(HealthDay News) -- A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray of the breast that's designed to detect or explain abnormalities, including breast cancer.
The National Women's Health Information Center describes how a mammogram is performed:
- The woman stands before a machine that takes x-ray images.
- One breast is placed inside two plates, which are pushed together to flatten the breast.
- While the plates are briefly pushed together, some pinching or discomfort can occur.
- Two pictures typically are taken -- one from on top of the breast, the other from the side.
- This procedure may be repeated with the other breast.
- The entire mammogram commonly lasts about 20 minutes.