What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is a test performed using safe, low-dose x-ray that films the internal tissue of the breast, often able to detect breast cancer as early as two years before a lump can ever be felt, at which time it is more than 90 percent curable. As the most commonly used procedure for early detection, mammograms are recommended to be performed in women every year beginning at age 40.
What will happen during the exam?
The technologist will call you in to a private section of the office. They will then bring you in to a mammography suite and position your breast on the detector of the mammography machine. A special device will then gently compress (or flatten) your breast to spread the tissue and produce a more uniform thickness. You may feel a sensation of pressure or tightness as the breast is being compressed. Once the technologist takes x-rays of your breast in different positions, the procedure is repeated from the other breast. The entire procedure usually takes about 30 minutes.
What are the risks and benefits?
Mammography is a safe procedure with minimal exposure to radiation. The benefits of frequent mammograms, especially in women over age 40, can help reduce the number of deaths caused by breast cancer through early detection.
How should I prepare for my test?
We ask that our patients refrain from wearing deodorant or powder the day of the exam as such products leave a residue on the machine that may interfere with the images. No dietary restrictions exist. We also suggest that women consider scheduling the exam with their menstrual cycle in mind to avoid times of breast tenderness.
Any special instructions for after my test?
If you are pregnant or suspect you may be pregnant, please discuss this procedure with your physician before making your appointment.