9 Important Things to Know Before Getting a Mammogram
October 22, 2019 - It's estimated that 1 in 8 American women will develop breast cancer at some point in their life.
With how common breast cancer is, it's important to get screened regularly. To do that, you'll need to get a mammogram.
If you're getting a mammogram, you should know certain things before the appointment. Read on for a list of what you should know.
1. Schedule it After Your Period
When you schedule your mammogram, you want to make sure that you schedule it for sometime after your period.
Before and during your period, your breasts tend to be more sensitive than normal. For a mammogram, you will have to stick your breasts between two plates that flatten the tissue.
If you do this when your breasts are even more sensitive than usual, this could end up being more painful. Waiting until after your period will also help to have your hormones more stabilized.
2. Ask About the Technology
When you're making your appointment, you should ask your provider about which technology they use for mammograms. 3D mammography has become more and more common. If you want to learn more about it, you can read here.
This technology has fewer false positives.
With 2D images, it can be difficult to tell whether something is cancer or just tissue that's overlapping. Do your research and know which one you want before you schedule your appointment.
3. Expect A Little Bit of Pain
When you go to your appointment, you should definitely expect a little bit of pain.
If you do feel pain during your mammogram, it shouldn't last more than a few minutes.
Scheduling your mammogram after your period can definitely help to minimize the pain. You could also try taking over-the-counter pain medication before you have it done to help lessen some of the pain.
At the end of the day, however, the pain will definitely be worth it for the results.
4. Don't Wear Deodorant
You may have never even considered this, but you shouldn't wear deodorant when you get this test done.
Aluminum is normally an ingredient in deodorant, and it can actually really mess with your results. If you have deodorant on, it will show up on the image as white spots, which can actually look like cancer in some cases.
You may argue that you aren't putting deodorant on your breasts, but the mammogram also takes images from underneath your armpits, which can capture some of the deodorants.
If you forget and end up wearing some to your screening, the technician will normally ask you to wash off the deodorant. However, deodorant can be really difficult to remove sometimes, so just make sure you just don't put any on before your appointment.
5. Try to Be Calm
It can be difficult to stay calm during the process. You may be nervous about getting your results back, or you may be worried that your tests will come back with some bad news.
However, mammograms can actually help put your mind at ease. And if they catch breast cancer early on, it makes it so much easier to treat.
If it makes you feel better, ask a trusted friend or family member to go with you to your first appointment.
6. Results May Take a Few Days
After the procedure, you may be anxious to get the results, but you should know that it may take a few days to get back to you.
Sometimes you will get a letter in the mail or a phone call from the center that will tell you your results.
If you haven't heard back in about a week, you should call and follow up.
7. Know Your Family History
When you go to your appointment, the doctor will likely ask you about your family history with breast cancer. If you have relatives who have the disease, then you have a higher chance of developing it as well.
However, if there is no history of it, you should still make sure that you get checked out because you still have a chance of getting it.
The doctor will let you know if there are any risk factors that will put you at a higher chance of getting breast cancer.
8. It Will Be Over Quickly
Another great thing about mammograms is that they'll be over fairly quickly.
While the procedure might be painful for you, you can rest assured that it will only last a few seconds for each image. All in all, most mammograms only last about fifteen minutes.
Of that time, you will only have to have your breasts compressed for a few minutes. You will also be able to take breaks in between.
9. Go to a Certified Facility
Finally, you should make sure that when you make your appointment that it's at a certified facility. It's even better if you can go to a center of excellence.
You should check to make sure that the center has a mandatory accreditation. A Center of Excellence will also have to go through even more programs to make sure that they are even certified.
These people are also trained on how to read screenings, so you can have faith in your results.
Mammogram results can be difficult to read, so it's better to have someone who's had experience in reading them.
Learn More About What to Expect When Getting a Mammogram
When getting a mammogram, it may be nerve-wracking at first, but it really isn't anything to be scared of.
It's important to take care of yourself and your health, and getting a regular mammogram is one way to do that.
For more ways to take care of your health, make sure that you check out some of our other blog posts!
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