A lot of women put off getting their first mammogram to numerous fears and assumptions regarding it.  There are a lot of here say when it comes to mammograms and the importance of getting one. Getting your first mammogram is important for your health. It can be stressful going into it without knowing anything or being ready for it. There are a lot of misconception about mammograms and we want you to differentiate facts from fiction. We want to make your first mammogram as less nerve wracking as it possibly be. By learning how to prepare and know what to expect for this important screening you’ll be a hundred percent ready for it. Don’t blow off your first mammograms, this is an important test that every woman should take.

Frequency

Women that are beyond that age of 40 should have regular mammograms. Women that have started menopause should schedule a mammogram exam a week after your supposed menstrual period. These are times where the breast is less tender. Ask your doctor about the frequency of your mammograms. Some women should get them more often than others. This will depend on your family history, risk rate and so on.

Preparation

It’s best to go into your mammogram prepared. Try to schedule it during times where you know your breast are less tender. Days before your period is the time where it is most sensitive. So, avoid these days and try to analyze which parts of your cycle it feels a bit numb. Once you’ve done this and scheduled your mammogram do post preparation. One of the important things is to avoid wearing any types of deodorant, powders, moisturizers, lotions, ointments or cream around or near the chest area. These products can at times be caught on the x-ray and may appear as breast problems. Use a two piece outfit on the day of your exam. This will remove the need to take off the bottom or the whole outfit. Though, this is only for convenience since a gown will be provided. Makes sure to bring all the necessary information such as to whom or where the results should be sent.

Time

A typical mammogram last about half an hour. This is the whole procedure and preparation. The compression of each breast only lasts for a few seconds. The discomfort of the compression will not last long or be too agonizing.

Procedure

The x-ray has to be done by compressing your breast in a flat surface. This allows the machine to properly scan the breast tissue. The compression of each breast can last up to 30 seconds. This can be uncomfortable and painful for some, but not something to be too scared or worried about. The discomfort is worth it for keeping you healthy and safe. Compression is a needed step to allow the machine to have a clearer view of the tissues and have lesser amounts of radiation for the rich image. The procedure is done. You will then be asked to disrobe and wear your normal clothing. You can either wait for the results or inform them of your doctor’s information or where you want the results to be sent.  A radiologist will then review the image and send their report to your doctor.

Unusual Findings

Most women find unusual findings in their first mammograms, but it usually isn’t cancer. Keep in mind that not all unusual findings are cancerous. They may be cysts, an unclear image or a dense tissue. Doctors make this diagnosis often due to not having previous mammograms for comparison. This is why it is important to save a copy of your mammogram in case you decide to change doctors. If they do find a problem with your findings, the doctor may advise you to get a breast ultrasound.

Do not let your fear of a mammogram or lack knowledge stop you from getting one. Mammograms are incredibly important. It is the best way to find breast cancer. Doing self-test regularly are not enough. There are certain types of breast cancer that can be invisible to the naked eye. Mammograms help spot bumps that are too small to feel with a self-check. Have mammograms regularly and consult your doctor about how frequently you should get them. People that have a family history of breast cancer or any type of cancer should get checked more regularly.

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