Mammography is a specific type of imaging that uses a low-dose x-ray system for the examination of breasts. A mammogram is used as a screening tool to detect early breast cancer in women experiencing no symptoms and to detect and diagnose breast disease in women experiencing symptoms such as a lump, pain or nipple discharge.
What will I experience during the procedure?
You will feel pressure on the breast as it is squeezed by the compressor. Some women with sensitive breasts may experience discomfort. If this is the case, schedule the procedure when your breasts are least tender. The technologist will gradually compress your breast. Be sure to inform the technologist if pain occurs as compression is increased. If discomfort is significant, less compression will be used.
How should I prepare for the procedure?
Before the examination you will be asked to remove all jewelry and clothing above the waist and you will be provided a gown or loose-fitting material that opens in the front. Avoid deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms or on your breasts on the day of the exam. These can appear on the mammogram as calcium spots. Do not schedule your mammogram for the week before your period if your breasts are usually tender during this time. The best time for a mammogram is one week following your period. Always inform your doctor or x-ray technologist of any breast symptoms or problems and if there is any possibility that you are pregnant.
Who interprets the results and how do I get them?
A radiologist who is a physician experienced in mammograms and other radiology examinations will analyze the images and send a signed report with the interpretation to the patient’s personal physician. The patient receives mammogram results from the referring physician who ordered the test results. In some cases the radiologist may discuss preliminary results with you at the conclusion of your examination.
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