Mammograms are an X-ray picture of the female breast; it is used by doctors to search for early signs of breast cancer. It is through regular mammogram tests that doctors have used to discover breast cancer early.
Having a mammogram is an uncomfortable process for most women, as it involves standing in front of a different type of X-ray machine. The technologist places the breast on a plastic plate while another firmly presses your breast from on top. The plates hold the breast still to make taking the x-ray easy and flatten the breast. The woman undergoing this test would certainly feel pressure.
In order to make a side view of the breast, the steps above are again repeated so that the other breast can be X-rayed too. After that, the woman would have to wait for the technologist as they check the X-rays to ensure they don’t have to repeat the test. The tests aren’t always smooth, making the mammogram unusual, so what should you expect when that happens. Keep reading to find out.
1. Expect Unclear Picture
Sometimes, the X-ray may not be clear enough for the doctors to make any statements on, which means you’d be required to run the tests again. People with dense breast tissues also fall into this category. When more tests are done, the mammogram no longer looks unusual and doctors can easily interpret them.
2. Expect A Diagnostic Mammogram
There’s every tendency that you’d get another mammogram after an unusual result, which is called a diagnostic mammogram. The one you initially did was known as a screening mammogram.
The diagnostic mammogram is carried out almost the same way as they did the screening mammogram. Just that in this case, more pictures are taken so that other abnormalities can be closely looked at. There is usually a radiologist present to advise the technologist handling the mammogram machine to ensure they get all the images that they need.
3. An Ultrasound Test Might Be Considered
The ultrasound test makes use of sound waves to take pictures of the breast’s interior at the area of concern. You would need to lie down on your back on the examination table while the technician applies a clear gel on your skin and places a transducer on your breast. The transducer works by releasing high-frequency sound waves, which are then picked up by echoes from the waves. A computer now translates the waves into an image of the tissues inside the mammary gland.
They’re not painful. The only thing that might be uncomfortable with the ultrasounds is the gel that the technician applies between the skin and the transducer, as it may feel cold and wet. Ultrasound can be used to examine the area that was abnormal after the mammogram test or a mass that the medical practitioner can feel but can’t see on the mammogram.
4. MRI Scan
When your doctor discovers that the unusual area in your breast isn’t properly evaluated after the mammograms and ultrasound are used alone, MRI scans which are shaped
like a narrow tube can be introduced. The scan uses both magnets and radio waves to create an in-depth representation of the inside of the breast.
You would need to lie face down on your stomach on a table that would slide you into the MRI machine. The test is painless, but the buzzing noise the machine makes can make you uncomfortable. You could request that the technician gives you headphones to shut out the noise. Also, people who don’t like being in small spaces may not feel too comfortable in the MRI, and a contrast agent injected into your arm can cause a weird feeling.
5. A Biopsy
Expect to do a biopsy after having an unusual mammogram. It is when a little piece of your breast tissue is removed and tested for cancer under a microscope. That you have to do a biopsy doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer. Most of the time, the results are not cancer-related, but you’d need a biopsy to find out.
Biopsies are of different types; they could be done using a hollow needle or a cut through the skin (surgical biopsy). Pathologists might be called in to examine the biopsy.
6. Speak With a Doctor
You should prepare to speak with a doctor who can interpret your imaging tests and tell you the results almost immediately. Ensure that the doctor has your previous mammograms, so they can compare them with your new mammograms. They would examine and tell you if you should be bothered or not.
It is normal for most women to feel unease when they get unusual results or have to even wait. You should put your mind at ease while you go through this process. Chances are that there is little to be worried about.
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