How Do Mammograms Work

How Do Mammograms Work?

To understand how mammograms work, you first need to understand what the procedure involves. Here, you’ll learn about Radiation, the process of the test, and what to expect from the results. There are several questions that you may have, too, including False-negative results, which can cause further tests to be needed. Despite their importance, there are some things you should know before going in for a mammogram.


Mammograms use a small amount of radiation, which is well within medical guidelines. Because mammograms are used as screening tools, these procedures are highly regulated. The machines used are certified by the governing agencies. Background radiation is an inevitable part of the environment. The radiation dose you receive during a mammogram is roughly equivalent to the background radiation you will receive for two months of exposure to the sun.

Most background radiation comes from cosmic radiation and radioactive minerals in the ground. While a mammogram does expose you to more radiation than a chest x-ray, the exposure is less than the amount of cosmic radiation that builds up in the average Denver home each year. The dose delivered during a mammogram is much lower than that of a CT scan or a barium x-ray study. However, it is still necessary to ask about the level of exposure.

The British Journal of Radiology has updated its calculations for the risk of radiation during mammograms. The authors of this report based on an article in the British Journal of Radiology and the NHSBSP Report 54 have provided updated radiation risk coefficients. In addition, improved treatments for breast cancer have led to a change in assumptions about the risk of developing the disease outside of the screening program. In addition to improving the detection rate, screening has also reduced the mortality of people diagnosed with breast cancer.

A recent study found that 1 million American women carry the AT gene, which is associated with a high risk of breast cancer. The study also found that sunscreen lotions may increase the risk of malignant melanoma. The findings of this study will likely cause confusion among women. However, it is important to note that there are still many women who are unsure about the risk of breast cancer and are not aware of the dangers of radiation during mammograms.


In this study, we asked women to describe the time they experienced pain after getting a mammogram. We compared pain levels at different moments and between first-time and returning participants. We also compared pain levels at different time points between groups with different breast volume. Interestingly, we found no consistent trend in the pain levels of women with small, medium, and large breasts. Women with small breasts felt the most pain during the compression phase of the mammogram, while those with large breasts were the least impacted. Pain levels were most common in the first three days after mammogram, with no difference between adjacent volume groups.

While most women experience no pain after a mammogram, some report soreness or tenderness for a few hours following the procedure. A smaller number of women may experience bruising, especially if they’re taking blood thinners or are naturally prone to bruising. Regardless of the severity of pain, the pain shouldn’t discourage you from getting another mammogram. Discuss your concerns with the technologist and ask for tips on how to deal with the discomfort after a mammogram.

While the FDA’s Division of Mammography Quality Standards advises women to schedule two appointments for a mammogram, you can also use over-the-counter pain relievers to relieve any discomfort during the exam. Avoiding caffeine on the day of the mammogram can also reduce the pain felt. The Mayo Clinic suggests that reducing or eliminating caffeine can help decrease breast discomfort during the mammogram.

Test results

What do mammogram test results mean? The results of a mammogram are important because they can help determine whether or not you have breast cancer. A negative mammogram result usually means that nothing is wrong with your breasts. If you have dense breasts, your mammogram may show calcification, which looks like white spots on the images. Microcalcifications are smaller than macrocalcifications and are often an early sign of cancer.

Mammograms are routine tests and most results are negative. However, a small percentage of women may need further testing. Those with abnormal mammogram results should not be alarmed. It may be a benign condition or a benign lump. You may need a follow-up mammogram to rule out a cancerous growth. Your doctor will also determine whether you need further diagnostic tests. If your mammogram is abnormal, your doctor will want to know what the findings are.

The American College of Physicians recommends getting a mammogram every year starting at age 40. However, the American Cancer Society has different recommendations and you should consult your doctor. Remember, your doctor will have the best information about your health. Test results for mammograms should be consistent across the United States. If you have a mammogram performed on a regular basis, your doctor will be able to tell you when you should have it repeated.

Mammogram test results are usually available a few weeks after your appointment. The timeframe depends on the facility where your screening was done. In general, the radiologist will read the images and then report them to you or your physician. However, if you don’t receive results within a week of the appointment, contact your health care provider. Whether it is a normal mammogram or a suspicious one, the results can be delayed.

False-negative results

Many women suffer false-negative mammogram results. These results are usually due to a variety of reasons, including small, benign lesions, lack of desmoplastic reaction, or slow growth. Others may be the result of suboptimal viewing conditions or other factors. A lack of systematic approach can also cause errors in interpretation. A lack of knowledge about clinical findings may result in overlooking subtle lesions. And a third, but not least, a woman’s own nonbelief can also lead to false-negative results.

A study in the United States found that almost one third of women underwent mammograms that were false-positive. It was calculated that, for every cancer detected during screening, eleven women in New England had to go back for a second mammogram. For each woman who had a false-positive result on her first mammogram, an additional six had to be scheduled for repeat screening. This rate was significantly higher than expected.

In some instances, a woman may experience false-positive results only once in her lifetime. In such cases, women may have an increased risk of developing breast cancer if they have difficult breasts. In other cases, a false-positive result may be an early indicator of cancer that might develop in the future. A woman may also have an increased risk of breast cancer if she has had hormone replacement therapy, which has been associated with increased false-positive screening results and decreased sensitivity. A study has also suggested a possible association between long-term HRT use and breast cancer.

Although many women have cancer, the majority of false-positives are not malignant. While the term “false-negative” is still used in some instances, it should be kept in perspective. The vast majority of false-positives will be ruled out with biopsy. However, there are other studies that may restrict the use of this term to women who have undergone open biopsy. For this reason, women should have regular mammograms and follow-up appointments.

Getting a second mammogram

If you had a screening mammogram and noticed a suspicious lesion, you might consider getting a second mammogram. Sometimes women have to get a second mammogram if the results of the first screening are inconclusive or because of dense breast tissue. Your doctor may ask you to get a follow-up mammogram or ultrasound. While the purpose of the follow-up appointment is not to diagnose breast cancer, it will give your doctor a better idea of what to look for in your body.

Typically, only 10 out of every 100 women will get a second mammogram. Of those women, six will have normal results, while two will be told that everything is fine. Another two women will be asked to return earlier or after six months to make sure that a benign finding is stable. One to two women may be advised to have a biopsy, although this is rare. This is because the density of breast tissue can make it difficult to detect certain areas. Some women may have a mass, while others may have a cyst or calcifications.

A second mammogram is important for many women. While most women don’t need a repeat mammogram, a newly-emerging cyst may be a reason to schedule a follow-up. Even if the first result comes back normal, it’s still a good idea to get a second mammogram for peace of mind. In addition, a second mammogram can help the doctor decide whether or not to recommend further tests.

Before your mammogram, be sure to wear a light-weight undershirt or loose-fitting pants. Deodorant, lotion, and body powder can interfere with the X-ray images, which is why women should avoid getting a mammogram during their period. Wear loose-fitting clothing and make sure to take off all jewelry. You should avoid eating, drinking, and smoking for at least seven days before your mammogram.

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