Did you know, mammograms cannot always detect the presence of breast cancer? This is generally termed as – False-negative results. Especially for women who have dense breasts and are younger, the rates of false negatives may be higher. 20 percent of breast cancer cannot be determined through a screening mammogram as the dense breasts are made based on the appearance of mammogram images and not by the size or how they feel. Mammography is nothing but the use of low-energy X-rays to examine and look into the human breasts for proper diagnosis and treatment. Masses or microcalcifications can be seen through this testing which is the most important use of this test.


It is advised for women to have considered the option of additional screening such as mammogram ultrasound or breast MRI for accurate results.

MRI is more likely to detect cancers with fewer false positives. Some studies suggest that MRI can be compared to conventional MRI, and it may take around 10 minutes and has a similar cost that is similar to a mammogram.

False-positive is also an unwanted concern over harmless breast changes. This false-positive diagnosis results in invasive testing methods and more unnecessary treatment. False-positive results are more common in younger women who have dense breasts. Previous surgery and breast biopsy, hormonal therapy can be some risk factors for developing breast cancers.

A baseline mammogram is significantly important to reduce the chance of having a false-positive result. Around two-third of the women were aware of this and knew how important it is to have a baseline test. Mammograms cannot help you to prevent breast cancer, they can guide you to save lives and may help in detecting breast cancer as early as possible.

In November 2009 the value of screening mammograms was questioned and women with average risk should start at the age of 50 instead of 40. The changes were not accepted.

When breast cancers are caught early, localized cancers can be removed without resorting to mastectomy. For women with breast implants, the images may not be accurate as one expects them to be. The x-rays don’t travel without any trouble through the silicone. With special views, the accuracy is greatly improved.


Some risks and contradictions associated with mammograms-

  •  Mammograms expose the patients to a small amount of radiation and this hardly affects anything or causes any illness. Abnormal Mammograms need further action and tests.
  • The risk of radiation is expected to be higher in women who have larger breasts, and they require additional radiation to make an accurate view of the breast tissue. For women with breast implants, a small risk is found that an implant can rupture, and it is very important for the technician to know beforehand if one has breast implants before the procedure.

To make up for these limitations- screening tests more than mammograms are needed. Breast self-examination, regular breast examinations by an experienced healthcare professional or get some additional testing such as breast MRI and ultrasound. The side effects of mammography are minimal.