Decision Assist

Mammography

Introduction

The purpose of this tool is to help you decide whether or not to have a mammogram. When making a decision like this, you must balance:

This tool is not a substitute for professional medical care and advice. Work with your doctor to help you make this decision. A second opinion from another doctor may be valuable. There is usually no exact “right” or “wrong” answer.

Your physician may make certain recommendations to you. However, the final decision about whether to have this test rests with you.

What is the test?

A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breasts.

Female Breast

Mammography is performed to screen healthy women for signs of breast cancer. It is also used to evaluate a woman who has symptoms of a breast disease, such as a lump, nipple discharge, breast pain, dimpling of the skin on the breast, or retraction of the nipple. It can also help tell the difference between noncancerous (benign) and cancerous (malignant) disease.

Breast self-exam
Click the icon to see symptoms of breast disease.

Key points

How much time this decision tool will take

What this tool will provide


Review Date: 9/12/2010
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

References:
  • Smith RA, Cokkinides V, Brawley OW. Cancer screening in the United States, 2008: A review of current amercian cancer society guidelines and cancer screening issues. CA Cancer J Clin. 2008;58:161-179.
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