What is a mammography?

A mammography or mammogram is an X-ray imaging method used to examine the human breast for screening and diagnosis for the early detection of cancer and other breast diseases. It uses a low-dose X-ray system. There are different types of mammograms:

Simple film-screen mammogram: also called conventional mammography, where the images are seen black and white on large sheets of film

Digital mammogram: the images are recorded directly into the computer, where it can be viewed and specific areas can be highlighted or enlarged. Its efficiency enables better pictures with a lower radiation dose.

Computer-aided detection (CAD) systems: search digital mammographic images to detect abnormal areas that may indicate a malignant process (including masses, calcifications and abnormal areas of density), alerting the physician to cautiously evaluate these areas.

Breast tomosynthesis: AKA digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) or three-dimensional (3-D) mammography, a breast imaging where multiple images of the breast are captured, from different angles, so they can be united (reconstructed or synthesized) into a three-dimensional image set. This results in improved breast cancer detention rates. The amount of radiation is slightly higher than the regular dosage used in a simple mammography, but it remains within the FDA-approved harmless levels for radiation from mammograms.


Learn more about diagnostic mammography and what age a woman should be to have a mammography.

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