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Why is a mammography done?

Mammography is a diagnostic imaging test that is used to screen for and diagnose breast cancer in women. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among women worldwide, and early detection is critical to improving outcomes and increasing the chances of successful treatment.

There are several reasons why a mammography may be done:

  1. Screening: Mammography is commonly used as a screening tool to detect breast cancer in women who do not have any symptoms. The American Cancer Society recommends that women should have annual mammography screenings starting at age 40, although the frequency and timing may vary based on individual risk factors.

  2. Diagnostic: Mammography may also be used to diagnose breast cancer in women who have symptoms such as a lump, nipple discharge, or breast pain. In these cases, mammography may be used in conjunction with other imaging tests, such as ultrasound or MRI, to obtain a more accurate diagnosis.

  3. Follow-up: Mammography may be used to monitor women who have a history of breast cancer or who have undergone breast cancer treatment to detect any recurrence or new areas of concern.

  4. Breast abnormalities: Mammography may be used to evaluate breast abnormalities that have been detected through physical examination or other imaging tests, such as ultrasound or MRI.

Mammography is a safe and effective tool for detecting breast cancer at an early stage. It is a non-invasive procedure that involves taking low-dose X-rays of the breast tissue to create detailed images of the internal structures. Mammography is particularly effective at detecting small lumps or abnormalities that may not be visible or palpable during a physical exam.

It is important for women to discuss their breast cancer risk factors and screening recommendations with their healthcare provider. Women who have a family history of breast cancer, genetic mutations, or other risk factors may need to start mammography screening at an earlier age or have more frequent screenings.

In conclusion, mammography is an important tool for the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer. It is commonly used for screening, diagnostic purposes, follow-up, and to evaluate breast abnormalities. Women should discuss their individual risk factors and screening recommendations with their healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate screening schedule for them. Regular mammography screening can help detect breast cancer at an early stage, leading to better treatment outcomes and increased chances of survival.

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