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
- 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
- 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.