This article will help us understand mammography as a breast cancer screening tool in simple terms and also answer simple questions on the price/cost of mammography/mammogram in Nigeria.
What is mammography?
Mammography is a specialised medical imaging that uses a low-dose X-ray system to see inside the breasts. A mammography exam, called a mammogram, helps in the early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in women.
Mammography has reduced the number of breast cancer deaths in Nigeria.
There are different types….
- Digital mammography
- Computer-aided Mammography
- Breast tomosynthesis- a 3D mammography
the common uses of mammography
Mammograms are used as a screening tool to detect early breast cancer in women experiencing no symptoms. They can also be used to detect and diagnose breast disease in women experiencing symptoms such as a lump, pain, skin dimpling, skin changes and nipple discharge.
- Screening Mammography
This is the commonest use of mammogram in Nigeria. Mammography plays a central part in early detection of breast cancers because it can show changes in the breast up to two years before you or your doctor can feel them.
Screening mammography is now recommended for women every year starting from age 40years. Yearly mammograms lead to early detection of breast cancers, when they are most curable and breast conservation therapies are available.
The National Cancer Institute recommends that women who have had breast cancer, and those who are at increased risk due to family history of breast or ovarian cancer, should seek expert medical advice about whether they should begin screening before age 40 and the need for other type of screening eg. breast MRI.
- Diagnostic Mammography
Diagnostic mammography is used to evaluate a patient with abnormal clinical findings- such as breast lump or nipple discharge- that have been found by the woman or her doctor. It may also be done after an abnormal screening mammogram in order to evaluate the area of concern on the screening exam.
preparing for a mammogram
Before you schedule a mammogram, it is recommended that you discuss any new findings in your breasts with your doctor. Open up to your doctor on any prior surgeries, hormone use, and personal or family history of breast cancer.
Do not schedule your mammogram for the week before your menstrual period if your breasts are usually tender during this time. The best time for a mammogram is a week following(after) your period. It is important you inform your doctor if there is any possibility you are pregnant.
Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the exam. These can appear on the mammogram as calcium spots.
Describe any breast symptoms or problems to the the radiologists performing the exam.
Obtain prior mammograms and make them available to the radiologist if they were done at different location. This is needed for comparison with your current exam and can often be obtained on a CD.
Ask when your results will be available, do not assume the results are normal if you do not hear from your doctor or the mammography facility.
Bear in mind that you will feel little pain or discomfort during the procedure as your breasts will be compressed in order to get a clear image.
Your experience during the procedure
You will feel pressure on your breasts as it is squeezed by the compression paddle of the mammogram machine. Some women with sensitive breast may experiences may experience discomfort. If this is the case, schedule the procedure when your breasts are least tender. Be sure to inform the technologist if pain occurs as compression is increased. If discomfort is significant, less compression will be used. Always remember compression allows better quality mammogram.
- Imaging of the breast improve you doctors ability to detect small tumours. When cancers are small, the woman has more treatment options.
- It reduces breast cancer deaths.
- Makes early detection and treatment of breast cancer possible.
- A slight chance of cancer from excessive exposure to radiation. The benefits of accurate diagnosis far outweighs this risk
- False positive mammograms. This increases the anxiety of the woman.
how much money? what is the cost of mammogram in Nigeria?
My recent google research into the awareness of Nigerian women on breast cancer screening using mammogram revealed that our women very much know about the procedure, wants to go for it but they do know the cost of mammogram and where they can have it done.
I will take you through a list of their search history on mammography below…..
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As Nigerians, the procedure of a medical test do not scare us rather it is how much we will pay that is most important to us. It is the first thing we think of when a doctor tells us of a procedure like surgery, test or drugs. As a doctor, it is common to hear….. ‘doctor please how much”
Pardon me, mammography in Nigeria costs between N5000- N10,000 naira depending on the centre you want to do it.
where can I have a mammogram done in Nigeria?
Mammogram centres are spread across Nigeria. In Lagos you can have your mammogram done in public hospitals like LUTH or LASUTH. You can decide to visit some private mammogram centres in Lagos like Foremost Consultants, Lakeshore Cancer Centre, Sebeccly Cancer care, Optimal Cancer care foundation, Renaissance Medical Centre etc.
In Abuja, you can have a breast mammogram at National Hospital or the Federal Medical Centre.
In Benin, breast mammogram is done in UBTH, Irrua Specialist Hospital, Raytouch, Union Diagnostics, Lily Hospital, Benin Radiological Service, St Bridget, Benin Medical Care, etc.
In Delta state, Federal Medical centre, Asaba, Lily Hospital, Warri and DELSUTH does mammography.
In Port Harcourt, UPTH and other private diagnostic centres does mammography.
The article has a been able to show that mammography procedure is easy and the cost of mammogram in Nigeria is still affordable. Please go and have you breast checked if you meet the criteria for mammography.