Time For Your Mammogram: What You Need to Know
Mammograms are an effective technology used with detecting breast tumors and cancer. Whether you’re going for your first mammogram or your annual screening, Amy Long MD, a gynecologist with Group Health – Anderson, provides some information on how to best prepare for your visit and when to expect results.
What Should I Wear?
You will be asked to undress from the waist up, so you should wear a two-piece outfit. A gown will be provided for you to wear. No deodorant, perfume, or powder should be used under your arms on the day of your mammogram.
How Long is the Test and How Will it Feel?
The process usually takes around ten minutes, but each compression only lasts only a few seconds. There are typically two compressions per breast. “The mammogram tech will individualize the compression to get the breast tissue spread to about the tautness of the skin on your extended thumb,” Dr. Long explains. “This can be uncomfortable but only lasts a few seconds.” The level of discomfort varies person to person and may depend on the combination of tissue density, breast size, and breast sensitivity.
Why Are Mammograms Recommended?
Mammography is a reliable test for screening women to detect early breast cancer. The earlier breast cancer is detected, the higher the likelihood it will be cured.
Mammograms are recommended for:
- Women starting at age 40, repeated every 1 to 2 years. (This is not recommended by all expert organizations.)
- All women starting at age 50, repeated every 1 to 2 years.
- Women with a mother or sister who had breast cancer at a younger age. (Mammograms should begin at an age earlier than the age of the youngest family member diagnosed.)
When Will I Know My Results?
How quickly you receive results may depend on your provider, but typically if everything is normal, a letter will be mailed out in approximately seven to ten days. If there is any abnormality or additional films are needed, you will receive a call within a few days. You may also be asked to come to the office to review your results.