A mammogram is a specialised X-ray of the breast. It uses low amounts of radiation and the risk of this is very small. It is used widely in breast diagnostic investigations and is the investigation used for women who undergo screening through the national NHS breast screening programme.
A mammogram can detect small or subtle changes in breast tissue which may be too small to be felt by either you or your doctor, but which may indicate a breast cancer or pre-cancerous cells. It is an investigation which tends to be used in women over the age of 40. Women younger than 40 may be offered a mammogram in certain circumstances, but other tests tend to give more useful information for younger patients.
WHAT DOES THE PROCEDURE ENTAIL?
A mammogram is carried out by a female radiographer who will position your breasts on the specially designed mammography machine. Some patients may find the scan uncomfortable or painful as the breast tissue needs to be held firmly to ensure a good image is obtained, but this will only last a few seconds. Both front and side images of the breast are taken. After the scan, you’ll be able to go home immediately. We ask patients not to use spray deodorant or talcum powder on the day of the mammogram, as this may affect the quality of the X-ray.
Results will usually be available immediately or within a few days of the mammogram being carried out.
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