6 Things you should know about a Mammogram
A few weeks back I was having pain in my chest, to be exact, it was in the area of my left breast. I was seen by a surgeon and she ordered two tests – a Cardiology Stress Test and a Mammogram. I was really nervous about the Mammogram as I had never had one before. The thought of my boob being smashed like a pancake was not a pleasant one. Given that it was my first time having this procedure, I thought it would be beneficial to make a list of things one should know about a mammogram.
What is a Mammogram- A mammogram is an x-ray of each of your breast.
How to prepare – If you have had a mammogram previously make sure to bring it with you or request it to be sent to where you are having the new mammogram. Why? They will use the previous scan with the current one to compare the two.
You should definitely wear a 2 piece outfit. I’m sure you don’t want to stand in your underwear topless with only a hospital gown.
Make sure that you don’t wear powders or lotions around the breast area – you don’t want your breast plate on the mammogram full of powder or slimy!
What to expect when you arrive – Upon arrival you fill out a form about your health history and if you have had any mammograms before. If you have had one, they use the previous one to compare the scans. You will be given a hospital gown to remove your bra and top.
What Happens During the Mammogram-The technician will walk you back and will ask you if you have any discomfort or pain in a particular breast. You are standing in front of the mammogram machine and the technician will place your breast on a plate (It looks like a flat waffle maker). Once your breast is on the plate, the technician manually begins to close both the plates on your breast. Your breast will begin to flatten. The technician will not hurt you – she flattens your breast just enough for the machine to get a good picture. She takes a few images of each breast in different positions – straight and then slightly sideways.
What does it feel like-It is cold in the room and the plates are cold. When the plates are flattened it really doesn’t hurt. It is slightly uncomfortable but completely bearable. Did I mention – it’s cold!
How often should you get a mammogram-If you are a woman age 40 or older you should have one done. I’m only 38 years old and I was referred by my doctor. You should definitely call your insurance provider and ask about the guidelines, but if you are concerned ask your doctor. You should always be prepared before seeing any doctor.
These 6 things you should know about a mammogram are based from my experiences only. Thankfully, my results came back normal. Always consult with your doctor and be sure to do your monthly self checks.