Early detection and diagnosis can provide successful treatment of breast cancer. Mammography plays a major role in early detection. This low dose x-ray imaging shows changes in the breast before you or your physician may feel them. There are two types of mammography imaging, screening and diagnostic. Screening mammography is utilized for the early detection of breast cancer in those with no symptoms or complaints. Generally, screening is recommended for women between 40 and 50 years of age. This can depend on family history and other factors. Diagnostic mammography is utilized for the detection of breast cancer in those who have a breast complaint, such as a lump found during self examination. It is also used to follow-up on abnormalities found in screening mammograms. Diagnostic mammography can be more involved and time-consuming than screening mammography. Compression of the breasts during the exams is necessary for maximum quality images. This compression may be slightly uncomfortable, but it only lasts for a short time.
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