A mammogram is a procedure used to screen for breast cancer. A screening checks for disease when there are no signs and symptoms present and can help detect cancer in its early stages when there is the greatest likelihood of successful treatment. Since breast cancer is the second most common form of cancer in women, mammograms are recommended for all women between the ages of 40 and 75. Your physician may recommend them at a younger age if there is a family history of breast cancer.
A mammogram is an image of the breast tissue that is taken with an x-ray machine using a small amount of radiation. Each breast has two separate images taken. The test is non-invasive, meaning that the skin is not punctured and nothing enters the body.
When getting your first mammogram, here are some tips to remember:
- Your appointment will take 20 to 30 minutes.
- For the best quality images, avoid wearing deodorant or baby powder.
- When getting a mammogram, the breast is compressed between two paddles in order to get clear images of the breast tissue. This can be uncomfortable, so it is best to schedule a mammogram for a time of the month when your breasts are less tender.
- You will be given a gown to replace your clothing from the waist up, so wearing a separate top and bottom is more convenient than wearing a dress.
- Your results will be posted online in the secure and private RMH Patient Portal within 3 days. They will be mailed to you within one week.
- If there are any questionable results on your mammogram, your provider can contact you about scheduling additional diagnostic procedures.
- You may receive a letter requesting additional imaging after your first mammogram; this is common and should not be concerning.
- If past mammograms have been completed at other facilities, please have them sent to RMH for comparison.