Detect & diagnose breast cancer

Key Highlights of Digital Mammography: Everything You Need to Know

Breast cancer is a significant health concern, and mammography is one of the most effective ways to detect it early. Mammography has been used for decades as a breast imaging tool to detect abnormalities in breast tissue. With the advent of digital mammography, there has been a significant improvement in the accuracy and efficiency of mammography testing.

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about digital mammography, from its meaning and purpose to its pros and cons, technical specifications, and more. If you are looking for information on mammography tests in Wagholi or Pune, you are in the right place.

What is Mammography and Why is it Needed?

Mammography is a diagnostic imaging tool that uses low-dose X-rays to produce images of the breast tissue. The purpose of mammography is to detect early signs of breast cancer, such as lumps or calcifications that may not be palpable during a physical examination.

Mammography is recommended for women over 40 years of age, as they are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Women with a family history of breast cancer or other risk factors may need to start screening at an earlier age.

Pros and Cons of Mammography


  • Early Detection: Mammography can detect breast cancer in its early stages, which can improve the chances of successful treatment and recovery.
  • Accuracy: Digital mammography has a high degree of accuracy in detecting breast abnormalities, especially in women with dense breast tissue.
  • Convenient: Mammography is a quick and relatively simple procedure that can be performed in a clinic or hospital.
  • Cost-effective: Mammography is a cost-effective way to screen for breast cancer, especially when compared to more invasive tests like biopsies.


  • Radiation exposure: Mammography uses ionizing radiation, which can increase the risk of developing cancer. However, the amount of radiation exposure is very low and is considered safe.
  • False positives: Mammography can sometimes produce false positives, which can lead to unnecessary follow-up tests and procedures.
  • Discomfort: Some women may experience discomfort or pain during the mammography procedure.

What is Mammography Test?

Mammography is a diagnostic test that uses low-energy X-rays to detect any abnormalities in the breast tissue. The test is primarily used for the early detection of breast cancer in women who may not have any symptoms. Mammography is a safe and painless procedure that only takes a few minutes to complete. The test is performed by a trained technician and reviewed by a radiologist.

Benefits of Mammography Test

Regular mammography screening can help detect breast cancer at an early stage, which can lead to more effective treatment and a higher chance of survival. According to the American Cancer Society, mammography can detect breast cancer up to two years before a lump can be felt during a physical examination. Moreover, mammography can also help detect small calcium deposits in the breast tissue, which can be an early sign of breast cancer.

Mammography Test Procedure

During a mammography test, the patient is asked to undress from the waist up and wear a gown. The technician will then position the breast on a flat surface and compress it with a paddle. The compression helps to spread the breast tissue, making it easier to detect any abnormalities. The compression may cause some discomfort or pain, but it only lasts for a few seconds. The technician will then take two X-ray images of each breast from different angles. The entire procedure takes around 20 minutes to complete.

Who Should Get a Mammography Test?

Mammography tests are recommended for women who are 40 years of age or older, especially those who have a higher risk of breast cancer due to family history or other factors. However, younger women may also need to undergo a mammogram if they have certain risk factors, such as a history of breast cancer in the family or genetic mutations that increase the risk of breast cancer.

Types of Mammography Tests

There are two main types of mammography tests: screening mammograms and diagnostic mammograms. Screening mammograms are used to detect breast cancer in women who do not have any symptoms or signs of the disease. Diagnostic mammograms are used to evaluate suspicious findings from a screening mammogram or to diagnose breast cancer in women who have symptoms such as a lump, breast pain, or nipple discharge.

How to Prepare for a Mammography Test?

Before your mammography test, you should avoid using deodorants, lotions, or powders on your underarms or breasts as they may interfere with the test results. You should also wear comfortable, two-piece clothing on the day of the test as you will need to undress from the waist up. If you have breast implants, you should inform your doctor or the technician before the test.

How Often Should You Get a Mammography Test?

It is recommended to get a mammography test every two years for women aged 50 to 74. Women who have a higher risk of breast cancer due to family history or other factors may need to undergo more frequent or earlier mammography tests. It is recommended to discuss your individual risk factors and screening schedule with your doctor.

Mammography Test Price

The cost of mammography tests in Wagholi can vary depending on the facility and the type of mammogram. A screening mammogram can cost anywhere between Rs. 1000 to Rs. 3000, while a diagnostic mammogram can cost between Rs. 3000 to Rs. 5000. Some facilities may also charge additional fees for radiologist fees or image interpretation fees. It is recommended to check with the facility for the exact cost of the test.

Technical Specifications of Digital Mammography

Digital mammography uses X-ray technology to produce high-quality images of the breast tissue. The machine consists of two plates, one that compresses the breast tissue and another that captures the X-ray images. The images are then displayed on a computer screen, where they can be analyzed by a radiologist.

Some of the technical specifications of digital mammography include:

  1. Pixel Size: The size of the pixels determines the resolution and clarity of the images. Digital mammography machines have a pixel size of about 50 microns, which is about half the width of a human hair.
  2. Compression: Compression of the breast tissue is necessary to obtain clear images and reduce the amount of radiation exposure. The amount of compression is adjustable based on the size and density of the breast tissue.
  3. Exposure Time: The exposure time for digital mammography is typically less than 1 second, which minimizes the amount of radiation exposure.

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What happens in the mammography scanning room?

In the mammography scanning room, the technologist will position your breast in the mammography machine. Your breast will be compressed with a paddle that will spread out your breast tissue. This is necessary to get a clear image of your breast tissue. The technologist will take multiple pictures from different angles.

How much time does the entire mammography test require?

Typically, a mammography test takes around 20-30 minutes. However, this can vary depending on the facility and the type of mammogram being performed.

What are the general precautions to be taken in the scanning room?

During the mammography test, you will be asked to remove any clothing, jewelry, or other objects that could interfere with the images. You will be given a gown to wear during the test. It is important to inform the technologist if you have breast implants or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

What is the cost of a mammogram test?

The cost of a mammogram test can vary depending on the facility and location. In India, the average cost of a mammogram test can range from Rs. 2000 to Rs. 6000.

How to prepare for a mammography test?

There are a few things you can do to prepare for a mammography test. Wear a two-piece outfit so that you can easily remove your top. Avoid wearing deodorant, perfume, or powder on your chest as it can interfere with the images. It is also important to inform your doctor if you have breast implants or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Do insurance companies cover mammogram expenses?

Most insurance companies cover mammogram expenses as it is considered a preventive health checkup. However, it is important to check with your insurance provider to confirm their policy on mammography coverage.

Are mammographers able to read mammograms?

Yes, mammographers are trained professionals who can read mammograms. They are skilled in interpreting the images and identifying any abnormalities. In case of any doubt, they may refer the patient to a radiologist for further evaluation.


Mammography test is an essential screening procedure for the early detection of breast cancer. If you are a woman aged 40 or above, it is recommended to undergo a mammogram test every two years. The test is safe, painless, and only takes a few minutes to complete. By detecting breast cancer early, mammography tests can significantly increase the chances of successful treatment and recovery. Therefore, it is important to discuss your individual risk factors and screening schedule with your doctor to ensure the best possible outcome.