Mammograms 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.
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A mammogram image has a black background and shows the breast in variations of gray and white. Generally speaking, the denser the tissue, the whiter it appears. This may include normal tissue and glands, as well as areas of benign breast changes e. Fat and other less-dense tissue renders gray on a mammogram image. A radiologist will consider all of this when reviewing your mammogram images, but it's important to note that what's normal for one woman may not be for the next. For example, women with naturally dense breasts will have more white on their mammogram images, even if there is no disease present.
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Learn more about mammograms. Learn about getting a mammogram. Like other X-ray images, mammograms appear in shades of black, gray and white, depending on the density of the tissue see images below. Breast cancer and some benign breast conditions are denser than fat and appear a lighter shade of gray or white on a mammogram. Dense breast tissue can look light gray or white on a mammogram.
Last Updated: September 28, References Approved. This article was medically reviewed by Janice Litza, MD. Litza is a board certified Family Medicine Physician in Wisconsin. There are 35 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed , times.