National Mammography Day: Fight Against Breast Cancer 

October 21, 2022
National Mammography Day: Fight Against Breast Cancer 


  1. What Is A Mammogram?
  2. Where Breast Cancer Starts
  3. Symptoms Of Breast Cancer
  4. Preparing For A Mammogram
  5. What To Tell Your Technologist?
  6. What To Expect When Getting A Screening Mammogram?
  7. What To Expect When Getting A Diagnostic Mammogram?
  8. Why Do We Need National Mammography Day 2022
  9. Final Thought


As October is known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, today is National Mammography. They’re both committed to women’s self-care but this day is set aside specifically to encourage women to take the time to make an appointment. Early detection means early treatment and the difference between life and death.


A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast that can be used to check for breast cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease. This type of mammogram is called a screening mammogram. Screening mammograms usually involve two or more x-ray pictures, or images, of each breast. The x-ray images often make it possible to detect tumors that cannot be felt. Screening mammograms can also find microcalcifications (tiny deposits of calcium) that sometimes indicate the presence of breast cancer.

Mammograms can also be used to check for breast cancer after a lump or other sign or symptom of the disease has been found. This type of mammogram is called a diagnostic mammogram. Besides a lump, signs of breast cancer can include breast pain, thickening of the skin of the breast, nipple discharge, or a change in breast size or shape; however, these signs may also be signs of benign conditions. A diagnostic mammogram can also be used to evaluate changes found during a screening mammogram or to view breast tissue when it is difficult to obtain a screening mammogram because of particular circumstances, such as the presence of breast implants.


Breast cancers can start from different parts of the breast that can include:

  • Lobules are the glands that make breast milk. Cancers that start here are called lobular cancers.
  • Ducts are small canals that come out from the lobules and carry the milk to the nipple. This is the most common place for breast cancer to start. Cancers that start here are called ductal cancers.
  • The nipple is the opening in the skin of the breast where the ducts come together and turn into larger ducts so the milk can leave the breast. The nipple is surrounded by slightly darker thicker skin called the areola. A less common breast cancer called Paget disease can start in the nipple.
  • The fat and connective tissue (stroma) surround the ducts and lobules and help keep them in place. A less common type of breast cancer called phyllodes tumor can start in the stroma.
  • Blood vessels and lymph vessels are also found in each breast. Angiosarcoma is a less common type of breast cancer that can start in the lining of these vessels. The lymph system is described below.


Different people have different symptoms of breast cancer. Some people do not have any signs or symptoms at all. Some warning signs of breast cancer are:

  • New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
  • Pulling in the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
  • Any change in the size or shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast.

Keep in mind that these symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer


  • If you have a choice, go to a facility that specializes in mammograms and does many mammograms a day.
  • Try to go to the same facility every time so that your mammograms can easily be compared from year to year.
  • If you’re going to a facility for the first time, bring a list of the places and dates of mammograms, biopsies, or any other breast procedures you’ve had before.
  • If you’ve had mammograms at another facility, try to get those records to bring with you to the new facility (or have them sent there) so the old pictures can be compared to the new ones.
  • Schedule your mammogram for when your breasts aren’t likely to be tender or swollen, to help reduce discomfort and get good pictures. Try to avoid the week just before your period.
  • On the day of the exam, don’t apply deodorant, antiperspirant, powders, lotions, creams, or perfumes under your arms, or on or under your breasts. Some of these contain substances that can show up on the x-ray as white spots. If you’re not going home after your exam, you might want to take your deodorant or antiperspirant with you to put on after your exam. (Many centers will have cleaning and deodorant wipes to help you wipe off the deodorant and then replace it after the exam.)
  • You might find it easier to wear a skirt or pants so that you’ll only need to remove your top and bra for the mammogram.
  • Discuss any recent changes or problems in your breasts with your healthcare provider before getting the mammogram. (If you have symptoms, you may need a diagnostic mammogram so special images can be taken of the area of concern.)
  • Make sure your provider is aware of any part of your medical history that could affect your breast cancer risk—such as surgery, hormone use, breast cancer in your family, or if you’ve had breast cancer before.


To help ensure you have a good quality mammogram, make sure your technologist knows:

  • About any breast changes or problems you’re having
  • If you have breast implants
  • If you have trouble standing and holding still alone (without the aid of a cane or walker)
  • If you’re breastfeeding or if you think you might be pregnant.


  • You’ll have to undress above the waist to get a mammogram. The facility will give you a wrap to wear.
  • You and the technologist will be the only ones in the room during the mammogram.
  • To get a high-quality picture, your breast must be flattened or compressed. You’ll stand in front of the machine, and the technologist will place your breast on the machine. The plastic upper plate is then lowered to compress your breast for about 10 to 15 seconds while the technologist takes an x-ray. You will then need to change position so your breast is compressed from side to side before the next x-ray is taken.
  • If you’re getting a 3D mammogram (also known as digital breast tomosynthesis, or DBT), the procedure is the same as above, but you’ll notice that the machine will move in a small arc, either over the top of your breast or along the side of your breast, for each image. You might be asked to hold your breath each time it’s being done.
  • The whole procedure takes about 20 minutes. The actual breast compression only lasts about 10 to 15 seconds for each image.
  • You might feel some discomfort when your breasts are compressed, and for some women, it can be painful. Tell the technologist if it hurts so they can try to adjust the compression to your comfort.
  • Two views of each breast are taken for a screening mammogram. But for some women, such as those with breast implants or larger breasts, more pictures may be needed.


A diagnostic mammogram is often done if a woman has breast symptoms or if something unusual is seen on a screening mammogram. The basic procedure is similar to that of a screening mammogram, but there are some differences.

  • More pictures are taken during a diagnostic mammogram, with a focus on the area that looked different on the screening mammogram (or where the symptoms are).
  • These special images may be “spot views” or “magnification views,” which are used to make the area of concern easier to see.
  • Again, if a 3D mammogram is being done, the procedure is the same, but you might be asked to hold your breath while the machine moves in a small arc around your breast to create each image.
  • During a diagnostic mammogram, the images are checked by the radiologist while you’re there so that more pictures can be taken if needed to look more closely at any area of concern. (Depending on the findings, a breast ultrasound may also be done to look at the area of concern.)


The goal of National Mammography Day is to spread awareness of breast cancer screenings that help detect cancer and other medical problems associated with the breasts. You can celebrate the day by spreading awareness through social media, attending a mammography day virtual fundraiser, or organizing one yourself! However, the best thing you can do is attend or book a mammography screening for yourself, or support someone else to get access to screening.

The American Cancer Society recommends that all women follow the national guidelines when it comes to breast cancer defense, the goal is to make sure that:

  • All women aged 40 to 44 are given the choice to start annual breast cancer screening if they wish to do so.
  • Women aged 45 to 55 have access to breast cancer screening every year
  • Women over 55 should get screened every 2 years
  • All women should have access to accurate and up-to-date information about breast cancer and associated risks and prevention.


Is it time for you to make an appointment for a mammography screening? That is the goal of National Mammography Day. Mammograms are a hugely important aspect of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, as millions of women across the globe are encouraged to attend mammogram screenings as part of the defense against developing breast cancer. Did you enjoy this article? What are your thoughts about mammogram screenings? Feel free to leave your comments down below!

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