Mammograms:  Scheduling, Preparing, and Why You Can't Wear Deodorant

Mammograms: Scheduling, Preparing, and Why You Can't Wear Deodorant

After the age of 40, you should have a mammogram every year as recommended by the American Cancer Society.  This often follows your well woman exam, and otherwise, you definitely need an exam by your healthcare provider before scheduling the mammogram if you are experiencing any symptoms.  This includes pain, a lump, a dimpling or change in texture of the surface of the breast, if your nipple becomes turned inward (inverted), or you have nipple discharge.  After the exam, the appropriate test will be ordered.

Here are a few things to know before you schedule your appointment:

1.  Schedule your appointment when your breasts are less tender.  This is likely to mean avoiding the week that leads up to your menstrual period

2.  Allow 20-30 minutes of time plus commute time when planning

3.  Try to always use the same imaging facility.  This is important for comparison to detect any subtle changes in the breasts

On the day of the exam:

1.  Do not apply anti-perspirant, deodorant, lotions or powders.  This is because powder and deodorants have aluminum in the ingredients, and these small flecks may give a false appearance on the mammogram of calcifications.  Some other body products might have sparkles and may also be misinterpreted as abnormal cells or changes on the image

2.  Wear a skirt or pants.  This is because you will wear a gown for the exam.  This way, your lower body will remain dressed, helping you to feel more comfortable

3.  The technician will help position your body.  Don't be embarrassed by this because they are focusing on getting the image, and not judging your body in any way

4.  If there is discomfort during the compression, speak up.  They want you to tell them because it should not be painful.  Compression is necessary to identify abnormal tissue while using a safe low level of radiation necessary to create the image that is analyzed

5.  Remaining still, holding your breath when told, and positioning is done to assure a good image.  Following these instructions are key for a quality image.  Think of this as taking a picture.  When someone is moving, it can cause a blurring of the image, so be patient and follow directions

After the exam

1.  Do not panic if you get a call from the imaging center, asking you to return for more "views".  This does not necessarily mean you have cancer.  They may need to repeat it to have a clearer view, or to compare a certain view to a past mammogram view

2.  If you do not hear from the healthcare provider or center about your results, call to ask for them

www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer-screening-tests-and-early-detection/mammograms/mammograms-what-to-know-before-you-go.html

http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/mammogram/details/how-you-prepare/ppc-20231024

 

 

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