the facts about breast cancer and mammograms is an important step in
taking care of your health. One woman in eight will be diagnosed with
breast cancer during her lifetime. A mammogram is the best screening
method available today to detect breast cancer early.
American Cancer Society and American College of Radiology Guidelines
- Self-exam - Every woman 20 years of age and older should examine her own breasts for lumps or changes each month.
- Doctor's exam - Every woman 20 years of age and older should have her breasts examined by her own doctor each year.
- Mammogram - Women age 40 and over should get a mammogram every year.
The greatest rick factor for breast cancer is simply being a woman, and
the risk increases as women age. A woman is also at a higher risk if
- has a family history of breast cancer
- has never had children
- had her first child after age 30
- had her first menstrual period before age 12
- began menopause after age 55
Scheduling a Mammogram
Screening mammograms are best done seven to ten days after your
menstrual period begins. Post-menopausal women can schedule a mammogram
at any time.
How to Prepare
Bring your previous mammogram films to the appointment. It is very
important for the doctor to have these films for comparison and to look
for any unusual change. Tell the technologist before the mammogram
begins, if there is a chance you maybe pregnant. You will need to
undress from the waist up, so it is best to wear a two-piece outfit on
the day of your mammogram. Please do not use deodorant, lotion or
powder under your arms or on your breasts the day of your exam.
What to Expect
A mammogram is done while you are standing. The breast is compressed
between two flat surfaces while the x-ray is being taken. You may have
some mild discomfort during compression.
is helpful to know that each x-ray takes less than 30 seconds. With
compression, we obtain the best possible view of the inside of your
breast with the least amount of radiation. The compression is not
dangerous and will not in any way damage your breast tissue.
Women with augmented breasts will have more than the standard four views and the exam will take more time.
Your doctor should have the results of your mammogram within three to
four days. Call your doctor if you have not received the results.