Breast cancer is among the leading causes of death among women between 25 and 65 years, with an expected incidence of 1 in 8 women in most countries. Screening and early diagnosis are still the best way to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths. However, there is some debate over the best method of screening patients for this disease.
Mammography is currently the most widely accepted screening technique. The US Food and Drug Administration, along with many other national societies, still describes it as the most effective screening test for breast cancer. Yet some doctors have advocated using Thermography despite a lack of evidence that it can reliably detect breast cancer as sensitively as mammography.
What is Mammography?
Mammography is a radiographic method which uses low-dose X-rays to image the breast tissue for both screening and diagnosis of breast cancer. Any suspicious high density regions or unusual patterns such as microcalcifications are examined carefully. These could be due to a range of abnormalities, such as tumors (benign and malignant), fibroadenomas, or cysts with solid areas.
A good mammogram requires firm breast compression against the detector. This minimizes breast movement and allows for the clearest image, it also provides the shortest distance between the breast and detector at all points, reducing the number of films and radiation exposure, while allowing single-plane imaging of the whole breast.
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