What is Mammography?

Getting Your Mammo Done

Dr. Yojana Nalawade: Is mammography painful?

For more details, please do read our popular blog Is Mammography Painful?

It’s a routine imaging test

Getting your breast screening done with mammography done is as easy as checking your blood pressure. It’s a routine test, and there is nothing to be anxious about.

Is it painful?

Contrary to popular misconception, getting a mammography done today is a different experience compared to the past and is not painful. During a mammography session, two surfaces, ergonomically designed to minimize discomfort, compress the breast tissue. The compression helps achieve good medical images so that even small specs of cancer can be detected in very early stages. In some 3D mammography machines, it takes just 3.7 seconds to obtain an image.

Is spending every year on mammography justified?

First of all, mammography is a yearly routine recommended by doctors and medical organizations across the world to all average risk women above the age of 40 years. For the high-risk women (with family history etc.) regular mammography is recommended below the age of 40 years; whether you have any signs of breast cancer or not.

Some women and their families ask if it is a wasteful expenditure to spend every year on mammography when there is a good chance that you may never get breast cancer.

Dr. Smriti Hari: Is spending every year on mammography justified?

Mammography is like a car insurance that you may be renewing every year even if you have a good chance that you may never meet a road accident.

The ability of mammography to detect breast cancer very early gives you the ability to protect yourself just in case there are any small specs of cancer developing in your breasts.

Annual screening mammography performed on all women beginning at age 40 years has reduced breast cancer deaths by 30% to 50%.2

Read one of our most read blogs: Is spending every year for mammography justified? for further points on this popular topic among web searchers.

2 Feig S. Comparison of costs and benefits of breast cancer screening with mammography, ultrasonography, and MRI. Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am. 2011 Mar;38(1):179-96, ix. doi: 10.1016/j.ogc.2011.02.009. PMID: 21419333. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21419333/

What happens during the Mammography Session?

A radiologist and a technician together may be involved in your screening using the Mammography system. The actual imaging process may take less than 10 minutes on a 3D mammogram but the whole process that includes changing clothes, taking the image, making sure that the images are clear etc. may take slightly longer – about 30 minutes. During a mammogram, your breasts are compressed between two surfaces to spread out the breast tissue. Then an X-ray captures black-and-white images of your breasts that are displayed on a computer screen and examined by a doctor.

Is the radiation from Mammography harmful to me?

Dr. Priyanka Are: Is mammography radiation harmful?

There is a common myth that radiation exposure during a mammogram can cause cancer and other harmful side effects. Many women avoid mammography due to this misconception.

Mammography is a safe procedure says Mayo Clinic1, one of the world’s most reputed hospitals. A 3D mammography system produces high quality breast images with low doses of radiation well under prescribed guidelines. The level of radiation in today’s mammograms does not increase the risk of breast cancer for women who get regular, annual mammograms. Additionally, a mammogram is the best way to detect breast cancer early – even before it can be identified during physical exam. The benefits of early detection and treatment outweigh any possible harm from the very low dose radiation exposure2.

Our one of the most liked blog Is Mammography Radiation Harmful? Has more details. Please do read.


When can I get my results?

It may take a day or two for you to get the results depending on the centre. A bit of anxiety during this period is very common amongst patients. Chances are extremely high that your breasts are healthy. Hence please don’t panic.

Do many get recalled after the first Mammogram session?

Recall mostly takes place when the image shows something suspicious but not enough for doctors to conclude whether it is a harmless tissue or cancer. About 4 in 100 screened women may get recalled and usually 3 of these 4 will not have breast cancer1.

Recall rates were 40% lower with a 3D mammography compared to conventional 2D digital mammography2.

A large study by Dr Emily Conant from Pennsylvania University that compared the results of 3D mammograms and conventional 2D digital mammograms done on 96,269 women age 40 to 74 says that screening with 3D mammography simultaneously improves breast cancer detection while reducing false-positive recalls2.


What is a breast biopsy? Who needs it?

Breast biopsy involves the removal of a very small amount of breast tissue under local anaesthesia using a needle from the suspected area for further examination. A small percentage of women undergoing mammogram may be asked to also undergo biopsy. Of all women who receive regular mammograms, about 10 percent1 will get called back for further testing and of those, 80% will not have cancer2. Your chances of being diagnosed with cancer after a call-back are small, but your doctor wants to be sure there is no cancer present.


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© All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a product solicitation or promotion where such activities are prohibited. The content does not represent the position
of Hologic Inc.

Privacy | Terms & Conditions