Mammograms are screening and diagnostic tools for breast cancer
Our Fort Worth and Grapevine obgyns want to discuss two types of mammograms – screening and diagnostic exams. Screening mammograms typically begin at age 40 for women with an average risk of cancer and occur annually. These exams help detect breast cancer in its early stages when it is most treatable. Diagnostic mammograms help our physicians diagnose lumps, tumors and changes in the breast.
Mammograms screen patients for signs of breast cancer
Mammograms are low dose x-ray exams performed with a special machine. During a screening mammogram, the radiology technician places the breast on plates and compresses the breast tissue. Flattening the tissue provides the radiologist with a better view. Usually, the technician takes two views of each breast, including a side view and a view from above. Mammograms for screening purposes take approximately 20 minutes.
Our physicians recommend annual screening mammograms for women ages 40 to 75. Women who are not in this age group who have a high risk of developing breast cancer should talk to our Fort Worth and Grapevine obgyns about when to begin having screening examinations.
Diagnostic mammograms investigate signs of breast cancer
Diagnostic mammograms provide a closer examination of any signs of breast cancer, such as a lump. These tests focus on a specific area of the breast tissue, and the radiology technician takes several views. Diagnostic exams take more time than screening mammograms.
Preparing for the examination
Our Fort Worth and Grapevine obgyns offer these tips for preparing for mammograms:
- Women should try to schedule their examinations when their breasts are not tender, avoiding the week before menstruation.
- Patients shouldn’t wear deodorant, antiperspirant or powder on the day of the examination because they can interfere with test results.
- Women should inform the radiology technician about breast implants or past breast surgeries, including reconstruction or lumpectomies.
- Some patients prefer not to wear a dress on the day of the procedure since they have to undress from the waist up during mammograms.
- Patients can expect to feel pressure when the breast tissue is compressed. Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, before may help.
Mammograms are part of a comprehensive breast cancer plan
Mammograms help detect breast cancer, allowing for proper diagnosis and treatment. Screening mammograms can provide early detection. These examinations, along with breast self-awareness, the breast self-exam, the clinical breast exam and the annual well woman exam, help our Fort Worth and Grapevine obgyns work with patients to fight breast cancer. Women should contact us for an appointment.