Mammography is the radiological technique dedicated to the study of the breast. It is the basic and essential imaging method in the diagnosis of breast pathology, and the only one recognized as a screening technique for breast cancer, allowing its early detection, and the only one that has shown a reduction in cancer mortality rates. breast.
It is especially sensitive in the diagnosis of microcalcifications,
which can be an early sign of breast cancer, and are hardly or not detectable by other imaging techniques (ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging). Mammography as screening began to be used in the 1960s in order to detect cancer-suspicious cancer before they are clinically evident, as small as possible, to improve the prognosis and survival of patients with this tumor. Multiple studies have been conducted to assess the importance of mammography as a screening, as well as to define at what age to start
screening, how often it should be recommended and up to what age tomaintain its indication.
The exposure to radiation from modern mammography machines is extremely low, so the risk of radiation-induced cancer is equally low. Modern technology provides a favorable risk-benefit ratio for women age 40 and older. However, it should not be used in women under the age of 25; from this age up to 39 years, it is recommended only in cases of diagnostic problems.
How it is performed?
The diagnostic protocol for breast pathology must begin with the anamnesis (interrogation) and physical examination (inspection, palpation), carried out by the technician before the radiographic study, which will determine the application( Mammography)of the rest of the diagnostic techniques. Two projections, craniocaudal and mediolateral oblique, must be carried out systematically, which may eventually be complemented with additional
projections (localized, magnified compressions, etc.) for better evaluation of doubtful areas, at the discretion of the radiologist. Correct compression of the breast is required to achieve optimal image quality with less irradiation.
MAMMOGRAMS, EARLY DIAGNOSIS OF BREAST CANCER
Thanks to mammograms we can detect the disease in time. The breast cancer is one of the few cancer diseases that can be diagnosed early; that is, before any symptoms are noticed.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO PERFORM MAMMOGRAMS FOR EARLY DIAGNOSIS?
The chances of cure of breast cancers that are detected in their initial stage (in situ) are practically 100%. It has been possible to demonstrate that, thanks to the implementation of early diagnosis campaigns for breast cancer, mortality from this disease has decreased significantly, at least when performed at the age of greatest incidence (above 50 years of age).
MAMMOGRAMS AND OTHER METHODS OF EARLY DIAGNOSIS
The most effective technique used to detect breast cancer early is mammography, which consists of an x-ray of the breast capable of detecting cancer at very early stages of the disease. Mammography can detect cancer in the breast before two years when they are palpable and they have not yet deeply invaded or spread to the nodes or other organs. When the tumor is detected in these early stages, it is possible to apply
less aggressive treatments, which leave fewer physical and psychological consequences for women.
Other complementary methods to mammography are a physical examination, carried out periodically by the doctor or by the woman herself. However, this method is not very effective and does not allow
diagnosing small tumors, which would be diagnosed with a mammogram. Mammography is estimated to detect 90% of tumors and less than 50% by physical examination. Self-examination of the breasts is not recommended as the only method of early diagnosis, due to its low reliability. There is no evidence to recommend other diagnostic methods other than mammography.
DO MAMMOGRAMS HURT?
The radiation dose used in mammography is minimal, making it harmless and in very few cases it hurts. Typically, the only thing you’ll notice is the pressure that the clear plastic plates put on your breasts.
AT WHAT AGE SHOULD A MAMMOGRAM BE DONE?
It is convenient that from the age of 40 they are carried out every 1 or 2 years. From the age of 50 it is recommended to do the screening every year.
The most relevant aspects to take into account in screening campaigns are the age at which the population is included in the risk group, the age at which it is excluded and the screening method used. Breast cancer screening programs are currently conducted for women at higher risk, whose age is between 50 and 65 years, by performing
mammograms every 1-2 years. Recently, women between the ages of 45-49 and 65-69 years are being incorporated into screening programs. Early(Breast cancer: Symptoms causes and treatment Us )diagnosis campaigns above 69 years of age and below 45 years of age have not shown a benefit. In women between 40 and 45 years it can only be advisable if there are high risk factors such as genetics.
After the test
After mammography, the radiologist may request a breast ultrasound if it deems it appropriate, either due to the high density of the breast, or to evaluate a palpable nodule or a finding detected on mammography. Mammography can also serve as a guide for presurgical marking of lesions or to direct punctures (FNA or BAG) using stereotaxy. However, whenever an injury is visible by ultrasound, this will be the technique of choice, due to its speed and allowing direct visualization of the lesion during the procedure.(Car accident lawyer free consultation)