Just hearing the word ‘mammogram’ can make any woman nervous. However, they’re not as scary as you may think, and they are important for your health.
It’s recommended by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to get your first mammogram starting at 40 and to continue annually. According to the National Cancer Institute, 12.4 percent of women born in the United States today will develop breast cancer at some point during their lives. Beginning your annual screening of mammograms at age 40 has been shown to save the most lives from breast cancer. If you are at higher risk of breast cancer, you should talk to your doctor about starting screenings earlier.
Your First Mammogram: What Can You Expect?
You have your appointment scheduled and a thousand questions flood your mind. Does it hurt? How long does it last? What purpose does it serve? Will they really flatten out my breast like a pancake?
We’re here to put your mind at ease.
A mammogram is used for breast cancer screening or diagnosis. In most cases, if breast cancer is present, treatment can be more effective when detected early.
How to prepare for a mammogram. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re prepared before your appointment:
- Go in ten days after your menstrual period to ensure you avoid breast sensitivity.
- Avoid coffee, tea, carbonated drinks and chocolate. These foods can increase breast sensitivity. Try to stay away from them at least one week before your appointment.
- Do not wear any perfume, deodorant or talcum powder near the breasts or under your arms on the day of your screening.
- Make your outfit that day convenient and wear separates—you’ll only need to remove your top for the exam.
What to Expect for Your Screening.
Here’s a quick rundown:
- It may get a bit awkward, but your mammography technologist will need to position your breasts into the right spot to take two different x-rays of each.
- The exam itself is short, so the awkwardness and feeling uncomfortable won’t last long.
- The mammogram itself can hurt a bit, but it won’t be long. The pain is subjective as some women’s breasts may be more sensitive than others.
Learn to fight cancer effectively by making sure mammograms become part of your annual check-up once you turn forty.
My OBGyne’s uniquely qualified physicians are dedicated to providing women with their best choice for routine check-ups and exams. Our general gynecology programs focus on routine preventative including Pap smears, breast exams, mammography, contraceptive counseling and other gynecologic screenings. My OBGyne specializes in caring for you throughout every stage of your life.