You will be asked to undress from the waist up. You will be given a gown to wear. Depending on the type of equipment used, you will sit or stand.
One breast at a time is rested on a flat surface that contains the x-ray plate. A device called a compressor will be pressed firmly against the breast. This helps flatten the breast tissue.
The x-ray pictures are taken from several angles. You may be asked to hold your breath as each picture is taken.
You may be asked to come back at a later date for more mammogram images. This does not always mean you have breast cancer. The doctor may simply need to recheck an area that could not be clearly seen on the first test.
TYPES OF MAMMOGRAPHY
Traditional mammography uses film, similar to routine x-rays.
Digital mammography is a newer technique:
- It is now used in many breast screening centers.
- It allows the x-ray image of the breast to be viewed and manipulated on a computer screen.
- It may be more accurate in younger women with dense breasts. It has not yet been proven to help reduce a woman's risk of dying of breast cancer compared to film mammography.
Three-dimensional (3D) mammography is a type of digital mammography. Researchers do not yet know whether 3D mammography is more or less accurate than standard mammogram.