The Truth About Mammograms

Stony Brook Women’s Health is a full service gynecological center. Not only do we perform long island abortions, but we provide an array of services for women. One of the many things we suggest to patients is that they receive a mammogram at some point. It is a very important part of women’s health, and should not be overlooked.

What is a Mammogram?

A mammogram is an examination used for detecting any abnormalities or changes of the breasts. Low x-rays are used in the examination to check for breast cancer. We suggest that women start getting bi-annual mammograms after age 40.

 

What Are the Different Types of Mammograms

There are two different mammograms that can be performed.

  • Screening mammograms: These are more routine mammograms. They are done in order to diagnose any possible changes in the breast tissue. These types of abnormalities can eventually lead to breast cancer. If screened regularly, you have a better chance of catching breast cancer in its early stages.
  • Diagnostic mammograms: If an abnormality has been discovered, a diagnostic mammogram will be performed. This will also be done if the size or the shape of your breast has changed at all. Diagnostic mammograms last longer than screening mammograms since they are meant to better detect the changes in breast tissue. During a diagnostic mammogram, more images of the breasts are taken from different angles.
 
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What Happens During a Mammogram?

Mammograms take about 20 minutes. Your breasts are gently placed between an x-ray plate and a plastic plate. This is done because it spreads the breast tissue in order to get the best image. While this process may be slightly uncomfortable, it only lasts a few seconds. 2 images will be taken of your breasts, one from above, and one from the side. When you go for a mammogram, be sure that you are prepared. Here is a short checklist of what you should do at your mammogram appointment:

  • Do not get a mammogram if you are menstruating.
  • Avoid getting a mammogram if you are premenstrual. During this time, your breasts could be swollen and tender, which will make for a more uncomfortable experience for you.
  • When you go to your appointment, make sure you are not wearing any deodorant, perfume, or powder under your arms or around your breasts. This could interfere with the results of your exam.
  • If you have breast implants, tell your x-ray technician. Implants often hide genuine breast tissue from the x-ray which will make it difficult to spot any abnormalities.

 

How Often Should a Woman Have a Mammograms?

Once you turn 40, it is a good idea to have a mammogram once every 2 years. However, we recommend that you examine your breasts on your own as well. If you feel any lumps or other abnormalities in your breasts, you should consult your doctor immediately. Your doctor may suggest having mammograms performed more regularly if you have a history of breast cancer in your family.


About Mammograms

Don’t be nervous about getting a mammogram. It is one of the best things you can do to make sure you stay healthy. If you do notice any abnormalities, getting regularly scheduled mammograms are your best chance of detecting the cancer early. If you have any more questions about mammograms, or wish to schedule an appointment for an exam, call Stony Brook Women’s Health anytime.

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