It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month! When it comes to Breast Cancer, early detection is everything! So here are 6 things to know about getting a Mammogram.
What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is the best screening test for breast cancer. X-rays for breast cancer were first used to examine breast tissue with high radiation nearly a century ago. Today, the x-ray machines used for mammograms produce lower radiation exposure to the breast.
Where to get it?
Find a center that specializes in mammograms and has all your mammograms at the same facility. This will make it easier for doctors to compare images from one year to the next.
When to schedule it?
It’s best to schedule your mammogram about a week after your menstrual period. Then, your breasts won’t be as tender or swollen, which means less discomfort during the screening.
What & what not to wear?
Wear a 2-piece outfit because you will need to remove your top and bra. Also, do not apply deodorant, antiperspirant, powder, lotion, or ointment on or around your chest on the day of your mammogram. These products can appear as white spots on the x-ray.
What to expect?
The entire procedure takes about 20 minutes. First, the breast is compressed between two plastic plates for a few seconds while an x-ray is taken. Next, it’s repositioned (and compressed again) to take another view. Finally, these steps are repeated on the other breast. Note that flattening the breast can be uncomfortable but is needed to provide a clearer view.
Getting the result?
You should get your results within 10 days. If doctors find something suspicious, you’ll likely be contacted to take new pictures or get other tests within a week. But that doesn’t mean you have cancer.