What Should I Expect at My First Mammogram?

scheduled mammogram Mammograms are safe, fast, and effective. They detect breast cancer in its earliest stages when it’s most treatable using the least invasive treatment options. If you’ve never had a mammogram before, you might be worried about what to expect during the procedure.

What Facility Should I Choose?

Before scheduling your mammogram, find a facility that is accredited by the American College of Radiology (ACR). This ensures the facility meets all required standards to perform mammograms. If possible, choose a facility that boasts the ACR’s Breast Imaging Centers of Excellence. These centers not only specialize in mammograms, but they are also accredited in all facets of breast imaging.

How Should I Prepare for My Mammogram?

Because mammograms involve compression to flatten breast tissue to a thin, even layer for best imaging, avoid scheduling your test the week before your period when your breasts may be swollen or tender. Other tips to make your mammogram go smoothly include:

  • Sending any prior mammograms from other facilities to your new imaging center so they have an image for comparison
  • Not wearing deodorant, lotions, or powders to your appointment since they can interfere with a mammogram
  • Telling your technician before the screening if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Letting your primary doctor know if you’ve noticed any changes to your breasts

What Happens During My Mammogram?

The entire mammogram process should take about 15-20 minutes. Your technician will guide you through the process and answer any questions you might have about the procedure. Your test will involve the following:

  • Your technician will place one breast on a platform and compress it with a clear plastic paddle
  • While your breast is compressed, an x-ray machine will take two images of your breast from different angles
  • The testing resumes for your other breast
  • Your technician may take additional views if you have breast implants or large breasts
  • After all the views are recorded, you can get dressed and go about your normal day

When Will I Get My Results?

Your mammogram facility is required to send you an easy-to-read summary of the results of your screening in 30 days. They must also send a full report to your primary doctor. Call your primary doctor to see if your results have arrived if you haven’t heard anything within 10 days. Be proactive in calling your primary doctor to learn your results.

What if I Need Additional Testing?

Don’t worry if you need to get another mammogram. If you’ve never had a mammogram before, your doctor may want you to get a diagnostic mammogram for special “spot views” or magnified views to allow the radiologist to better interpret any abnormalities.
Remember that only about two to four out of every 1,000 mammograms will detect breast cancer.

Where Can I Get a Mammogram on Long Island?

PURE Mammography is the premier breast imaging center located in Lake Grove, NY. PURE is a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence and provides state-of-the-art 3D mammograms in a relaxing, compassionate setting. Make an appointment with us today.

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