What Is A Mammogram?
By Green Shoot Media
Regular mammograms are some of the best tests doctors have to detect breast cancer early, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. WHEN SHOULD I GET A MAMMOGRAM? The American Cancer Society recommends regular, annual mammograms for women 45-54 years old. Before then, women over 40 can start to have the annual screening with mammograms if they or their health care providers choose to. Women 55 and older can switch to mammograms every two years if they want. Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and expected to live 10 or more years. Because of family history, genetics or other factors, some women should also get MRIs along with their mammograms. HOW IS A MAMMOGRAM DONE? You’ll stand in front of an X-ray machine and a technologist will place your breast on a clear plastic plate. Another plate will firmly press your breast from above. The steps are repeated for a side view. The technologist will not be able to tell you your results; that has to wait for a radiologist. It may be uncomfortable, but it will only take a few minutes. Try not to schedule your mammogram near your menstrual cycle as this can make your breasts more tender and the X-ray more uncomfortable. Don’t wear perfume, deodorant or powder as these products can show up as white spots on the mammogram. Try to wear a top with a skirt or pants instead of a dress as you’ll need to undress from the waist up. WHEN WILL I GET MY RESULTS? You will usually get your results within a few weeks. If you haven’t heard within 30 days, contact your health care provider or the mammography facility. If your mammogram is normal, you should continue to get mammograms at the regular intervals. Mammograms work best when they can be compared with previous ones. If your mammogram is abnormal, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer, but you should have additional mammograms, tests or exams. You may be referred to a breast specialist or a surgeon, but again, that doesn’t mean you have cancer or need surgery. These doctors are experts in diagnosing breast problems and they can do follow-up tests.