Once a woman hits 40, the National Cancer Institute recommends that she begin routine mammograms to screen for breast cancer. Although most women know this, many put off making this crucial appointment because of anxiety about the screening. Not knowing what to expect about a medical procedure can be intimidating. You start to worry that it might be uncomfortable or painful.
Mammograms are too important to push aside. Breast cancer is usually an easily treated cancer, especially when caught early on. Don't let ignorance keep you from protecting your breasts, your health, and your life.
Before the Mammogram
Very few special preparations are needed before a mammogram. You do not need to fast or take any medications prior to the appointment. The best way to prepare for this procedure is to shower that morning and to avoid using any cosmetics on the chest. Deodorants, lotions, perfumes or powders could interfere with the imaging process.
You will be asked to remove your top during the procedure, so it is best to wear a top with pants or a skirt rather than a dress or other one-piece outfit.
How the Procedure Works
During the mammogram, each breast will be compressed in a machine. During the compressions, the machine will form images of the tissue in your breasts. Images will need to be taken from two angles to create a comprehensive picture that shows any abnormalities in the tissue.
Will It Hurt?
Many women are concerned about how the procedure will feel. It is true that the machine compressions are uncomfortable for many women, and some even complain of pain, but the compressions only last few seconds at a time. Mild aches may occur after the procedure as well. Over-the-counter pain medication can relieve most side effects.
If you are overdue for a mammogram, schedule one with the Women's Imaging Center at Oak Hill Hospital. Call us at 1-800-921-7158 to make an appointment. Our digital mammography provides you a quicker exam and faster results.
If you have any other questions about women's health or your recommended procedures, call our free Consult-a-Nurse® service at 1-888-741-5120.