If you are a woman in your 40s, you should consider getting a mammogram done every year. A mammogram is done to check for the signs of breast cancer, especially if there are no evident signs of the disease. The first time at a mammography screening clinic can be overwhelming because you are unsure of what to expect. What you would be going for is a screening mammogram, which involves taking two or more X-ray images of each breast. If you have a family history of breast cancer, you may have to go for annual screenings before the age of 40 or as suggested by your doctor. Here’s what you need to know before stepping inside the clinic.

Preparing for a screening mammogram

You don’t need to do anything at home before going for a screening mammogram. The staff may ask you to change so that those wires, zippers, and other metallic things like buckles don’t become major hindrances. If you are taking certain medications, continue taking them as usual. Just avoid all kinds of makeup and skincare products on the day of the evaluation, including deodorants and perfumes. Your doctor may make a note of your personal medical history to determine whether you are at risk of breast cancer.

During the screening mammogram

You will be asked to stand next to the screening mammogram equipment. The staff or technologist may then position your body accordingly and compress breasts to the plate – one at a time. The X-ray machine will take images of your breasts from different angles. With 3D Mammography, you may expect to get accurate results and a correct diagnosis from your doctor.

After a screening mammogram

There is no downtime associated with a screening mammogram, and you can go home and continue your life as usual. Once the images are ready, a radiologist will check the same and determine whether there are concerns that must be evaluated further by a doctor.

Does getting a mammogram hurt?

No, you shouldn’t feel any pain during a mammogram. However, because your breasts are compressed against the plate of the X-ray device, you may feel some discomfort, but this is usually for a few minutes.

Final word

If you are going for a traditional mammogram, your doctor will have two-dimensional images of the breasts. However, if there is an evident risk or the doctor finds something unusual, they may recommend a 3D mammogram, also known as breast tomosynthesis.