• Get Ready for your Mammogram

    Women's Health

    October 30, 2018

    Most things go better with a little preparation. And mammograms are no exception.

    Whether it's your first mammogram, or you've been getting the tests faithfully for years, these tips from the American Cancer Society (ACS) can help the whole process go more smoothly:

    Be consistent. Try to go to the same facility every time you get a mammogram. That way your images can be easily compared from year to year. But if you've had mammograms elsewhere, get the old images and bring them with you.

    Schedule smart. If you're menstruating, try to avoid getting your mammogram the week before your period. Instead schedule a time for when your breasts aren't likely to be tender or swollen. That will help ease any discomfort and help get better pictures.

    Don't wear deodorant the day of the exam. Some contain substances that can show up on x-rays as white spots.

    Speak up. Describe any breast symptoms or problems to the technologist doing the mammogram. Also bring up any medical history that could affect your breast cancer risk, such as hormone use or breast cancer in your family.

    Ask when to expect the results. If you don't hear, don't assume the results are normal. Get back in touch.

    Stay on top of screening

    Be sure to talk with your doctor about the best mammogram schedule for you. Here's what the ACS advises for women at average risk of breast cancer in the following age ranges:

    40 to 44. You have the option to start screening with yearly mammograms.

    45 to 54. Get yearly mammograms.

    55 and older. You can switch to a mammogram every other year or continue with yearly screening for as long as you're in good health.

    Additional source: Radiological Society of North America