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6 Things to Know About Getting a Mammogram

Mammograms (breast x-rays) are the best screening tool we have to find breast cancer early, when it’s easier to treat. After you and your healthcare professional establish a screening schedule, it’ll help you to know what to expect so it can go as smoothly as possible.

1. Aim to schedule your mammogram about a week after your period. Your breasts won’t be as tender or swollen, which means less discomfort under the x-ray.

2. Don’t apply deodorant, powder, lotion or other ointment on or around your chest on the day of your mammogram. The products can appear as white spots on the x-ray.

3. This isn’t the day to break out your fabulous new jumpsuit. Wear a two-piece outfit—a shirt with pants or a skirt—so you only have to remove your top.

4. It’s normal to feel some discomfort. The breast will be compressed between two plastic plates for a few seconds, and then repositioned and compressed again. This is then done on the other breast.

5. You can expect the entire procedure to take about 20 minutes. You should get your results within 10 days. If you don’t, you should call to ask about them.

6. If your doctor finds something suspicious and needs to do more tests, it doesn’t mean you have cancer. It may simply be dense breast tissue, a cyst or just unclear images.

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