Early detection is key. This concept has been getting a lot of attention this month as the entire nation gears up for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Early detection of this terrible disease is still the strongest weapon we have. This month, we at Southtowns Radiology have been doing our part to educate the public by answering your questions about breast cancer screening. So far, we’ve learned when to get a mammogram. Also, we reassured one of our readers about the safety of the procedure. Let’s see what people are asking today.
Q: How Can I Prepare for a Mammogram?
Answer: It’s perfectly natural to be nervous before any new procedure, so it’s good to know as much as possible. There are a couple of things to keep in mind before you arrive at our office. Here’s how you can get ready:
- Don’t wear any lotions, powders or deodorant on the day of your mammogram. They might interfere with the picture.
- Because the mammography machine squeezes your breasts, you might not want to schedule your test when your breasts are tender; the week after your period is usually good, but try to avoid scheduling for the week before your period.
- You might want to wear pants or a skirt instead of a dress; this way, you won’t have to get fully undressed during the test.
- Arrive a few minutes before your appointment is scheduled to give yourself time to check in and fill out a brief form about your health history.
Q: What Can I Expect During My Mammogram?
Answer: Fortunately, mammograms are a nearly painless, completely noninvasive procedure. There won’t be any needles. When it’s your turn, one of our staff will call you into a private room for your test. We’ll give you a special, half-length gown to change into; it’s kind of like a hospital gown, but it opens in the front and is shorter (you remembered to wear a two-piece outfit, right?). Once you’ve asked all the questions you want to and feel ready, we’ll start the exam. The mammography machine will need to compress your breast to get a clear picture; this might feel uncomfortable, but it helps us get the best picture while using as little radiation as possible. The whole process only takes about five minutes. You will be directed to a small waiting room just for the mammography patients. You will remain in the patient gown just in case additional imaging is required. Your technologist will meet you there shortly with the results of the exam.
Q: How Long Will I Wait for My Results?
Answer: We know how nerve-wracking the wait can be! That’s why we give your results to you as soon as possible. If your test is performed during normal office hours, you’ll be able to take your results home with you after a short wait for the radiologist to read the study. If you have a late appointment, we will contact you the next day; this gives us time to carefully review your images without keeping you waiting late. The final results, in the form of a report is forwarded to the doctor who referred you to us so they will be ready for you at your next appointment.
We want you to be prepared and comfortable no matter what test you’re getting ready for, so let us know if you have any more questions. In fact, we offer many other tests in addition to mammograms. If you’re ready to schedule your procedure, contact us today!