All About Mammography

Mammography is an X-ray of your breasts. It helps find breast cancer and other breast problems.


  • lumps that may be cancer (most are not!)
  • breast changes that could lead to cancer
  • breast lumps before you or your health-care provider can feel them


  • once by age 40
  • every 1-2 years between ages 40 and 49
  • every year after age 50


  • Choose a good time.
    Try to pick a day of the month when your breasts are not tender.

  • Follow these special instructions.

    1. You must have a prescription from your referring physician.

    2. If your prior films were not taken at this facility, make sure you have them the day of the exam.

    3. Do not wear deodorant or powder. This can show up on your films.

    4. Screening mammograms are read approximately 1-2 weeks after your exam. Diagnostic mammograms are read while you wait.

The test is simple and quick.
  1. You will undress above the waist. The technologist will give you a gown and take your prior history. Then you will be positioned at the mammography machine.

  2. Your breast will be compressed between 2 plastic plates. You may feel a little discomfort for a few seconds.

  3. X-rays will be taken. One will be taken from the top. Then one will be taken from the side. Your other breast will be X-rayed the same way.
Results are usually ready in a week to 10 days.




Benefits:
  • Early treatment saves lives.
  • Mammograms often find breast cancer very early. This means:
    • a much better chance of cure
    • more ways to treat the cancer
Risks:
  • Mammography uses very low radiation. Radiation carries a small risk of causing cancer. Still mammography is now safer than ever!
Ask your health-care provider about the benefits and risks of mammography.

Take charge of your health. Don't put off your mammograms!
Last updated by Webmaster on July 29, 2009

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