How to Prepare for Your 1st Mammogram

mammogram reminder on a calendarIf you’ve recently turned 40, your primary physician has probably advised you to add mammogram screenings to your annual healthcare regimen. If you’ve never had a mammogram before, you might have questions and concerns about the procedure.

What Is a Mammogram?

A mammogram is an x-ray of both breasts that radiologists study to detect abnormalities that could be breast cancer. Traditional 2D mammography methods require taking two x-rays of each breast. New 3D mammography utilizes sophisticated computer software that allows radiologists to examine x-ray images in individual “slices” to get a more complete view of breast tissue. While traditional mammography is still in use, more facilities are using the advanced 3D technology.

Why Should I Get a Mammogram?

Mammograms save lives. A mammogram can detect tiny abnormalities that you and your doctor can’t detect manually. Finding breast cancer in its earliest stages means that your treatment options will be less invasive, the cancer has less time to spread to other areas of your body, and your chance of beating the disease rises dramatically. If you have a family history of breast cancer or have certain lifestyle factors such as obesity or smoking, getting an annual mammogram is your absolute best option to stay ahead of the disease.

How Should I Prepare for My Mammogram?

There’s no need to worry about getting a mammogram. The entire process is easy and takes less than a half an hour. Follow these steps to make your screening a breeze:

Choose the Right Time

Make your mammogram appointment for the week after the end of your period. Your breasts will be less tender and you’re less likely to feel discomfort from the breast compression necessary to expose all of your breast tissue to the x-ray machine. If you’re worried about discomfort, take a dose of Tylenol or Advil before your appointment.

Avoid Beauty Products

Particles in deodorants, powders, lotions, and creams applied under the arms or on the chest can interfere with your mammogram. These particles can look like abnormalities in x-rays.

Wear the Right Clothes

Make it easier on yourself during your mammogram by wearing a two-piece outfit. This way you’ll only have to remove your shirt and bra in the dressing room. You’ll wear a hospital gown over your pants to enter the exam room.

Arrive with Information

Have the name, address, and phone number of your primary physician handy to give to the receptionist so that your mammogram results will be sent to your doctor in a timely manner.

Don’t Worry About Radiation

A mammogram is an x-ray, but the amount of radiation exposure is tiny. There is a consensus among health professionals that the minimal amount of radiation is well within the safe boundaries and outweighs the risks of letting breast cancer go undetected.

What Happens After My Mammogram?

A certified radiologist will read your mammogram and send the results to your primary physician within a couple of days. If your result is normal, you won’t have to schedule another appointment for a year. Don’t worry if you receive an abnormal result on your first mammogram. The vast majority of abnormalities are actually benign calcifications or nodules, dense breast tissue, blurry images, and more.

Where Can I Get My First Mammogram on Long Island?

PURE Mammography offers state-of-the-art 3D mammograms in a comforting, spa-like setting in Lake Grove. No appointment is necessary at PURE. Contact us today to learn more about our facility.

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