A mammogram is a special type of X-ray of the breasts. Mammograms can show tumors long before they are big enough for you or your health care provider to feel. They are recommended for women who have symptoms of breast cancer or who have a high risk of the disease. You and your health care provider should discuss when to start having mammograms and how often to get one.
Mammograms are quick and easy. You stand in front of an X-ray machine. The person who takes the X-rays places your breast between two plastic plates. The plates press your breast and make it flat. This may be uncomfortable, but it helps get a clear picture. You will have an X-ray of each breast. A mammogram takes only a few seconds and it can help save your life.
Bone density testing can be done several different ways.
The most common and accurate way uses a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan. It uses low-dose x-rays. (You receive more radiation with a chest x-ray.) You lay on a soft table, and the scanner passes over your lower spine and hip. Usually, you do not need to undress. This scan is the best test to predict your risk of fractures.
Bone mineral density (BMD) tests are used to:
- Diagnose bone loss and osteoporosis
- See how well osteoporosis medicine is working
- Predict your risk of future bone fractures
A Pap test is done to look for changes in the cells of the cervix . During a Pap test, a small sample of cells from the surface of the cervix is collected by your doctor. The sample is then spread on a slide and sent to a lab for examination under a microscope. The cells are examined for abnormalities that may indicate abnormal cell changes, such as dysplasia or cervical cancer.
Pregnancy tests are designed to tell if your urine contains a hormone called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This hormone is produced right after a fertilized egg attaches to the wall of a woman’s uterus. This usually happens, but not always, about six days after fertilization. If you’re pregnant, levels of hCG continue to rise rapidly, doubling every two to three days.