-dose x-rays to visualize the breasts. A mammogram is used as a screening tool to detect early breast cancer in women experiencing no symptoms.

Mammography plays a central part in early detection of breast cancers. Current guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the American Cancer Society (ACS), the American Medical Association (AMA), and the American College of Radiology (ACR) recommend screening mammography every year for women, beginning at age 40. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) adds that women who have had breast cancer and those who are at increased risk due to a family history of breast cancer should seek expert medical advice about whether they should begin screening before age 40.

Research has shown that annual mammograms lead to early detection of breast cancers, when they are most curable and breast-conservation therapies are available. Even with the advent of supplemental breast imaging modalities, mammography is the best screening tool for breast cancer available today. However, mammograms do not detect all breast cancers. Also, a small portion of mammograms indicate cancer is present when it is not (called a false-positive result).

Before scheduling a mammogram, the American Cancer Society (ACS) and other specialty organizations recommend that you discuss any new findings or problems in your breasts with your doctor. In addition, inform your doctor of any prior surgeries, hormone use, and family or personal history of breast cancer.

For more information on the procedure visit radiologyinfo.org (Mammography).