If you are a woman over 40 or have other risk factors, your healthcare provider may suggest you undergo a mammogram. For the uninitiated, a mammogram is an X-ray image of the breasts, which allows screening for breast cancer. A screening mammogram takes two or more images of each breast to rule out anomalies. You should do a monthly self-examination of your breasts after 40, while your doctor would typically recommend screening for breast cancer once a year. You can learn here about what to expect during a mammogram.
Preparing for a mammogram
You don’t need to prepare for a screening mammogram in advance. You should, however, wear comfortable clothing and must avoid wearing jewelry. The technician will usually ask you to change before the screening. Also, do not use makeup and body-care products, such as talcum powders and deodorants, around the chest reason on the day of the mammogram.
What happens during a mammogram?
The technician will position you next to the X-ray equipment and press your breast against the X-ray plate to take images from all angles. Many clinics use a unique surface that mirrors the natural shape of the breast, which makes the mammogram more comfortable. It will only take a few minutes to complete the procedure.
After the mammogram
Once your mammogram is done, you can go home immediately. The test is not painful, although you may have slight discomfort when the images are being taken. There are no restrictions either. The images are sent to a radiologist, which will often rely on AI and other advanced technologies to check a detailed interpretation. If you want the mammogram details to be sent to the healthcare provider, the concerned clinic will do the same.
Screening vs. diagnostic mammogram
If a patient already has a lump in one or both of their breasts or has evident signs of breast cancer, the healthcare provider will ask for a diagnostic mammogram. It offers a more detailed view of the breasts, allowing doctors to make a diagnosis. Just because you don’t have a normal mammogram, it doesn’t always mean you have breast cancer. Additional tests and imaging are required to confirm the diagnosis, and there is nothing to panic about.
There is nothing to be scared of when it comes to screening mammograms. It is one of the most effective ways to monitor your breast health. Talk to your doctor for more info.