October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and in an effort to foster comfort and familiarity with the process of early detection and prevention of the disease, we’ve crafted a list of things to expect during your first mammogram visit, courtesy of the American Cancer Society.
How to prepare for your mammogram
If you have a choice, use a facility that specialises in mammograms and does many mammograms a day.
Try to go to the same facility every time so that your mammograms can easily be compared from year to year.
If you’re going to a facility for the first time, bring a list of the places and dates of mammograms, biopsies, or other breast treatments you’ve had.
If you’ve had mammograms at another facility, get those records to bring with you to the new facility (or have them sent there) so the old pictures can be compared with the new ones.
Schedule your mammogram when your breasts are not tender or swollen to help reduce discomfort and get good pictures. Try to avoid the week just before your period.
On the day of the exam, don’t wear deodorant or antiperspirant. Some of these contain substances that can show up on the X-ray as white spots. If you’re not going home afterward, you might want to take your deodorant with you to put on after your exam.
You might find it easier to wear a skirt or pants so that you’ll need to remove only your top and bra for the mammogram.
Discuss any recent changes or problems in your breasts with your health care provider before getting the mammogram.
Tips for getting a mammogram
Always describe any breast changes or problems you’re having to the technologist doing the mammogram. Also describe any medical history that could affect your breast cancer risk—such as surgery, hormone use, breast cancer in your family, or if you’ve had breast cancer before.
Before getting any type of imaging test, tell the technologist if you’re breastfeeding or if you think you might be pregnant. Read more