NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Stage 0 Breast Cancer - page 13

NCCN Guidelines for Patients
Stage 0 Breast Cancer, Version 1.2014
Diagnostic mammography
Mammography uses x-rays to make pictures of
the insides of the breast. These pictures are called
mammograms. Mammography that is used for
breast cancer screening often takes two pictures of
each breast. Diagnostic mammography takes more
pictures from different angles. A bilateral mammogram
means taking pictures of both breasts.
Mammography is recommended to look for abnormal
areas in either breast. It is also recommended to find
cancers early before they can be felt as a lump on
self-exam or CBE. Sometimes a breast ultrasound
may also be needed to decide if a breast biopsy
should be performed.
See Getting a mammography
for more information.
Figure 3. Mammography
Mammography is often easy to undergo. Don’t
use or wash off deodorants, perfumes, powders,
or lotions on your breasts and armpits before
the test. These products can make the pictures
unclear. You will also need to remove your top
and bra.
In the exam room, a technician will tell you
how to place your body next to the machine.
As shown in the figure your breast will be
placed onto a flat metal surface, called a plate.
A second plate will be lowered onto your breast
to flatten it. This may be painful but is important
to do to get the least fuzzy image of the breast
tissues. Pictures will be taken from a camera
that is attached to the two plates. Mammography
of both breasts takes about 20 minutes to
The pictures are either printed on film or saved
on a computer. An expert in mammography,
called a radiologist, will view the pictures. He or
she will report the test findings to your doctor.
Getting a mammography
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