Can mammogram harm you?

Mammogram is a X ray of the breast, taken to detect a cancer within breast tissues. But the biggest question is, can mammography harm you as it involves radiation.

Mammography is indicated for 2 reasons. In an asymptomatic patient, as a screening to pick an early cancerous change or in a patient with a suspicious lesion to confirm the diagnosis. 

Can mammography harm you? - Cancer In Sri Lanka

Mammography is different to normal X rays, as the former uses a low dose of radiation compared to other medical X rays.

This indicates that mammography do cause less harm.

By flattening the breast between the 2 plates of the machine and with low dose of radiation, the X ray penetration becomes less giving a better image of the soft tissues.

As the quality of the image depends on the density of the breast glandular tissues, mammographic pictures do not show much details in the young. Hence mammography is usually indicated in over 40 years of age, unless the breast is soft and less dense as in women who have lactate for many years.

mammogram කිරීම ආරම්භ කරනුයේ කාන්තාවන්ගේ වයස 40ට වඩා වැඩි වූ පසුය. එනමුත් මෙම පරීක්ෂණය 40ට වසරක් හෝ දෙකක් වඩා අඩු කාන්තාවන්ටද කල හැකිය. එසේ කිරීමට හැක්කේ කිහිපවරක්ම මව් කිරිදුන් සහ පියයුරු මුර්දු බවක් ඇති කාන්තාවන්ටය. 

Can mammography harm you - Cancer In Sri Lanka
Mammogram (Source -

There are no specific contraindications for mammography. Pregnancy is a relative contraindication, but could be performed by shielding the fetus if really indicated to do it. Further any inflammation of the breast, extreme pain and tenderness, chronic discharging sinuses with inflammation also can be considered as relative contraindications. 

At most instances the mammography is taken minimum at 2 different angles of the breast. It is done by the way the breast is compressed between the plates. In addition, if there is a suspicious shadow, the Radiologist may request another focused image too. Although older machines caused some pain while compressing the breast, newer 3D digital mammography machines are relatively less painful. 

As mentioned earlier, mammography delivers a lower dose of radiation compared to normal medical X rays. The standard 2 views taken on both breasts could deliver only a radiation dose of 0.4 millisieverts (mSv = measurement of radiation). This amount is exposed only once in 18 – 24 months as mammography is not indicated or useful to be done more frequently. 

There is so much of radiation in the environment, food, drinks and at sophisticated life styles which most people are adopted to. Hence the radiation dose of an ordinary person get exposed within a month or two can be more than a mammogram. In the US, people are normally exposed to about 3 mSv of radiation each year just from their natural surroundings. The radiation dose used for a screening mammogram of both breasts is about the same amount of radiation a woman would get from her natural surroundings in about seven weeks. 

Can mammography harm you? - Cancer In Sri Lanka

The risk of radiation in a mammography obviously overweigh the advantages of picking an early breast cancer. Mammography can pick cancerous lesions even before it becomes palpable and felt by a Physician. Further, if an early and small lesion is detected, it can be treated by removing only the lump and may not need chemotherapy too. So overall, mammography cannot harm you as it overweighs the benefits. 

mammogram පරීක්ෂණයකින් ලබාගත හැකි වාසිදායක තොරතුරු සහ ඉන් විය හැකි හානිකර දේ සංසන්දනය කර බලනවිට පෙනීයන්නේ මෙය බොහෝවිට ප්‍රයෝජනවත් පරීක්ෂණයක් ලෙසය.

යම් හෙයකින් ඉතාමත් මුල් අවදියේ ඇති පිළිකාවක්‌ mammogram කිරීමේදී සමුවූවහොත් ඉන් ලැබෙන සහනය අවතක්සේරු නොකල හැක. ඊට හේතුවවන්නේ පියයුරුව සම්පුර්ණයෙන්ම ඉවත් නොකර එම ගැටිත්ත පමණක් ඉවත්කර සුවකිරීමට හැකියාවක් ඇති නිසාය. එපමණක්ද නොව chemotherapy නොහොත් පිළිකා ධුලක බෙහෙත් එන්නත් කිරීමටද අවශ්‍ය නොවන්නට ඉඩ ඇත. 

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