A mammogram is an X-ray screening tool used to detect and diagnose breast cancer. In addition to regular clinical exams and self-examinations, mammograms are essential in the early diagnosis of breast cancer.
Before the screening, be sure to tell your radiologist if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are, you should not do a screening mammogram at this time.
During the screening, some compression on the breast is applied to obtain a clear image of the mammogram. Each breast will fit onto a flat X-ray plate, and a compressor will push the breast down to flatten the tissue to provide a clearer picture of the breast. The pressure can cause a small amount of discomfort, but it is usually brief.
As with any X-ray, there is a risk of radiation exposure but it is extremely low as the exposure is minimal during mammography.
The Singapore's Health Promotion Board recommends that women aged 40-49 years should go for a regular mammogram every year. In comparison, women above 50 should screen every two years. Women who are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer should consult a doctor early for advice.