Breast Check & Screening London
What is a Mammogram?
A mammogram is a simple radiographic examination of the breasts, which aims to locate abnormalities and tumours present in the area. The value of this clinical examination has proven to be immense in the fight against breast cancer since it can identify developing cancerous tumours at an early stage, long before there are clinical findings present. Nowadays, the examination is performed digitally, a development that has increased the procedure’s efficiency.
How is a Mammogram Performed?
The suggested time for this examination is between the 5th and 12th day of the menstrual cycle, and it lasts for approx. 15 minutes. During the investigation, the technician will provide instructions and guide you to position yourself appropriately. First, you will have to stand in front of the machine naked from the waist up and with your back straight. Next, each breast is placed between two special plates, and at this stage, the breast receives mild pressure for a few seconds.
In some cases where your breasts are dense, you may experience mild passing pain. You will have to hold your breath for a few seconds to achieve the maximum image sharpness possible during the examination. Four images are taken, two for each breast, as the investigation progresses. Please note that the dose of radiation you receive is minimal and should be considered dangerous for your health under no circumstances.
How Often Should I Take a Mammogram Test?
The age at which a woman will begin to be subjected to a mammogram and the examination’s frequency is decided by her gynaecologist and is, of course, dependent on the clinical findings present at an assessment and the patient’s history.
Are There any Other Methods for Breast Check?
Self Check: Every woman over the age of 20 is advised to follow the process of self-examination once a month. Proposed dates for such an examination are from the 7th to the 12th day of their menstrual cycle. However, women who have gone through menopause should proceed with the self-examination on the first day of every month. Suppose during the self-examination you discover anything unusual, such as a mass, shrinking of the skin or fluid flowing from your nipple. In that case, you must contact us as soon as possible or fill out the contact form to book an appointment for a first examination and diagnosis!
Ultrasound: Ultrasound is a diagnostic method without radiation. It must be performed before the middle of the cycle so the breast tissue is not swollen from the progesterone, and any finding could be quickly identified. For example, we could see cysts and masses in the breast tissue with this method. It is beneficial to have dense breast tissue, especially in younger women. It could be performed more often than the mammogram due to the lack of radiation, but it cannot replace it!
Thermography: Thermography or thermal imaging of the breast is a non-radiation technique for detecting breast cancer. The principal which is standing upon is that the cancerous cells have a high metabolic rate and blood circulation, so the skin above them is usually hotter than the healthy surroundings. There are many discussions about the efficacy and the detection rates of thermography. For sure, thermography cannot replace a mammogram test!