A mammogram is an x-ray examination of the breasts, used to detect and diagnose breast diseases. You and your primary care physician can develop a plan for screenings to aid in early detection.
Early Detection is the Key
Breast cancer affects an average of one in eight women. In most cases, mammography can identify an abnormal breast mass as much as two years before it can be detected by touch. Methods for early detection of breast cancer include clinical examinations by a healthcare professional and mammography.
How is Mammography Performed?
You will need to undress above the waist for this procedure. You will be given a wrap to wear during the mammogram. You and a breast imaging technologist will be the only ones present during the mammogram. The technologist will position each breast, one at a time, on the mammography equipment. The breast will then be compressed, and the x-ray will be taken. The entire procedure should take about 20 minutes.
Are Mammograms Painful?
Breast compression may cause some discomfort for a brief time during each x-ray, but it should not be painful.
How Should I Prepare for a Mammogram?
- If you have had mammograms in different facilities, call those facilities in advance and arrange to have your previous mammograms, reports and any other treatment reports forwarded.
- Do not wear deodorant, powder or cream under your arms it may interfere with the quality of your mammogram.
- If you have sensitive breasts, schedule your mammogram at a time of the month when your breasts will be less tender. In general, the week after a period is when breasts are less tender.
How Will I Get My Results?
Your mammogram will be read by a radiologist. The radiologist will send a report to your physician and your physician will notify you of the results. Be sure to ask your physician when you will receive the results of your mammogram. If you do not hear from your physician, don't assume your mammogram was normal. Confirm this by calling your physician's office.