The American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends women get a mammogram each year after age 40. Here are 5 tips the ACS recommends to make your experience better.
1. LOCATION: Find a center that specializes in mammograms and certified by the US Food and Drug Administration. You can ask to see that certificate when you register at the receptionist’s desk. It’s helpful to find a place and stay there so your mammograms are available to be compared each year.
2. TIMING: Schedule for the week after your menstrual period when your breasts are less tender and less swollen, and that will make it more comfortable. It also allows a petter picture to be taken.
3. CLOTHING: Wear a two piece outfit as you’ll have to remove your top and bra. Do not wear deodorant, antiperspirant, powder, lotion or ointment on or around your chest on the day of your mammogram because they can show up as specks on your mammogram. Use them after the exam.
4. Experience: It takes about 20 minutes. Each breast is pressed for a short time to make it flat while 2 or more x-rays are taken. Keeping the breast flat creates a better picture and because it makes the breast thinner, it requires less radiation.
5. AFTERWARD: Some places give the results before you leave. Others may take up to 30 days. Sometimes you may to take another x-ray either because the image taken was not clear enough or there may be some spots that need to be looked at more closely. That doesn’t mean you have cancer. It could just be dense tissue or a cyst.
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