Primary care physician

If you’re scheduled to go to your first mammogram screening ever, you might be a little stressed and nervous. You might not know what to expect, and friends and family members around you might be giving you conflicting information. Mammogram screenings are done for women in order to help make sure their breasts are in good health. These screenings can help prevent cancer in women of all ages. Almost 40% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes, and any screening that can help prevent you from becoming a statistic is worth your time and a trip to the gynecologist.

Here is some basic information about mammogram screenings for women going for the first time.

1. What do mammograms show doctors?

Mammogram screenings show breast tissue and ensure that there are no areas that might look abnormal. The breast is flattened between two plates, and the x-ray dose used is much less than that of a normal x-ray. Therefore, less radiation is used.

2. Always look for places with reputable doctors

When going to get immediate care for something like hives or flu-like symptoms, an urgent care center will work. However, for something as specialized as a mammogram screening, you should be sure to go to a medical center with a history of specializing in mammograms, with a staff of reputable doctors. This mammogram can help save your life.

3. How often should I have to get a mammogram?

A screening should be done every 2 years for women over 50. Getting screenings every two years for women aged 65 to 74 has been shown to reduce breast cancer-related deaths. The old recommendations were for women 40 and over to get one annually, but data showed that it could actually cause more harm than good for older women. Because of this, the recommendation was changed. However, women who feel a breast lump should get mammograms regardless of their age, as it could signal a deeper, more serious issue.

A woman can choose to start getting mammograms between age 40 and 50 is they are in a “high risk” group. Women with mothers and sisters who have had breast cancer are at a higher risk of breast cancer than those without.

4. When should I get my results?

You can expect to get your results within 10 days. If your health care provider does not contact you within this time frame, assume your mammogram was normal. If the result does signal that cancer is present, your results will be shipped to you ASAP in an easy to understand format.

For more questions, you can speak to your local healthcare provider or gynecologist. There is also a good amount of information online that can help you understand mammograms and how to read a mammogram report.

Any other tips for first-time mammogram screening patients? Write it in the comments below!