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Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Mammogram is a safe, low dose x–ray used in conjunction with clinical breast examination as a screening tool to detect breast cancer in the early stages. Routine screening can reduce deaths related to breast cancer by 25 – 30%. It is used in two ways, one as a screening test and the other to examine an identified breast lump. The smaller the cancer, the less likely it is to have spread and the better the outcome. The combination of your monthly self–exam, your health care worker’s yearly exam and the mammogram gives the best chance of finding a breast cancer. Women older than fifty years should have a mammogram every year.

These include women who have a history of:

blue cross Smoking.
blue cross A family or personal history of breast cancer.
blue crossA previous cancer of the breast.
blue cross No children or children at an older age.

Getting a mammogram is easy. The machine is large with a platform for your breast. The helper will place your breast here and apply another tray on the breast to press it gently out for a flatter x–ray. It may be uncomfortable, but it allows the x–ray to see more of the tissue deep within your breast. Two or three different views of each breast are taken to check the whole breast. The x–rays are read by a radiologist, and the results are reported to your Provider.

Clinical indications for mammography

blue cross Presence of a palpable lump.
blue cross Breast discharge and pain.
blue crossRisk factors for breast cancer.
blue cross Family history.
blue cross Long term use of oral contraceptives (> 5 years).
blue crossEarly menarche.
blue cross Late menopause.

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