Reducing Your Risk: What To Expect At Your First Mammogram

mammography

Mammography is one of the most important steps to taking care of yourself as you age. In fact, studies show that mammography can reduce a woman’s risk of dying from breast cancer between 20% and 40%.

Whether you’re new to mammography or you’ve undergone your fair share in the past, it’s still good to know what to expect during a mammogram to help ease the process.

That said, here’s what you can expect from (and how you can prepare for) your own mammogram.

Preparing For Your Mammogram
Before you schedule a mammogram, it’s best to choose a facility that specializes in breast imaging and biopsies. Specialists have a better eye for specific problems and abnormalities.

When you’re visiting a women’s healthcare facility for the first time, bring a list of previous breast treatments you’ve had in the past. If you have the records for those treatments available, bring them with you to compare your new results to past ones.

Don’t schedule your mammogram when your breasts are tender or swollen. Avoid scheduling your mammogram a week before your period as well. This will help to reduce discomfort and will also make it easier to get accurate pictures of your breast tissue.

Finally, don’t wear antiperspirant or deodorant on the day of your mammogram. This is because these substances can sometimes turn up on the x-ray as white spots.

What To Expect: Screening Mammograms
It may be best to wear pants or a skirt during your mammogram appointment. This is because you’ll need to undress above the waist. You’ll have a wrap to wear in place of your shirt.

During the mammogram, you and the technologist will be only ones in the room. Your technologist will position your breasts for the mammogram on the machine plate.

On the machine, the plastic upper plate is then lowered to compress your breasts. This is to get a high-quality picture. Although the procedure itself takes about 20 minutes, the compression period of the procedure only lasts a few seconds.

The compression period of the procedure will be uncomfortable, but for some women it’s painful. Don’t be afraid to tell your technologist if the compression hurts you.

Second opinion consultations can help you get a better idea about your mammography results and whether or not it may be worth receiving an ultrasound guided breast biopsy. To learn more about breast biopsy procedures and 3D mammography or to schedule a second opinion consultation, contact Carolina Breast Imaging Specialists today.

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