What to expect at your first mammogram

Mammograms are a key part of preventive care for women. Starting at an age that is recommended by your physician based on your personal needs, you should have regular mammograms so that your breast tissues can be examined for abnormalities that could indicate breast cancer. If you have never had a mammogram, it’s normal to be a little nervous about what to expect. Here is what you need to know.

Arriving at the screening facility
When you arrive for your mammogram, you will be checked in for your appointment. The technician who will be performing your mammogram will ask you some questions about your health to ensure that it’s safe for you to have a mammogram. It’s important to let the technician know if you could be pregnant.

You will be given a smock that ties in the front to wear. Many women prefer to wear pants or a skirt on the day of their mammogram so that they can easily remove their tops while leaving their bottoms on.

Getting your mammogram
When you enter the room in which your mammogram will be taken, your technician will place one of your breasts on a flat plate and position it so that a clear picture can be taken. Another plate will be lowered from above to compress the breast. Some women experience mild discomfort at this point, but as the video explains, the process is over quickly.

You need to stand every still and hold your breath for a few seconds while the image is taken. Then, the plate will lift, allowing your technician to place your breast in a different position for another photo. This process will be completed on both breasts until the technician has all of the necessary pictures.

Getting your results
Your technician will tell you when you can expect to get the results. They will be provided to your physician. You may also get a letter in the mail.

Your results may say that your breasts are all clear, or they may advise you to have a follow-up mammogram or biopsy to explore a suspected issue further.

The Breast Care Center at Good Samaritan Hospital provides comprehensive breast health care, including mammograms, ultrasounds, and biopsy procedures. For a referral to our breast health team in San Jose, call (888) 724-2362.

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