You have probably seen the formula “up to 40 – ultrasound, after – mammography” more than once in popular publications. The wording itself, let’s be honest, cannot but lead to restless thoughts. A mammogram is an x-ray. That is radiation. That is harmful. Therefore, women of childbearing age are spared, but not forty-year-olds?
Admit it, you were worried about such doubts. We will break them down now.
Who is suitable for ultrasound
It’s not about prices and not about the availability of procedures. The point, no matter how trite, in age-related changes. The young mammary gland is literally iron. The organ consists mainly of glandular tissue, which with age (well, depending on the lifestyle, of course) begins to be replaced by adipose and connective tissue.
Doctors often do not take into account (they simply do not have time) your individual nuances and adhere to the approved algorithm “before 40 and after”. But you are alone. It is quite possible that at 45 you look 30. And your mammary gland, like a 30-year-old, is glandular. And you are interested in cancer risks not for show in the medical record, but for immediate response in case of danger. This is where you have doubts and maybe even a conflict with the system: according to the passport, mammography is required, and according to the state of the mammary glands, ultrasound. What to do?
Ultrasound and mammography are complementary procedures, not mutually exclusive. To avoid unnecessary radiation exposure, it is necessary to conduct studies strictly according to indications and only in the direction of a doctor. Mammography can be prescribed even up to 40 years old – in order to clarify the diagnosis after an ultrasound scan, if suspicious foci are found, if there are seals and nodes, discharge … And also in preparation for IVF.
But after the onset of menopause, mammography will become the main or even the only method for the early diagnosis of cancer.
Who is mammography suitable for?
As already mentioned, the need for mammography until the age of 40 is determined only by a doctor (usually based on the results of ultrasound). After 60 years, the opposite is true: if you suddenly need an ultrasound, you will be informed about this additionally. And it’s not about radiation exposure. Although you probably think about it. How big is it?
Perhaps you should take into account that exposure during fluorography, as well as during mammography, falls on the chest area – it would be wise to separate these two examinations in time.