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Why Is It Important To Get a Mammogram?

Your provider will recommend a mammogram typically for two reasons: to routinely screen for breast cancer and to diagnose potential symptoms you may be experiencing.

Routine screening is a preventative tool that helps providers catch signs of breast cancer early. If you’re experiencing breast pain or have noticed lumps and other changes to your breasts, your provider may recommend a diagnostic mammogram.  This imaging can help to identify any potential areas of concern that may need to be biopsied.

When Should I Start Getting Mammograms?

Your provider will help you determine when it’s right for you to begin getting mammograms. This may depend upon your personal and family health history as well as your age.

If you have an average risk of breast cancer, it is recommended you begin getting mammograms at age 40 and continue to do so once every year or two until you’re 75.

If you are at high risk for breast cancer, your provider may recommend screenings begin earlier. Risk factors for breast cancer include:

  • Personal or family history of breast or other kinds of cancer
  • BRCA1 and BRCA2 (genes that control cell growth) mutations
  • Exposure to chest radiation at a young age

Your provider is here to discuss your risk factors and help you determine when a mammogram may be right for you.

What is a 3D Mammogram?

Also known as breast tomosynthesis, 3D mammogram is a type of mammogram that can be performed in conjunction with 2D mammograms. A 3D mammogram creates a three-dimensional image of your breast issue, which makes it easier to spot abnormalities. Your provider also gets a more detailed picture of your breast tissue, which reduces the frequency of false positives. This can ease the stress and anxiety that additional testing may cause.

What To Expect During a Mammogram

When you arrive for your mammogram, you will need to remove your clothes from the waist up and put on a gown. The technician performing your mammogram will answer any questions you have about the procedure. Let them know about any signs you’ve noticed, such as lumps or skin changes in your breasts.

Do not apply any powders, lotions, or deodorants on the day of your mammogram. These can obscure the X-ray, making it difficult to read.

You will stand in front of the mammogram X-ray machine and place a breast on a support plate. Another plate will compress your breast and hold it in place. You may experience some mild discomfort while your breast is compressed. Your breast will be scanned from the side and above. Your technician will do their best to keep you as comfortable as possible. When the X-ray is complete, you will do the same thing with your other breast.

Once your mammogram is finished, you can leave and resume your normal daily activities. Your provider will follow up with you to discuss the results. We are here to help you every step of the way.

Schedule Your Next Mammogram Today

If you’re due for a mammogram or want to talk to your provider about other breast cancer screening options, such as an ultrasound, schedule an appointment at UWH of Michigan. Our team is here to support you through the screening process and help you receive the care you need.

Contact us to schedule your next mammogram today, which are conveniently performed right in our UWH of Michigan offices.