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:
- A family or personal history of breast cancer.
- A previous cancer of the breast.
- No children, or children at an older age.
Clinical indications for Mammography
- Presence of a palpable lump.
- Breast discharge and pain.
- Risk factors for breast cancer.
- Family history.
- Long term use of oral contraceptives (> 5 years).
- Early menarche.
- Late menopause.