Mammography is used as a screening test for breast cancer. No screening strategy finds every breast cancer. You have a better chance of detecting breast cancer early if you also examine your own breasts every month and see a doctor once a year for a professional breast examination.
Mammography also is used to help clarify whether a suspicious breast lump is a cyst or a tumor and whether a tumor is more likely to be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous). However, a mammogram is not always definite. A lump that you or your doctor can feel may be cancer even if a mammogram indicates that it is not. Your doctor should check these lumps periodically or may do a biopsy, in which a small piece of tissue is removed to be examined in a laboratory.