What to Know Before Getting a Mammogram
Yearly mammograms are a critical part of well-woman care for women 40 years of age and older, as well as those women who may have certain breast cancer risk factors, including a family history of breast cancer. At Professionals for Women’s Health, our experienced team of providers offers in-office mammography at our convenient Columbus, OH location. To ensure the most comfortable experience and most complete, accurate study possible, use these helpful tips on how to prepare for your mammogram and what you need to know prior to your appointment.
The importance of mammograms
Mammograms, which are x-ray studies of the breast tissue, can be used to detect lumps, tumors, or other abnormalities of the breasts that can’t be felt on manual palpation or self-exam of the breast. In fact, breast cancer can be detected on a mammogram years before it presents as a palpable lump. When breast cancer is found early, it is often easier to treat, and prognoses are typically better, making it critical for women to keep up with their annual mammograms starting at age 40. For women who have certain breast cancer risk factors, including a family history of breast cancer, never having had children, and others, earlier and/or more frequent mammograms may be recommended.
Preparing for your mammogram
At PWH, we strive to make your mammogram experience as quick and comfortable as possible. Because a mammogram is noninvasive and does not require any form of anesthesia, there is no extensive preparation required. However, there are a few important things to know ahead of your appointment:
- What to wear: Patients are encouraged to wear two-piece outfits rather than a dress, for example. This will allow the patient to keep their pants, skirt, or other bottoms on and simply undress from the waist up, covering with a provided gown or smock. Additionally, long hair should be tied back, and hanging earrings should be removed.
- What to expect: In order to get the clearest view of the breasts, a mammogram involves compressing the breast so that thinner layers of tissue can be imaged. Because of this, some patients report mild discomfort. Taking Tylenol or Ibuprofen a few hours prior to your mammogram can help. PWH also offers the Mammopad® to help further enhance your comfort during a mammogram. The Mammopad is available for a small additional fee.
- What to avoid: In the week leading up to your mammogram, you should reduce or remove your consumption of caffeine-containing foods and beverages, like coffee, tea, and chocolate.
After your mammogram
Following your mammogram, you’ll be able to return to work and other activities without restriction. Once your results are available, you will be notified whether any abnormalities were found and whether any follow-up beyond your next yearly mammogram will be needed. In the meantime, it is important to continue your regular self-breast exams and attend your annual well-woman visits.
Take control of your health with annual mammograms in Columbus, OH
Even if you have no family history of breast cancer and have never felt a lump or abnormality in your breasts or underarms, you may still be at risk for breast cancer. With routine mammograms, breast cancer can be detected when it may be in its earlier stages and more successfully treated. Don’t wait until it’s too late; schedule your annual mammogram at Professionals for Women’s Health in Columbus, OH today.