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If you haven’t had a mammogram before, you might have questions or concerns about what to expect. This essential screening can save lives — and is usually quick enough to be done during your lunch break.
Put your mind at ease with some insights into what the imaging experience is like, and learn how to prepare ahead of time for a smooth and simple appointment.
Prep for Success
On the day of your mammogram, there are a few important things you can do to make your experience more effective and comfortable.
Since you’ll be undressed from the waist up during your scan, it’s best if you wear separates, not a dress, jumpsuit or romper.
Avoid wearing deodorant or topical creams because they can create an artifact (a shadow or image that blocks or skews the body part being imaged) on the images, which can mimic an abnormality and affect the interpretation of your results.
If you have had a mammogram before at a different facility, have your prior mammogram images and radiologist reports sent to your current imaging facility. Many patients bring their breast imaging records in hand to their mammogram appointment, which saves time and allows the radiologist to read and compare the images right away. If the office has to request the imaging records on the day of the mammogram, it might delay your results.
Once you’re checked in to the breast imaging center, you're given a medical history sheet to complete.
It’s important to provide the radiology team with an accurate health history, which includes information about your prior mammograms, family history of breast cancer and more. This helps your care team better interpret your images and determine if you are at higher risk for developing breast cancer.
The Mammogram Experience
After you provide your medical history, insurance and other information, a mammogram technician will bring you back into the mammogram room.
Most women have a total of four pictures taken (two of each breast) at slightly different angles. The technologist will carefully position your breast for each image to ensure the most amount of breast tissue is visible to the radiologist. This usually takes only five to ten minutes at most.
It's a priority to get the most breast tissue possible on the image to ensure the best screening exam.
Prioritizing Preventive Screenings
Routine mammograms help detect cancer early when it is most treatable and beatable. In about 30 minutes total, your yearly mammogram can be completed. Now, you can feel reassured that you’ve done the important work of getting the preventive screening you need to detect breast cancer and safeguard your health. Your results should be sent to you within a few days to a week.
We want to make it easier for you to take your health into your own hands and get your annual mammogram. If you are 40 or older, have not had any breast symptoms and have not had a mammogram in the last year, you do not need a physician's order to get a screening mammogram. Learn more and schedule your mammogram today.