One of the best tools in your women’s health toolbox should be preventative care, notably receiving regular mammograms, a valuable screening tool that serves to detect breast cancer and other abnormalities. You have several choices when it comes to what type of diagnostic mammogram to receive, including the latest in mammogram technology, a 3D diagnostic test. At The Breast Center, we prioritize your comfort right alongside the newest screening technology to ensure that you come back regularly for these lifesaving tests. Whether this is your first mammogram or you’ve had them done for years, here are a few things you should know about before visiting The Breast Center at The Woman’s Clinic.
What Exactly Is A Mammogram?
A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast which allows doctors to see any masses within the breast tissue, as well as distortions associated with cancer. Once this series of images are analyzed, our team of doctors can perform additional screening tests or begin having a discussion of any necessary treatments. Our 3D exams offer a much more clear look at your breast when compared to the traditional 2D images, allowing our doctors to analyze multiple layers of tissue in one exam, lowering the need for follow-up tests due to unclear images.
When Should I Get A Mammogram?
Current mammogram screening guidelines suggest that women should begin these exams between ages 40 to 44 if they fall into a low-risk category. Beginning at age 45, these exams should be given annually. Depending on certain risk factors like family history or a genetic tendency toward breast cancer, you may need to undergo other tests alongside this exam. You can discuss these concerns with your doctor during your annual wellness exam. The Breast Center is located inside our offices at the Colonnades at Baptist Hospital, meaning you won’t have to visit a different office for your exam and you can continue receiving care from the same team you have you have always trusted.
Do Mammograms Hurt?
If you’ve received a traditional mammogram in the past, or if you’ve heard of other women’s experience with them, you might have a picture in your head of having your breast flattened between two panels while the images are taken. At The Breast Center, we take your personal experience and comfort into account and offer machines with curved panels that mimic the shape of your breasts, reducing the discomfort that is typically associated with mammograms.
How Should I Prepare For My Mammogram?
The Breast Center at The Woman’s Clinic performs these screening mammograms daily, meaning our team is well prepared to make it as quick and comfortable for you as possible. If you’re new to our center, please bring your medical history information as well as information about your family or personal history with breast cancer. If you have already received a mammogram at a different facility, bring those records with you as well.
Avoid scheduling your exam the week before your period as your breasts may be more swollen or tender at that point. Since we only need to examine your breasts, you may want to avoid wearing a dress and instead wear a top you can easily remove. We do offer robes as well to keep you comfortable. Lastly, make sure to not wear any deodorant or antiperspirant to your exam as it can skew test results.
What Are The Risks Of A Screening Mammogram?
The benefits of this quick, in-office exam are that we’re more likely to detect breast cancer than through traditional well-women annual exams. Additionally, these cancers can be discovered early, giving patients a better chance at successful treatments. Risks include false negatives, meaning that on occasion the screening might not detect cancer and delay treatment. On the other hand, it can also lead to unnecessary treatment of a disease that might have not needed treatment. Overall, however, the benefits certainly outweigh the risks.
How Do I Schedule My 3D Mammogram?
If you’re approaching your 40s and need to schedule your first exam, or you’ve already been receiving mammograms and are just joining The Woman’s Clinic, you can book your appointment on our website.