If you have not had a mammogram before, you might be wondering what to expect. Amy Campbell, MD, radiologist at Florida Hospital, sheds some light on what you can expect during your mammogram experience with some added tips.
On the day of your mammogram, there are a couple of important things you can do to make your experience more comfortable and effective.
“Wear separates and avoid dresses or rompers. Then, you won’t have to undress fully and you’ll feel more comfortable,” Dr. Campbell recommends.
She adds, “Also, you’ll want to avoid wearing deodorant or topical creams because they can create an artifact on the x-ray images, which can mimic an abnormality and affect the interpretation of the results.”
Another helpful tip is to prepare to have your prior mammogram images and radiologist reports sent to your imaging facility if it’s your first time having a mammogram there. “Many patients bring their breast imaging records in hand to their mammogram appointment, and it’s a time saver because it helps the radiologist read and compare the images right away. If we have to request the imaging records on the day of the mammogram, it might delay the reporting results,” Dr. Campbell explains.
Once you are checked in to your breast imaging center, you’re given a medical history sheet to complete.
“It is very important for us to get an accurate history, which includes information about your prior mammograms, family history of breast cancer, breast health history and more. This helps us better interpret your images and determine if you are at higher risk for developing breast cancer,” explains Dr. Campbell
After you register with your medical history, insurance and other information, a mammogram technician will bring you back into the mammogram room.
There, most women have a total of four pictures taken (two of each breast) at slightly different angles. The technologist will carefully position your breast for each image to ensure the most amount of breast tissue is visible to the radiologist. This usually takes only five to ten minutes at most.
“We want to get the most breast tissue possible on the image to ensure the best screening exam,” says Dr. Campbell.
And that’s it. In about 30 minutes total, your yearly mammogram is complete. Now, you can congratulate yourself on a job well done and get back to living your best life. Your results should be sent to you within a few days to a week. In the meantime, take a deep breath and appreciate the important step you took to protect your health.
We want to make it easier for you to get your annual mammogram. If you are age 40 and over, have not had any breast symptoms, and have not had a mammogram in the last year, you do not need a physician’s order to get a screening mammogram. Learn more and schedule your mammogram today.