Mammography- Pros and Cons of medical imaging

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended mammography once every two years for women between the ages of 50 and 74. It is quite alarming to note that ¾ of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease. Since many women worldwide are unaware of when to get a mammogram done, there are public service announcements that are aired nationwide to provide a clear picture of the benefits and the facilities available near them.

What is mammography?

Mammography is the technique used in diagnosing cancerous cells in the mammary glands using low energy X-Rays. The primary goal of mammography is the early detection of breast cancer characterized by the presence of micro calcification. Early detection ensures timely treatment and recovery.

The benefits and risks involved in breast imaging:

Invasive ductal, invasive lobular whatever be the type of cancer it sure is alarming. In most cases early diagnosis is not possible hence it becomes life threatening, leading to higher mortality rates. Hence low intensity breast imaging is recommended.

•    Imaging enables a physician to detect small tumors, when the cancer is still in its nascent form. Detected early, the cancer can be treated with multiple options.
•    Mammography is the best way to detect abnormal tissue growth in the milk ducts known as ductal carcinoma insitu.
•    Low energy X-Ray imaging is ideal for detection of different types of breast cancer like invasive ductal and invasive lobular cancer.
•    X-rays are devoid of side effects in the typical diagnostic range.

Disadvantages of Mammography:

•    Certain types of cancer may trigger owing to overexposure to radiation.
•    Around 5-15% of screening mammograms require further testing like ultrasound. In case of doubt, a follow-up biopsy is recommended.
•    Repeated cancer screening is not recommended for pregnant women or women with other health complication

Breast examination and cancer screening when carried out periodically is a must for women in the high risk group. However, mammography has its limitations:

Unique Mammary Glands

•    The interpretations of mammograms can be difficult as normal breast looks different for each woman.
Higher breast density

•    Increased breast density may also impact the clarity of the mammography and may in turn increase the risk of getting breast cancer.

Breast implants

•    Breast implants may impede the mammogram findings resulting in botched diagnosis. Hence women with implants should ask for special facility that accommodates imaging for individuals with implants.

Despite the many shortcomings, mammography is the best screening method for early detection of cancer. Meeting radiation oncologist at the right time can be a wise decision.  Research is on to provide the best protocol to manage and help screen breast cancer. Marketers of medical imaging equipment, and pharmaceuticals may invest in the authentic mammography email list. Compiled from reliable global sources the mailing list of mammography specialists is a must for health care marketers.

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List source: Mammography specialist email list