Preparing for Your First Mammogram

A screening mammogram for women who have no signs or symptoms of breast disease is appropriate because early detection of breast cancer is when it’s most treatable. The American Cancer Society guidelines state women 40-44 should have a choice to have a screening mammogram and that women 45-54 should get one annually. And The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force 2016 states, “The decision to start screening mammography in women prior to age 50 years should be an individual one.“ Only a physician can determine when to get a screening mammogram.

Here’s what to expect when you have a mammogram:

  • Rest assured that mammograms use low-dose x-rays and can detect lumps that are too small to be felt.
  • Schedule your mammogram the week after your period when your breasts are less tender.
  • Don’t wear deodorant, powder, lotions or ointments since it may indicate a breast problem where there is none.
  • It’s best to wear a two-piece outfit so you only have to remove your top, making it easier and more comfortable for you.
  • The entire process takes 30 minutes or less. Each of your breasts will be compressed for approximately 20-30 seconds. The compression may be uncomfortable but flattening the breast is necessary to get the clearest image.
  • Our technicians understand how to make you feel as comfortable as they can before, during and after the exam.
  • Keep in mind that most unusual findings are not cancer; they could be cysts or dense tissue. Also, since this is your first time, there are no old mammograms to compare to. With your first mammogram you’re establishing a baseline that will help you and your doctor monitor your breast health going forward.
  • Your first mammogram is generally a screening test and not a diagnostic test, which evaluates specific problems or findings.
  • After the screening, a specially trained breast radiologist will review the images and report back to your physician in a timely manner.

Mammograms Save Lives

The physicians, specialists and staff of our breast health team are dedicated to help you safeguard your health with this important screening. We’re with you each step of the way. If you have questions or to schedule an appointment with an OB/GYN, call (707) 308-3111 or make an appointment directly with your primary care provider.

Procedures Performed

3-D mammography

According to breastcancer.org, "three-dimensional mammography (also called digital breast tomosynthesis, digital tomosynthesis, or just tomosynthesis) creates a three-dimensional picture of the breast using X-rays. Several low-dose images from different angles around the breast are used to create the 3-D picture. Several studies have found that 3-D mammograms find more cancers than traditional 2-D mammograms and also reduce the number of false positives."

Digital mammography

Much like a digital camera, this process converts x-rays into a more precise digital picture of the breast.

Mammography

Mammography is the most common type of breast imaging currently in use. A mammogram test is a critical part of early detection and diagnosis of breast diseases in women.

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