What to Expect With Your First Mammogram

What to Expect With Your First Mammogram

So, you’ve scheduled your first mammogram- good for you! It might not be something you’re looking forward to, but it’s certainly an important part of taking care of your health. Before you go, here are some things we think you might like to know.

  • Plan your mammogram for the right time. It’s better to go on a day when your breasts aren’t tender or swollen, so avoid the week before your period.
  • It’s a good idea to shower before you go. It’s really important not to wear deodorant, talcum powder, or lotion under your arms because these can show up as calcium spots on your mammogram. If you want to bring your deodorant, you can put it on after you finish your mammogram.
  • Bring something to read or your smartphone. It’s not a big deal, but especially if you’re a little bit nervous, you might want to bring along something to occupy your time, like a book or a game. Typically, you’ll get called back almost immediately by the technologist, but it always helps to have something to pass the time if a situation occurs where there is a short wait.
  • Dedicated area for women. Salem Radiology is concerned about respecting every woman’s right to privacy and for that reason we have a dedicated mammography area reserved exclusively for women.
  • You’ll need to be topless. In the privacy of the dressing room and exam room, you’ll be asked to take off your shirt and bra, but you can leave on your pants or skirt and shoes. The staff will give you a wrap or hospital gown-type top to wear instead.
  • The technologist will handle your breasts. You and the female technologist will be alone in the room with the machine, and stickers will probably be placed on your nipples and on any moles or spots they want to be able to identify in the mammogram. The technologist will place your breast on the machine’s plate which will have been warmed for your comfort, show you where to put your hands, and then the breast will be compressed. This part of the process only takes a few seconds.
  • It will be uncomfortable. There’s no getting around it, having your breasts flattened out in a machine is not pleasant. If it hurts, though, tell the person doing the test. For most people, it’s just somewhat uncomfortable.
  • You’ll be glad you did it. The slight discomfort of the mammogram is worth the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’re taking charge of your breast health. By regularly undergoing screening mammograms, you increase the chances that any problems you have will be detected early. Early detection dramatically increases a woman’s chances of successful treatment.

For diagnostic, screening, or 3D mammograms, trust Salem Radiology Consultants to provide you with the highest quality of care. A premier outpatient imaging center, Salem Radiology Consultants, or SRC, has been serving Salem and the greater Willamette Valley since 1973. We are the largest radiology group in the area, and our doctors provide a depth of specialization you’d expect to find only at major university medical centers. Call us today at (503) 399-1262 to schedule an appointment.

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