Oncology & Cancer

The backlog in mammograms during the COVID-19 pandemic

At its onset, the COVID-19 pandemic severely disrupted medical care, as millions of elective procedures were postponed or canceled. While the volume of many procedures rebounded by the end of July 2020, the disruption caused ...

Oncology & Cancer

Deep learning predicts woman's risk for breast cancer

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have developed a deep learning model that identifies imaging biomarkers on screening mammograms to predict a patient's risk for developing breast cancer with greater accuracy ...

Radiology & Imaging

Q&A: Dense breast tissue and molecular breast imaging

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: After a recent mammogram, I was told that I have dense breast tissue. What does that mean? Should I be concerned? What does that mean for my future screenings?

Oncology & Cancer

Don't delay mammograms, other breast cancer screening

Fewer breast cancers are being diagnosed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier in the year, when the pandemic began to intensify, many health care institutions suspended their screening programs and weren't offering mammography ...

Oncology & Cancer

Clearing up confusion over breast cancer screening recommendations

What are the current recommendations for breast cancer screening? It sounds like it should be a simple question with a simple answer. However, the answers to that question can vary, says Dr. Katie Hunt, a Mayo Clinic radiologist.

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Mammography

Mammography is the process of using low-dose amplitude-X-rays (usually around 0.7 mSv) to examine the human breast and is used as a diagnostic as well as a screening tool. The goal of mammography is the early detection of breast cancer, typically through detection of characteristic masses and/or microcalcifications. Mammography is believed to reduce mortality from breast cancer. No other imaging technique has been shown to reduce risk, but breast self-examination (BSE) and physician examination are considered essential parts of regular breast care.

In many countries routine mammography of older women is encouraged as a screening method to diagnose early breast cancer. The United States Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening mammography, with or without clinical breast examination, every 1-2 years for women aged 40 and older. Altogether clinical trials have found a relative reduction in breast cancer mortality of 20%, but the two highest-quality trials found no reduction in mortality. Mammograms have been controversial since 2000, when a paper highlighting the results of the two highest-quality studies was published.

Like all x-rays, mammograms use doses of ionizing radiation to create images. Radiologists then analyze the image for any abnormal findings. It is normal to use longer wavelength X-rays (typically Mo-K) than those used for radiography of bones.

At this time, mammography along with physical breast examination is the modality of choice for screening for early breast cancer. Ultrasound, ductography, positron emission mammography (PEM), and magnetic resonance imaging are adjuncts to mammography. Ultrasound is typically used for further evaluation of masses found on mammography or palpable masses not seen on mammograms. Ductograms are still used in some institutions for evaluation of bloody nipple discharge when the mammogram is non-diagnostic. MRI can be useful for further evaluation of questionable findings as well as for screening pre-surgical evaluation in patients with known breast cancer to detect any additional lesions that might change the surgical approach, for instance from breast-conserving lumpectomy to mastectomy. New procedures, not yet approved for use in the general public, including breast tomosynthesis may offer benefits in years to come.

Mammography has a false-negative (missed cancer) rate of at least 10 percent. This is partly due to dense tissues obscuring the cancer and the fact that the appearance of cancer on mammograms has a large overlap with the appearance of normal tissues.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA