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A mammogram is a non-invasive health screening that can detect breast cancer in its early stages and potentially save your life. According to the American Cancer Society, women aged 45-54 should have annual mammograms.
Women aged 55 or older can opt to have a mammogram every two years, but should first discuss their needs and breast cancer risk with their trusted gynecologist before reducing their frequency.
Maiden Lane Medical is a certified mammogram facility with offices located throughout Manhattan, NY. The group offers state-of-the-art 3D mammogram services as well as traditional mammography. Be sure to contact us today for more information.
If you’re due for a mammogram, you may have a few questions about mammogram preparation. Generally, you won’t need to do too much to prepare, but this article answers some common questions about how to prepare for a mammogram and what to expect during these crucial health screenings.
A mammogram is an X-ray of your breast tissue for early detection of breast cancer. When the X-ray passes through your body, different types of tissue block more of the energy from passing through. The density of rays that pass through your body creates an image.
For example, your bones block X-rays, which is why they look white on an X-ray image while the surrounding tissue is in variations of gray and black. Dense tissue in your breasts also blocks the rays, which can reveal abnormalities.
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We have a few suggestions on how to prepare for a mammogram. For example, you can prepare a list of the places and dates of any prior mammograms. Gather copies of any previous mammogram images from other facilities, as well as your ID, insurance card, and a summary of your medical history to take with you.
You don’t need to modify your routine before your breast cancer screening. You can exercise, eat, and drink as you would on any other day. You can also take any prescription or over-the-counter medications that you would typically use.
Yes, you can shower before your mammogram. Your skin should be clean and dry for the test. However, don’t apply deodorant, antiperspirants, or lotion to your upper body. These products can interfere with the accuracy of the test.
Deodorant and antiperspirant can show up as white spots on your mammogram. Do you know what else shows up as white on a mammogram? Cancerous or abnormal tissue.
If your mammogram has abnormal images, you will need additional testing to determine what caused them. This could include an additional diagnostic mammogram or a biopsy.
Similarly, body lotion, powder, or perfume can also interfere with your results. Even if these products aren’t directly on your breasts, they can still cause abnormalities in your mammogram images.
If you forget and put deodorant or other personal care products on your skin, our offices have wipes that you can use to clean your skin before your screening.
You can drink coffee before your mammogram screening, but you might not want to. Caffeine won’t interfere with your mammogram results, but it might increase your breast tenderness and make the test more uncomfortable.
You can wear whatever you want to your appointment, but it’s best to choose your clothing wisely. Many of our patients prefer to wear a skirt or pants with a top. You’ll need to remove your shirt and bra for your mammogram, but you can leave your bottoms on. We provide a short gown that opens at the front to help you stay more comfortable during your test.
There isn’t much you need to avoid before your breast screening. However, you should avoid scheduling breast cancer screening just before or during your menstrual period.
And as mentioned, don’t apply any lotions, deodorants, or antiperspirants to your upper body. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, you may want to limit or stop consuming products that contain it for a day or two before your appointment.
You can tell your technologist about any breast pain, changes, or issues you’ve been having. You should mention any mobility issues that affect your ability to stand or hold still alone. Additionally, let your technologist know if you are breastfeeding or have breast implants.
After removing your shirt and bra, the technologist will position you in front of a machine and place one of your breasts onto a plastic plate. Then they will lower the plastic upper plate onto your breast to compress and spread the tissue.
While compression isn’t comfortable, it’s critical to get a clear image of the tissue inside your breasts. Then the mammography technologist will take the x-ray.
Next, the technologist will adjust the position of the plates to compress your breast vertically before taking another image. This same process is then repeated on your other breast. The whole breast imaging test only takes a few minutes.
Our experts at Maiden Lane Medical would be happy to help you with any mammogram prep questions you may have. Call one of our offices in Manhattan, NY today or discretely schedule your appointment online to monitor and maintain your optimal breast health.
Faina Gelman-Nisanov, MD
Board Certified Gynecologist
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