Mammography is an imaging modality that uses low energy x-rays specifically for imaging of breast tissue. Mammography practice utilizes standardized views of the breasts to for the assessment of breast lesions. It is also used as a screening tool for the detection of early breast cancer in asymptomatic women. Each breast is examined separately and compressed against the film to obtain maximum visualization of masses or calcifications. Early detection of breast cancer allows early treatment and increased rates of survival.
Common clinical applications
- Screening mammography: To detect early cancer in asymptomatic women.
- Diagnostic mammography: To image the breast for diagnosis of a previously-identified suspicious breast lesion.
- Surveillance mammography: To assess recurrence of malignancy in women with known breast cancer.
- Needle localization and tumour marking: To obtain tissue samples from breast masses that appears suspicious on screening or diagnostic mammography and tumour marking for surgery.
- Generally mammography is a safe procedure. Pain sometimes may occur from the compression of the breast tissue during examination. If biopsy is indicated, bleeding may also occur in some patients.