A mammogram is an essential procedure that can help radiologists and doctors detect breast cancer. If it’s your first mammogram, it’s normal to feel nervous about the entire procedure, particularly the outcome. Knowing what to expect can help soothe your nerves and help you prepare thoroughly for the procedure. Here are the steps you can take before a mammogram.
Choose a certified mammography facility
Your first step to getting high-quality mammography services is choosing the right facility. Go to a facility that specializes in breast screening and conducts many mammograms every day. Such facilities have the right software and tools to ensure the process goes smoothly. Many of them use Magview’s Mammography Tracking & Reporting Software to keep track of your breast health information.
Know the best time to schedule a mammogram
Schedule your mammogram for when your breasts aren’t swollen or tender to reduce discomfort and allow the radiologists to take quality pictures. If possible, Schedule your appointment a week after your period.
Understand your insurance coverage
Breast cancer screening mammograms are covered by insurance. If you don’t have coverage, don’t worry. You’re still eligible for no-or low-cost screening under the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP).
Bring your doctor’s written order/prescription for the mammogram study
If your doctor sends you to have a mammogram, it’s essential to bring the written order with you for the mammogram study. It’s recommended to stick to one facility, so doctors can easily compare mammograms from year to year. If you want to change facility, bring the records to the new facility so the new doctor can compare your current images to your previous images..
Bring your ID and insurance information
If you’re using insurance, bring your insurance card and other necessary information to facilitate billing. The facility must confirm your identity and insurance information before performing the procedure.
Describe any breast problems or symptoms to the technologist performing the exam
Discuss any recent problems or changes in your breasts with the health care provider before getting the mammogram. If you have symptoms, you can benefit from a diagnostic mammogram that allows radiologists to take special images in the areas of concern.
Opt for a skirt or pants with a top instead of a dress. This way, you only need to remove your top and bra during the procedure. You will be given a robe to wear, but you will likely feel less exposed with your bottom clothes on.
Keep your chest and arms free of beauty products
Bathe and skip the deodorant that day. In fact, avoid applying powders, lotions, antiperspirants, creams or perfumes under your arms or on your breasts. The particles in these products can interfere with images taken, leading to confusion.
Consider pain medication if you find that having a mammogram is uncomfortable
You can take acetaminophen such as Tylenol about an hour before your mammogram to ease the discomfort of the test. If you’re experiencing too much pain in your breast, let your doctor know and check with your doctor before taking any new medication.
Leave any neck jewelry at home
Avoid wearing necklaces on mammogram day. Anything around the neck can interfere with obtaining clear images of your breasts. Instead of wearing it and having to remove it during the procedure, it’s better to skip it and avoid losing it in the process.
Along with mammograms, learn about your risk for breast cancer. Visit our website today to learn more about our risk assessment programs.