RISKS & LIMITATIONS OF MAMMOGRAMS

A mammogram is an x-ray representation of the breast. In women’s the diagnostic mammogram procedure is used for identifying the signs and symptoms of diseases; especially used for verifying the probability of breast cancer.

Mammograms are generally prescribed for younger women with breast cancer symptoms or with high disease risk.

However, the mammogram procedure has also got some risks and limitations, which are enlisted below:

• Mammograms aren’t always accurate: The procedure’s precision relies on the method used and the radiologist’s skills and ability.

• Mammograms expose you to low-dose radiation: However, the dose is very low, and the benefits of regular mammograms outweigh the risks posed by this amount of radiation for most women.

• Screening mammography can’t detect all cancers: The mammogram may not show some cancers identified by physical examination. Cancer may be too tiny or in a region where mammography, such as your armpit, is hard to see. In women, mammograms can miss one out of five cancers.

• Mammograms in younger women can be difficult to interpret: Younger women’s breasts contain more glands and ligaments than older women’s breasts, leading in dense breast tissue that may obscure cancer signs. Breast tissue becomes fattier with age and has fewer glands, making it simpler for mammograms to interpret and detect modifications.

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Mammography advances in breast cancer detection

Breast cancer is a leading cause of death among women in the U.S., but good evidence is tantamount to early detection of breast cancer death. X-ray mammography screening remains the most sensitive non-invasive technique to detect early tumors when women are asymptomatic and cancers may still be non-invasive. Limitations that reduce sensitivity and specificity are inherent in all medical tests, and mammography has been reported to be missing 10%-15% of breast cancers.

Federal standards, along with significant technological improvements, have resulted in improved requirements for regulation, inspection, and compliance. Refinements continue to be made in film/screen combinations, but a narrow dynamic range limits the ability to achieve the high contrast needed to resolve fine structures with only minor differences in density.

X-ray screening mammography remains the most sensitive non-invasive technique for early tumor detection, although regular enthusiasm for other non-radiation imaging cancer detection methods such as thermography, diaphanography (light scanning), whole breast ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging (Breast MRI). While additional methods may refine mammography screening or clinically based impressions, they do not address conventional mammography’s reliability, low cost, and efficiency as a mass screening test for large populations.

During this time, mammographic equipment, technical performance,and skills of radiologists have improved, but radiologists still need to balance the need for high sensitivity for mammographic abnormalities (high detection of cancer) with high specificity (reduction in the number of false positives leading to callbacks and biopsies for findings that are ultimately not cancer).Radiologists ‘ observational lapses persist and are not, surprisingly, closely linked to experience. The tendency to err is all too human and cannot possibly be completely eliminated. This has spurred research into radiologist development aids. Computer-assisted detection (CAD) and digital mammography are notable.