Specializing in mammography is a wonderful choice for a radiologic professional or student. You can truly help people and save lives by working in the field of mammography, which is focused on examining the human breast using low-dose amplitude x-rays to screen and diagnose patients in order to detect breast cancer early on. If you are able to find the distinctive masses and /or micro-calcifications early on, patients who are struck by breast cancer have a much greater chance of surviving and thriving. The patients who are cancer-free can also rest easier at night thanks to the screening work that you do as a mammographic professional.
In the United States and many other countries, regular mammograms are encouraged for women aged 50 to 74 who are at greater risk of breast cancer. Older women should get these exams every other year according to the United States Preventive Services Task Force. Of course, mammograms aren’t the only answer, especially considering the expense and relative danger of creating images using doses of ionizing radiation. Physical breast examinations by a doctor and self-examinations at home also play an important role in the early detection of breast cancer.
Detecting breast cancer isn’t the only use of mammography, though, and if you are thinking of going into this field it’s important to learn what you might be in for. You may also be involved with ductography, magnetic resonance imaging, positron emission mammography and ultrasound technology during your workday. Ductograms, for example, are sometimes used to evaluate bloody nipple discharge when a mammogram fails to produce a diagnosis. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is commonly used to more thoroughly analyze questionable findings or screen patients before surgery to look for lesions that were undetected before. Ultrasound is also used to further evaluate masses that have been found by mammograms.
There are clearly many rewards to specializing in mammography, especially when you have a hand in saving lives. It takes a specialized education and a special kind of person who is sensitive to the patient’s needs, but if you’re up for the challenge you could have a bright career future ahead of you.
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