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Mammography Screening: What to Expect and When to Schedule Your Next Appointment

May 5th, 2023

Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer in women, and early detection is key to improving survival rates. Mammography screening is an important tool for detecting breast cancer early when it’s easier to treat. However, many women are hesitant to schedule their first mammogram or don’t know when to schedule their next one. In this post, we’ll cover what to expect during a mammography screening and when you should schedule your next appointment.


What is Mammography Screening?

Mammography screening is a low-dose X-ray that captures images of the breast tissue to look for any abnormalities that may indicate breast cancer. Mammography can detect small tumors that may not be felt during a breast exam. It’s recommended that women begin regular mammography screenings at age 40 or earlier if they have a family history of breast cancer.


Preparing for your mammogram

  • Don’t wear deodorant, lotion, or powder on your chest on the day of your mammogram. These products can interfere with the mammogram images.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that’s easy to remove to make the process more comfortable.
  • Inform your healthcare provider and the mammography technologist if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.


What to expect during a Mammography Screening

Before the screening, you’ll be asked to undress from the waist up and wear a gown. You may be asked to remove any jewelry or clothing that may interfere with the mammogram images.

The technologist will position your breast on the mammography machine and compress it between two plates to get a clear image. The compression may cause some discomfort or pain, but it’s necessary to get a good image. It’s important to relax and stay still during the process to ensure the best possible image.

The entire process takes around 20 minutes, and you’ll usually receive your results within a few days.


Interpreting mammography results

Your mammogram results will be interpreted by a radiologist, who will report any abnormalities to your healthcare provider.

If your mammogram results are abnormal, you may be referred for additional testing, such as a diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound, or biopsy.


When to schedule your next Mammography Screening

If you’re between the ages of 40 and 49, it’s recommended that you have a mammogram every one to two years. Talk to your healthcare provider about how often you should have a mammogram based on your individual risk factors.

If you’re over the age of 50, it’s recommended that you have a mammogram every two years. Again, talk to your healthcare provider about your individual risk factors and how often you should have a mammogram.

If you have a family history of breast cancer, you may need to start having mammograms at an earlier age or have them more frequently.

It’s important to practice breast self-exams regularly and report any changes to your healthcare provider. Breast self-exams can help you become familiar with the normal look and feel of your breasts, which can make it easier to detect any changes or abnormalities.


Final Words

Mammography screening is an important tool for early breast cancer detection, when it’s easier to treat. If you’re due for a mammogram or haven’t had one yet, talk to your healthcare provider to schedule one. Don’t put it off – early detection is key.

See also  How Mammogram Screening Can Save You

If you’re in the Charlotte, NC area, C. W. Williams Community Health Center offers mammography screenings. Contact us to schedule your appointment today!

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