A mammogram is an X-ray image of your breasts used to screen for breast cancer. Mammograms play a key role in early breast cancer detection and help decrease breast cancer deaths.
During a mammogram, your breasts are compressed between two firm surfaces to spread out the breast tissue. Then an X-ray captures black-and-white images of your breasts that are displayed on a computer screen and examined by a doctor who looks for signs of cancer.
A mammogram can be used either for screening or for diagnostic purposes. How often you should have a mammogram depends on your age and your risk of breast cancer.
Aug. 20, 2016
- Breast cancer screening (PDQ). National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/hp/breast-screening-pdq. Accessed June 3, 2016.
- Mammography. RadiologyInfo.org. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=mammo. Accessed June 3, 2016.
- Adam A, et al. The breast. In: Grainger & Allison's Diagnostic Radiology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2015. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 10, 2016.
- Smith RA, et al. Cancer screening in the United States, 2016: A review of current American Cancer Society guidelines and current issues in cancer screening. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2016;66:95.
- Screening for breast cancer. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2016;164:279.
- Consumer information (MQSA). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/MammographyQualityStandardsActandProgram/ConsumerInformation/default.htm. Accessed June 3, 2016.
- Pruthi S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 15, 2016.
- Slanetz PJ. MRI of the breast and emerging technologies. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 3, 2016.
- Souza FH, et al. Is full-field digital mammography more accurate than screen-film mammography in overall population screening? A systematic review and meta-analysis. The Breast. 2013;22:217.
- Green VL. Mammographic breast density and breast cancer risk: Implications of the breast density legislation for health care practitioners. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2016;59:419.