Mammogram: An X-ray of the breast that is taken with a device that compresses and flattens the breast. A mammogram can help a health professional decide whether a lump in the breast is a gland, a harmless cyst, or a tumor. A mammogram can cause pressure, discomfort, and some soreness that lasts for a little while after the procedure. If the mammogram result raises suspicions about cancer, a biopsy is usually the next step. The American Cancer Society and the American College of Surgeons currently recommend that a woman obtain her first, baseline, mammogram between the ages of 35 and 40. After the age of 40, a mammogram should be done yearly. Women who are at high risk for developing breast cancer may need to obtain mammograms earlier than these recommendations and at more frequent intervals.
Reviewed on 5/13/2016