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Getting a mammogram is one of the best things a woman can do to protect her health. This simple test can find breast cancers early, when they're smaller, easier to treat, and chances of survival are higher.
The American Cancer Society recommends that women age 40 and older have a mammogram every year. Women with a higher risk of breast cancer should talk with a doctor about the best early detection plan for them. This might mean starting mammograms when they are younger, having extra screening tests, or having more frequent exams.
What to Expect
Prior to your Mammogram
Though there is no proven method to decrease discomfort, you can try:
- Scheduling the exam when breast tissue is least tender. This is most often a week after your period.
- Avoiding caffeinated drinks.
Tell the technologists if you:
- Are pregnant
- Are breastfeeding
- Have breast implants. Implants make it hard to see breast tissue. So at Rapides Women’s and Children’s Hospital, technologists take four additional views for patients with implants.
On the day of your exam:
- Do not apply deodorant, talcum powder, lotion, or perfume near your breasts or under your arms.
- Ask your doctor if you should take a pain medicine like ibuprofen to relieve discomfort.
- Wear comfortable clothing so you can easily remove your shirt.
- Remove jewelry.
- Bring copies of previous mammograms and reports with you. If you have them done in the same facility each time, they will have results of prior years. The doctor can compare the old images to the new ones.
- Describe any breast problems to the technologist before the exam.
The test takes approximately 10-15 minutes. Since all mammography patients must first check in at Admissions, we ask that you arrive 10-15 minutes before your appointment time. Once the screening is done, a radiologist will look at the images and send results to you and your physician.
If something is noticed on the mammogram, you may need to have other tests done, like an ultrasound or a breast biopsy. This will help determine if there is an actual problem or if everything is fine.
For more information about mammography at Rapides Women’s and Children’s Hospital, call 769-7048.
To schedule a mammogram, call 769-7607.