Mammography provides the best way to find breast cancer at an early stage when treatment is most highly successful. A mammogram is a low-dose X-ray of breast tissue. At the Women’s Health Center, digital mammography is available in 2-D and 3-D, along with diagnostic breast ultrasound, stereotactic & ultrasound guided biopsy.
BEFORE YOUR TEST
If you have had breast surgery, tell the doctor or technologist ahead of time. You should also mention breast implants or large moles. Any of these may affect test results. Try to schedule your mammogram for the week after your period, when your breasts are less tender. On the day of your test:
- Wear a two-piece outfit, since you will be undressing from the waist up.
- Do not use deodorant, talcum powder or cream on your breasts or underarms as they may interfere with test results.
WHAT TO EXPECT
During the test, your breast is flattened between two plastic plates. This ensures that all breast tissue can be seen. You may feel some discomfort, but it lasts just a few moments. An x-ray machine sends a tiny amount of radiation through your breast to create an image. Two or more views may be taken of each breast to provide a complete picture. Your health care provider will discuss the test results with you. Be sure to ask any questions you have.
GUIDELINES FOR HAVING REGULAR MAMMOGRAMS
Have your first mammogram by age 40. After age 40, have a mammogram every year. If you are at higher risk for breast cancer, you may need to start having yearly mammograms earlier.