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The fight against breast cancer is a hard fought battle, and every weapon is vital.

Mammography is a marvelous way of undermining the enemy by allowing you to begin the battle while you still have the strength to fight. A mammogram is a breast x-ray that allows your physician to closely examine the tissue of the breast, and to locate and diagnose any type of breast cyst.

A diagnostic mammogram will usually be performed when a woman is experiencing some type of symptom that could potentially be breast cancer, such as breast pain or a painful breast lump. These symptoms may not actually be breast cancer, and are actually more commonly something more benign, such as fibroid cysts. A lump in the breast may be discovered during a breast self-exam, or during an annual check-up, and having a mammogram will help to diagnose it. Lumps are actually quite common and most often not cancerous. Sometimes a breast ultrasound is used to help diagnose pain or lumps in the breast.

A screening mammogram can help find breast cancer before any symptoms are experienced, and this early detection gives you the highest potential for successful treatment.

Guidelines for when a woman should begin to receive routine screening mammograms vary between health organizations, but talking to your own gynecologist will help you know when you should have a screening mammogram. Age and other risk factors are taken into consideration, and your doctor will help you decide when to have a screening mammogram.

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