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Pinktober: what should be known about mammography and ultrasounds


Hamna Humail

21st Oct, 2020. 08:40 pm
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Breast Health
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According to Breast Health Association, one out of every four women is diagnosed with breast cancer in Turkey. Breast cancer is one of the most common types found in women.

Regular screenings and checkups should be followed as early diagnosis and treatment are crucial in saving lives. Along with self-examination, medical examinations by a doctor can aid eliminate cancer in the bud.

Mammograms are the most reliable method of early detection thus far. It is an X-ray of the breast that looks for changes and signs that might denote breast cancer. The mammography machine compresses the breast between two metal plates to get an image. The procedure takes a couple of minutes and few women experience extreme pain, such as those with cases of a tumor.

Ultrasonography is a painless procedure which uses high-frequency sound waves to examine the breast and converts them to an image, without using radiation.

According to Eurostat, only 36% of Turkish women went in for an annual mammogram in 2019. In Finland the rate was 83% in 2018. Radiology specialist Muhittin Mümtaz Özarar answered frequently asked queries regarding mammograms and ultrasounds.

Can you get a mammogram while breastfeeding?

Physicians advice breastfeeding mothers to have a mammogram done before in order to reduce the amount of milk present in the breast tissue, reducing the density to provide a clearer image.

Can women with breast implants have a mammogram?

Contrary to popular beliefs, the pressure applied during a mammogram will not damage the implants. However, those with implants should get an ultrasound as well during their breast examination.

Does having a mammogram increase the risk of cancer?

Thanks to modern technology advancements nowadays, these procedures emit very little radiation. The amount of radiation from a single mammogram is equivalent to the amount one is subjected to on a flight.

What should be done before going for a mammography?

There is no such preparation required before a mammogram. One should be careful about not using any cosmetics or ointments on the skin before getting screened as they may show suspicious white spots on the X-ray.

When will a breast ultrasound be needed?

Breast ultrasounds are not usually done to screen for breast cancer, they are performed as a complementary examination in patients with dense breast tissue. These do not require special preparation and can be carried out even during pregnancy.

At what age should women have breast ultrasounds or mammograms done?

Regardless of family history, routinely mammograms should be done every year for screening from the age of 40.  Individuals with a history of breast cancer in their family should have a mammogram and ultrasound done once a year. Doctors recommend to start screening for cancer 10 years before cancerous growth was detected in a family member.

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