Mammograms are routine procedures these days. But be informed anyway.
Because any x-ray procedures use radiation, including mammography, there is some small risk of radiation side effects to the body. The normal amount of radiation administered in a mammogram is exceptionally low and has been approved by national and international regulatory agencies as well as the National Department of Health and Human Services.
Most experts in the field agree the benefits of mammography screening outweighs the risk of any harm from the radiation. A recent study estimated that ionizing radiation needed for a mammogram is lower than the dose of radiation that a passenger on an intercontinental flight may be exposed, or a skier on a mountain over 9,000 ft. By using these relatively low doses, doctors believe the ability to repeat the mammogram once a year, beginning after age 40-50 years, gives them and the patient information that far outweighs the risk.
Federal mammography guidelines require that each unit be checked by a medical physicist every year to ensure that the unit operates correctly. Specific care is taken during a mammography examinations to use the lowest radiation doses that are possible while still producing the best images for review. National and international radiology protection councils continually review and update the technique standards that are being used by radiology professionals today.
One of the biggest advancements in reducing the amounts of radiation during a mammogram would be from the newest x-ray systems that tightly control their x-ray beams. Significant filtration and dose control methods now minimize more stray or scatter radiation than ever before.
It is very important to have your mammogram procedure done by a qualified technologist, and read by a qualified radiologist. You may find a list of accredited mammography facilities near you with the search bar below.
A few groups in particular may hold a little extra cause to make sure they are protected in the best manner possible from any potential risks with mammography. These can include:
It is very important to have your mammogram procedure done by a qualified technologist, and read by a qualified radiologist. Their level of knowledge can be the difference in how much stress and extra tests their findings provide.
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