Mammography – Process, benefits and alternatives
Mammography - what is involved?
During a mammography, the breast is X-rayed in two, sometimes three planes with a special X-ray device. The aim of this examination is to detect breast cancer at the earliest possible stage of development. I.e. at a time when the affected woman has not yet developed any symptoms on the one hand. And on the other hand, when recovery can often still be achieved by timely, corresponding treatment.
Mammography – when?
The latest version of the Austrian early breast cancer detection programme recommends:
- regular mammographies between the age of 45 and 69 (every two years if results are normal)
- between the age of 40 and 44 or over the age of 70: Mammography carried out at the wish of the patient
- In case of certain changes in the breast, in case of breast cancer and depending on the individual risk, additional preventive medical check-ups may be necessary, as there may be an up to 85 percent increased risk of disease depending on predisposition factors.
Mammography – how?
The mammography is a special X-ray examination. In order to obtain an image that is as detailed as possible, it is necessary to flatten the breasts slightly. This is achieved with the aid of two plates, whereby one contains the X-ray film and the X-ray detector. The breast is placed on this detector plate and pressed by means of a second, moveable plastic plate. The flattening of the breasts can be uncomfortable. However, this step of the examination only takes a few seconds. The density and pain sensitivity of the breast change during the menstrual cycle. For this reason, a mammography should be carried out between the sixth and twelfth day of the menstrual cycle. The breast tissue is particularly easier to assess in this cycle phase.
Mammography – are there alternatives?
The X-ray examination of the breast – the mammography – is the most important internationally recognised and standardised method for the early detection of breast cancer. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is also used in exceptional cases.
The ultrasound examination (sonography) of the breast is another established method; however, it accuracy depends on the breast density. In contrast to the Mammography, it is not possible to detect so-called microcalcification, which can indicate a surface carcinoma in the mammary ducts in some cases.
Mammography – why at the Wiener Privatklinik?
The Wiener Privatklinik not only offers you some of Vienna’s best medical specialists, but also specialists and the necessary technical diagnostic equipment for all examinations, which may be required if a disease is suspected as a result of the mammography. It also offers the best specialists for the immediate treatment of such diseases. Early detection and timely treatment at the highest level are the best guarantee for a long, pain-free life.
You can obtain more detailed information on the mammography from our telephone info-line or by email. All contact details can be found on our Contact page.