June 6, 2016

X-ray–Radiation in Mammography–

X-ray–Radiation in Mammography–

his page describes how x-rays are used during a mammography.


A high-quality mammogram is an effective tool for early detection of breast cancer. Mammography machines produce x-rays, which pass through the soft parts of bodies and capture a two-dimensional image of the dense parts, including tumors and cysts. Like microwaves, radio waves, and visible light, the x-rays produced by a mammography machine are a form of electromagnetic radiation. Unlike microwaves, radio waves, and visible light, x-rays are ionizing radiation, which is capable of removing electrons from atoms and damaging living cells and the DNA of those cells. However, since mammography machines only produce radiation during operation and the amount of radiation used is small, resulting medical problems are unlikely.

What you can do to protect yourself

Typically, people’s exposure to x-rays is almost entirely from dental and medical x-rays, including a mammogram. The best way to protect yourself from excessive exposure to x-rays is to make sure the technician performing the procedure has the proper qualifications and receive assurance themeical x-ray machine has been inspected recently and is properly calibrated. You can also talk with your healthcare providers about when to schedule x-rays, how often you should have x-rays, and whether other procedures can provide equivalent information.

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