Undergoing an annual mammogram is the most important step for monitoring breast health. Mammograms are important tools in the fight against breast cancer because they are able to detect breast cancer in even the earliest stages before symptoms are notable, which allows doctors to more effectively treat the cancer and gives patients the highest chance of remission. Whether it’s your first time or you are a mammogram veteran, these tips will help you prepare for your mammogram exam.
Tip 1: Find an ACR Accredited facility for your mammogram.
The first step in preparing for your breast imaging test is choosing a center that ACR Accredited for breast imaging. This gold stamp of approval ensures that you are visiting a center that is held to the highest standards for radiology care. For such an important test, going to a center that you can trust ensures you get the best breast imaging care. If you’re looking for an ACR Accredited location in the Bay area, be sure to schedule an appointment at one of our mammography locations.
Tip 2: Schedule your appointment when your breasts are least likely to be tender.
Mammograms have the reputation of being slightly uncomfortable. Since mammography utilizes x-rays, the breasts are compressed between two plates to ensure that a clear image is captured. By scheduling your appointment at a time when your breasts are the least sensitive, you can ensure your experience will be more comfortable. From a sensitivity perspective, scheduling your appointment a week after your period is generally the best time.
Tip 3: Avoid wearing deodorant before your mammogram.
Since deodorant and lotions can interfere with imaging results, it’s best to go without talcum powder, deodorant, lotion or perfume on the day of your exam. The aluminum found in these products can create false positives, which requires additional and often unnecessary scanning.
Tip 4: Do wear a two-piece outfit, don’t wear jewelry.
Wearing a two-piece outfit can make it easier to take off your top and bra before your mammogram while leaving the rest of your body covered, and as much as you may love that chunky necklace and earring set that you’ve got, be prepared to remove any jewelry before your breast exam to ensure your results are accurate.
Tip 5: Come prepared by bringing all necessary paperwork.
Before arriving at your mammogram appointment, be sure to complete any necessary paperwork required by the center. If it’s your first time at a particular center, providing images of your previous mammograms can give your radiologist a point of reference. If you are experiencing any concerning symptoms, compile a list of your concerns so your doctor can keep these in mind.
BICRAD stresses the importance of breast screenings and mammography, and the best way to spread breast cancer awareness is by undergoing your annual mammogram. Be proactive about your breast health, and keep these tips in mind when you schedule a mammogram at one of our Bay area locations!