What is a mammogram? A mammogram is an X-ray test that produces an image of the inner breast tissue. This technique is used to visualize normal and abnormal structures within the breasts. Mammography can help identify abnormalities within the breast. Breast self-examination on a monthly basis and examination by a doctor are still important, but physical examinations typically find breast cancers when they are much larger than those detected by mammography.
The American Cancer Society recommends that a woman obtain her first baseline mammogram at the age of 40. After that, she should receive a yearly mammogram. Women who are at high risk for developing breast cancer may need to obtain mammograms earlier than these recommendations and at more frequent intervals. Medicare, Medicaid, and most private insurance companies generally cover the cost of mammography.
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