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Mammography

TALK TO YOUR TECHNOLOGIST
For a comprehensive report and for a good quality mammogram, tell your technologist:

  • Of any breast changes or problems you’re having such as lumps, redness, itching, skin changes,
    discharges (such as blood or water), etc.
  • Of any medical history that could affect your breast cancer risk—such as surgery, hormone use,
    breast cancer in your family, or if you’ve had breast cancer before.
  • If you’re breastfeeding or if you think you might be pregnant.

PREPARATION FOR MAMMOGRAPHY

    • Try to go to the same facility every time so that your mammograms can easily be compared to
      the last.
    • If this is your first time having a mammogram at Omega Medical Hospital, please bring a list of
      the places and dates of mammograms, biopsies, or other breast treatments you’ve had before.
    • If you’ve had mammograms at another facility, try to get those records to bring with so the old
      images can be compared to the new ones.
    • For maximum comfort, schedule your mammogram when your breasts are not tender or
      swollen to help reduce discomfort and to get good images. It may be best to avoid the week of
      your period.
    • On the day of the exam, don’t wear deodorant or antiperspirant. Some of these contain
      substances that can show up on the x-ray as white spots. If you’re not going home afterward,
      you might want to take your deodorant with you to put on after your exam. If you do wear
      deodorant it will be wiped off, so still take your deodorant.
    • You might find it easier to wear a skirt or pants, so that you’ll only need to remove your top and
      bra for the mammogram.
    • Discuss any recent changes or problems in your breasts with your health care provider before
      getting the mammogram.

 

WHAT TO EXPECT

  • You’ll have to undress above the waist to get a mammogram. You will be given a gown.
  • The technologist will position your breasts for the mammogram. You and the technologist are
    the only ones in the room during the mammogram unless assistance is needed in the case of
    wheelchair patients, in which case, a family member or member of staff may be present.
  • To get a high-quality picture, your breast must be flattened. The technologist places your breast
    on the machine’s plate. The plastic upper plate is lowered to compress your breast for a few
    seconds while the image is captured. You will then need to change position before the next
    picture is taken.
  • The entire procedure takes about 10 minutes. The actual breast compression only lasts a few
    seconds each time.
  • You might feel some discomfort when your breasts are compressed, and for some women it can
    be painful. Tell the technologist if it hurts.
  • Two views of EACH breast are taken for a screening mammogram. But for some women, such as
    those with breast implants or large breasts, more images may be needed.
  • More images are taken during a diagnostic mammogram with a focus on the area that looked
    different on the screening mammogram.
  • Generally, the images are checked by the radiologist while you’re there so more images can be
    taken if needed to look more closely at any area of concern.
  • In some cases, special images known as spot views or magnification views are used to make a
    small area of concern easier to see.

 

– Adapted, American Cancer Society

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