Reasons you may not be able to
have the test or why the results may not be helpful include:
Deodorant, perfume, powders, or ointments
applied to the breasts or under the arms before the test. They may interfere
with the X-ray pictures.
Breast implants or scar tissue from
previous breast surgery. This may make a mammogram harder to
A mammogram is not usually done if you are:
Pregnant, because the radiation could damage
your developing baby (fetus). If a mammogram is absolutely
needed for diagnosing a problem, a lead apron will be placed over your
abdomen to shield your baby from exposure to the
Breast-feeding, because breasts that contain milk are very
difficult to examine.
What To Think About
Most abnormalities found during a mammogram are
breast cancer. But many women who have regular
screening mammograms need more tests to investigate any abnormalities
found during a mammogram. If an area of your breast tissue appears to be a
concern during a mammogram, other tests such as an ultrasound may be done.
Mammogram results are harder to
interpret in women before
menopause because breast tissue in younger women is
denser than in older women. Mammograms may be less accurate in
mammogram allows your doctor to view different parts of the breast
without taking more images. Digital mammograms have the same overall
accuracy as standard mammograms. The procedure in which a digital mammogram is done is the
same as a standard mammogram—each procedure takes about the same amount of
time, and breast compression is needed for both. Images from a digital mammogram
can be magnified and stored electronically.
A digital mammogram may be done along with digital breast tomosynthesis to make a three-dimensional picture of the breast.
If you come from a family where women have had breast cancer
earlier than age 40, talk to your doctor about what age to start screening. If
you have a very strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer, you may want
to have a breast cancer (BRCA) gene test. To learn more, see the topic Breast Cancer (BRCA) Gene Test.