What is mammography?

You’ve heard the word mammography. But what is it?

Well, a mammography is a low-dose x-ray procedure to see the internal structure of the breast.

It’s commonly used in examination of breast cancer - one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in women.

According to Globocan 2012, an estimated 1.7 million women worldwide were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 and 6.3 million women were already diagnosed living with this cancer in the previous years.

Mammography is the preferred screening examination for breast cancer. It is widely available, can be easily done and affordable.

A mammogram can show the earliest signs of breast cancer beforehand even before it can be felt by the woman or her physician. It’s advisable for every female to have regular check-ups to screen breast cancer.

Mammogram can be used either for screening (to look for evidence of a disease beforehand) or for diagnostic purposes in evaluating breast lumps and cysts.

Screening mammogram: A routine test to see for any changes in breast in women who do not have any signs or symptoms of breast cancer. During screening, it is possible to detect a tumour that cannot be felt.

Diagnostic mammogram: Done when there are breast problems like a lump or nipple discharge. Diagnostic mammogram involves very detailed screening than screening mammograms.

How often does a mammogram test need to be done?

  • Annually for females above 25 years of age
  • Every 3 months for women with personal history or family history of cancer and later every 6 months. (PTE scan, mammograms).

Benefits of mammogram

  • Early diagnosis of disease, early detection through screening can completely cure breast cancer with timely treatment.

Along with mammogram, regular breast self-examination also helps in early detection.

In PNG, the Pacific International Hospital houses imaging suite having mammography unit with the following services:

  • Screening and diagnostic mammogram
  • Core needle biopsies
  • On-site ultrasound


Gloria Bauai