Typically used for the early detection of breast cancers and diseases, mammograms are very low-dose x-rays specifically designed to examine the breasts. Non-invasive mammograms can detect suspicious masses and calcifications before they can be discovered by hand. To obtain the clearest possible image, the technician will gently but firmly pull as much breast tissue as possible within the field of the x-ray detector. After pressing the breast firmly against the detector, the image will be recorded in a few seconds. The entire testing process will take between 15 to 30 minutes.
Digital mammograms have been proven to detect breast cancers better than conventional mammograms in three groups of women: those younger than 50, those with dense breasts, and those who are pre-menopausal. Digital mammography, also known as full-field digital mammography, makes it possible for the images of the breast to be viewed on a computer monitor or printed on a special film similar to traditional mammograms.