First Time Mammogram? Have No Fear

So, you’re ready to take the momentous step of getting your first mammogram. This is a noteworthy occasion. This is not just a test, it’s a statement that you are taking care of yourself and taking charge of your health.

Still, it is not unusual to be nervous or scared. The first time may be daunting because you don’t know what to expect or what is expected of you. It can help to know more about the procedure and what you should do to prepare. If you know of someone who is hesitant to make the call, maybe sharing this can help.

Scheduling an appointment:

This is really easy because at ella health, we can make an appointment for you within days and sometimes even on the same day you call. The ideal time to schedule the procedure is during the point in your menstrual cycle when your breasts are the least tender, generally days 11 to 17.

Usually, your doctor will give you referral for a mammogram, but you can schedule it on your own if you prefer.

You will have the option of getting 3D images at the same time as the conventional 2D images. This provides a more comprehensive picture that increases the likelihood of catching cancer and makes it easier to determine whether suspicious areas are harmless, which decreases the chance that you will be called back for more images. It takes no longer than a conventional exam.

Preparing for the exam:

• Bring with you as much medical information related to your breast history as possible. Have you had a lump before or surgery? It will be helpful to know treatments and dates.
• Be prepared to answer questions about your family health history, especially related to breast cancer. This will help determine your risk.
• Do not wear deodorant, body powder or cream. These items may contain ingredients that can interfere with the image. Many people bring these items with them for after.
• Many women prefer to wear a skirt or pants rather than a dress since you will need to remove only your top.

The exam:

• The technologist will explain what is happening and what you need to do.
• In order to take the images, the breast is compressed, but this takes just a few seconds.
• A basic mammogram requires four images: one of each breast compressed from top to bottom and one of each breast compressed from side to side. The technologist might take more images if they are needed to view all the breast tissue, or if the doctor has requested another angle.
After your mammogram:
• The results will be sent to your doctor
• You will be notified about the results within 24 hours unless the appointment was on Friday, in which case, you will be notified on Monday. You will be contacted by phone, email, or text messaging, depending on your preference.

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