In 2011, 508,000 women died from
breast cancer around the world. However, countries with early screening, most often
in the form of mammograms, saw the most positive outcomes. Here in the
United States, survival rates from breast cancer are as high as 80%.
The key to early detection is early screenings. Regardless of your history, the
American Cancer Society suggests women begin getting annual breast cancer screenings at age 40.
If you have a family history of breast cancer, you may be advised to start
screenings in your 30s.
Know Before You Go
- You'll be asked to remove your top and bra for the procedure, so dress
- Avoid scheduling your mammogram during a time when your breasts are swollen
or tender, for example just before your period. This can make the procedure
more uncomfortable, and it could affect the quality of your picture.
- Particles from antiperspirant can appear as white spots on your diagnostic
image, so don’t apply deodorant the day of your exam.
- Tell your technologist if you are breastfeeding, pregnant, or possibly
pregnant before the exam starts.
The Procedure Itself
After being asked to undress from the waist up, your technician will ask
you to rest your breasts on the imaging plate. During your mammogram,
your technician will be the only other person in the room with you.
Once you are correctly positioned, the machine will begin compressing your
breasts, one at a time. Once this step is completed, your technician will
take a diagnostic image of your breast. By compressing your breast tissue,
technicians can get a clearer picture. Though it can be uncomfortable,
most women don’t experience serious pain. If the test is painful,
tell your technician right away.
Two images are typically taken of each breast. However, women with larger
breasts, dense breast tissue, or those with implants may need additional images.
All in all, the entire procedure takes around 20 minutes, however, the
compression period only lasts a few seconds.
Once the exam is complete, you’ll be asked to dress and sit in the
waiting room. A radiologist will quickly read your images while you’re
there, to ensure they are of good quality. If the images are blurry, you
may be asked to have additional images taken.
Cortland Regional, our state-of-the-art digital mammography system provides a more comfortable
experience, while taking high-resolution images in a matter of seconds.
To schedule a mammogram, please talk to your primary care provider who
will refer you to our imaging department.