Health Tip: Getting a Mammogram

Here's what's involved

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(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.


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