A mammogram is an x-ray imaging procedure that screens for cancer and other abnormalities in the breasts. Using low-dose radiation, a mammogram creates a digital image of the glandular tissue and fat. While all women over 40 are encouraged to undergo a mammogram screening each year, women with a family history of breast cancer or those with certain risk factors may require earlier or more frequent testing. Continue reading for more information about what your doctor looks for in a mammogram:
One of the first things your doctor will look for when performing a mammogram is the presence of calcifications, or tiny mineral deposits located within the breast tissue that could be associated with breast cancer. The two types of calcifications are macrocalcifications and microcalcifications. Macrocalcifications refer to larger calcium deposits that are often caused by inflammation, injury, or age-related changes to the breast arteries. These types of calcifications are usually non-cancerous and do not require a biopsy. Microcalcifications, on the other hand, are tiny specks that may develop alone or in larger clusters, and have a higher chance of becoming cancerous.
Masses or Cysts
In addition to identifying macro and microcalcifications, your doctor will assess the results of your mammogram for evidence of cysts or cancerous masses. Cysts may develop as non-cancerous, fluid-filled sacks or more problematic, solid masses that often require a needle-biopsy to rule out the presence of cancer cells. Women with solid cysts or masses will often require additional mammograms in order to track any changes in the size, shape, or edges of the mass.
To learn more about mammograms and breast cancer screening, contact SWDIC today. Providing the highest standards of service and a patient-centered approach, Southwest Diagnostic Imaging Center is a Dallas leader in diagnostic imaging and health screening. Visit us online to find a location near you, or call us today at (888) 530-1053.