Mammography for Breast Cancer, Its Uses, Limitations and Risks

Dr Ravin Sharma
MD Radiologist

09 Feb 2024

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Mammography for Breast Cancer, Its Uses, Limitations and Risks

Breast cancer has been the cause of death a lot. Without technology, it is almost impossible to diagnose cancer. But with recent advancements it has become very easy and effective to diagnose any disease or condition very...

Cancer is a form of cells growing in an abnormal and uncontrolled manner producing a cell mass. This cell mass can spread to healthy tissues causing metastasis of the cancer. When an atypically growing cell mass starts to form in the breast tissue,it is known as breast cancer. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women but it occurs in women more often. Earlier cancer had a great mortality rate but with the advancement of technology and early diagnosis, the mortality rate has declined to a significant level.

What Are the Symptoms of Breast Cancer?

Different people have different symptoms including some people being symptomless. some warning signs can be

  • Lumpy breasts, or new lumps in the armpit, or the breasts
  • If the area of the nipple becomes red and flaky
  • Having pain in breasts, especially nipple
  • Discharge coming out of the nipple other than milk, which can be bloody as well
  • Change in the size or shape of breasts
  • Any part of the breast getting thickened and swollen
  • Inverted nipple
  • Pitting or dimpling skin over the breast or nipple
  • Redness or orange skin of the breast

Diagnosis of Breast Cancer

  • Mammogram- the best and most definite method for diagnosing breast cancer. A regular checkup with mammography or other diagnosing techniques are helpful in diagnosing early in the stage aiding in its treatment hence reducing the death rate.
  • Breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)- MRIs are used along with mammograms for screening and diagnosis of breast cancer. MRI uses radio waves and strong magnets to produce pictures of the breast and breast tissue.
  • Clinical breast examination- a physical breast examination is done by a doctor or nurse. The doctor and nurse examine the breasts for any noticeable lump or other changes. If a positive examination is revealed, it is further diagnosed using advanced imaging methods.
  • Breast Self-Awareness- evaluating and noticing your own breasts for any changes is very helpful in diagnosing. If you are having pain, lumps, size change, or any other symptom coinciding with breast cancer symptoms, you should self-evaluate and get a consultation along with diagnostic imaging.
  • Molecular breast imaging- molecular breast imaging (MBI) is a new advancement in diagnosis and imaging. MBI is a more sensitive test. It is mostly used in dense breasts where traditional mammography might not give sufficient clarity. A special radioactive molecule is injected into you which is then viewed by special cameras that detect radioactivity which reveals cancerous tissue growth.

What is Mammography and Its Uses?

  • A mammogram is an X-ray imaging technique that is generally used to examine the breast for any abnormal tissue growth such as cancer. It can be used to diagnose other breast lesions as a screening and diagnostic tool. Mammography is used to diagnose for the signs and symptoms mentioned above.such as soreness in nipple, pain in breast or nipple, palpable mass in breast, thick or indentation in breast etc.
  • When a physical examination renders an inconclusive result, advanced techniques are used as screening tools such as a mammography or MRI scans.
  • Women with high risk of breast cancer such the ones that already had breast cancer or the ones having family history can routinely be screened and diagnosed with mammography.

Limitations of Mammography

  • There are certain conditions where mammography is unable to reveal clear and accurate results of whether cancer is present in breasts such as dense breasts. Dense breasts have more tissue density which renders this test ineffective in revealing the correct breast cancer diagnosis. For such cases, an advanced technology is known as Molecular breast imaging (MBI).MBI is a type of nuclear medicine study in which a radioactive molecule is injected into you. This molecule is selectively taken up by the cancer cells, and is viewed by special cameras that detect radioactivity revealing cancer cells. It can be an effective yet cost-friendly method.
  • Sometimes mammography is used with additional imaging techniques such as ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging(MRI). This is done because the mammography alone is sometimes not sufficiently sensitive or accurate.

What Are the Risks of Mammography?

  • Mammography is an imaging technique that uses radiations, radiations can cause DNA damage which leads to carcinogenic growth of cells causing cancer. However, the risk of developing cancer is very low considering the technique being conducted following safety guidelines by a trained professional. Still, if it bothers you in any way, you should talk to your doctor. Radiations are damaging particularly when someone gets radiation imaging very often. The cumulative effect of radiation is harmful, not a single x-ray.
  • If you are pregnant or suspect pregnancy, you should avoid getting a radiation-based scan since the fetus is more sensitive and susceptible to radiation.if an x-ray is taken during pregnancy, it might lead to birth defects. If in absolute indication of radiation-based scan, necessary precautions are taken to protect the body not being scanned by lead-based aprons.
  • Breasts are compressed using plates which might cause slight discomfort although it is not harmful at all.
  • Certain things might interfere in mammography such as-
    • Powder, deodorant, lotions or creams placed on breasts or underarms
    • If you have a breast implant, you might need a specialist who is trained to do mammography with implants. This is important because the breast implant may hide some portion of breast tissue which can alter the scan report thereby affecting the diagnosis and in turn the treatment plan.
    • If you have had breast surgery previously
    • If you have hormonal breast changes such as in pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Best Diagnostic Center For Mammography

Ganesh Diagnostic Centre is an established and renowned diagnostic centre since 2001.

We have many mammography and other x-ray scans, which can offer report Images online as well. We also offer FLAT 50% OFF on many Scans.

Their excellence is backed by NABH and NABL Accreditations

NABH accreditation is proof of the highest standard of care and service provided to the patients. NABL accreditation reflects the competency of laboratories and equipment based on some national and international standards.

We are known for providing excellent service and care to its patients for decades having created Lakhs of satisfied patients over the years!

Ganesh Diagnostic and Imaging Centre is a one-stop solution for getting all kinds of diagnostic Scans done, as all services are available under one roof.

GDIC aims to provide the world’s advanced technology at the most reasonable and lowest price.

The rates of scans are reasonably priced. Patients can rely upon scan Image reports as reports are 100% accurate.

For Free Consultation From the Doctor

Get connected to our doctor directly- 

  • Dr. Ravin Sharma MBBS, MD Radiology)
  • Phone Number- 9212125996
  • Available- 24*7*365

Book Your Online imaging and Get Early Appointment

Ganesh Diagnostic Center promotes great care and concern for patients.

It is our utmost duty to allow a speedy diagnosis and hope that in future, your treatment is done at the earliest.

Thus, we recommend you to book an appointment with us today and book your online diagnostic imaging scan for any specific disease, disorder and discomfort.

 Frequently Asked Questions

What to Not Do Before a Mammography Scan?

You should take care not to apply any deo, perfume, or cream on breasts or underarms before the scan as it might result in hampered results. These products usually show up as white spots in the scan image.

Is Mammogram Painful?

Does the mammography scan hurt, is often worried about. It can be slightly uncomfortable because 2 plates are used to compress breasts, some women can feel pain as well. Although the discomfort is for only a few minutes which can also depend on the skills of the technologist, size of your breasts, and how much they need to be pressed.

Best Time to Get a Mammogram

You should get your mammography scan after your menstruation as you might have tenderness/soreness in breasts during or before your periods. You should take care not to wear deodorant, perfume or cream on breasts and underarms.

Can I Check for Cancer Lumps at Home?

Yes, you can check for any new lumps in your breasts at home also, you just need the right technique to do so. Also you should know that breasts are otherwise also lumpy, you should have a feel and knowledge about how your breasts are. Use your 3 middle fingers for examination while taking support with your palm of the same hand. Also squeeze your nipple to check for any discharge.

What is the Cost of Mammography for Both Breasts?

The price of the mammography scan may vary from one diagnostic centre to another. It should cost you  between 2000-5000 INR. Ganesh Diagnostic and imaging centre is a renowned centre since 2011, they offer straight 50% discounts on some tests.