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Early detection of breast cancer
The importance of screening.
Mammograms can often show a breast lump before it can be felt. They also can show tiny clusters of calcium called microcalcifications. Lumps or specks can be caused by cancer, fatty cells, or other conditions like cysts. Further tests are needed to find out if abnormal cells are present. In most cases ultrasound biopsies are recommended to obtain a sample of the tissue and send it to a lab for further examination.
Mammograms don’t prevent breast cancer, but they can save lives by finding breast cancer as early as possible. Finding breast cancers early with mammography has also meant that many more women being treated for breast cancer are able to keep their breasts. When caught early, localized cancers can be removed without resorting to breast removal (mastectomy). Some women wonder about the risks of radiation exposure due to mammography. Modern-day mammography only involves a small amount of radiation — even less than a standard chest X-ray.
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