It’s a slightly uncomfortable procedure:
Mammograms are breast x-rays. When you have a mammogram, the medical radiation technologist (radiographer) who takes the x-rays places each breast in turn between two plates on the x-ray machine. The plates hold the breast firmly for a few seconds while the x-rays are taken. Many women find this uncomfortable, and a few find it painful. It does not harm the breasts.
A few seconds of discomfort is far preferable though to months or years of pain or problems, or potentially, death.
There’s news from Australia now of a possible technique for taking photos that may save even the small discomfort:
Scientists … are investigating the viability of the Near Infrared Breast Scanner (NIBS) …
Professor Newton says … “we already know that the system is much less painful than mammography, where the breast has to be compressed between two plates”. …
“NIBS employs light which passes through a series of filters to get it down to a single wavelength and then uses a digital camera feeding into a computer”.
That has to be a good thing. I hope their investigations bring good news for those of us who don’t care so very much for being squished.
What’s more, the whole thing sounds like something from astronomy — oh, here: Near infrared spectroscopy (used in astronomy for studying the atmospheres of cool stars where molecules can form). How cool is that!