Hello! I’m Dr. Elissa Price, a radiologist at the University of California San Francisco Breast Care Center. I’d like to talk with you about mammography.
Mammography is breast imaging that uses low-dose x-rays. Major medical organizations experienced in breast cancer care recommend that women have a mammogram every year, beginning at age 40.
Mammograms can detect cancers early – before women experience any symptoms – when they’re most treatable. A mammogram can also help find breast disease in women who are experiencing symptoms such as a lump, pain or nipple discharge. That said, mammography may not find every cancer and it can sometimes find things that prove not to be cancer.
Before scheduling your annual mammogram, you should discuss any breast symptoms or problems with your doctor.
Please tell your doctor about any prior surgeries, hormone use, and whether you have a family or personal history of breast cancer. And always inform your doctor and technologist if there’s any possibility you are pregnant.
If possible, obtain copies of your prior mammograms and make them available to your radiologist on the day of your exam. Leave any jewelry at home and wear loose, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to wear a gown. Don’t wear deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms or on your breasts as these may appear on the mammogram and interfere with correct diagnosis.
You may have some concerns about mammography. While mammography does use low dose radiation, we believe the benefit of an accurate diagnosis far outweighs any risk. Be sure to discuss any concerns you may have with your physician.
To learn more about mammography and other breast cancer screening options, visit Radiology Info dot org.