Early detection and screening
Mammograms play an important role in early detection. They can detect breast cancer in its earliest stages long before you or your doctor can feel a lump or tumor. And the earlier you find breast cancer, the better your chances are of beating it.
When to get started?
Mammograms are recommended for women starting at age 40, and are typically repeated every 1-2 years. If you are under 40, be sure to discuss your family health history with your doctor to determine when you should schedule your first mammogram.
What to Expect at Your Mammogram
Scheduling your first mammogram can be nerve-wracking. Relax. Know that you’re doing the best thing for you and your breast health. To better prepare for your first mammogram, here’s what you should know:
- Plan to schedule about 35 to 40 minutes for your mammogram.
- Once you arrive at the facility, you will be asked to fill out some paperwork, including details about your medical history and your families’ medical history.
- A mammogram screening requires that you be undressed from the waist up. You will be provided a gown to wear during the screening.
- During the exam, each breast is rested on a flat surface that contains a X-ray plate. The technician then uses a device called a compressor to help flatten the breast tissue in order to get good and clear images.
- Typically two images are taken of each breast. If you have breast implants, more images may be required.
- You may be asked to hold your breath while the X-ray images are being taken. Many women report that the test feels uncomfortable, but don’t worry; the discomfort typically subsides when the test is over.
- If images are unclear or if something looks suspicious further testing will be required.