Friday, November 8, 2019

MAMMOGRAM: 33 FAQs on Mammography

What is mammogram test?
Mammography or mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast which is used to detect tumors, lumps, abnormalities, or any other early signs of breast cancer. Regular mammograms are used to find breast cancer early, even up to 3 years before it can be felt. Doctors use a mammogram either for screening or diagnostic purposes in evaluating a breast lump.

(2) Is it OK to drink coffee before a mammogram?
Tenderness in breasts may lead to discomfort during a mammogram. Coffee, tea or caffeinated soft drinks make breasts tender and lumpy. Don't drink coffee during the week before a mammogram.

(3) Can I wear earrings during a mammogram?
Necklace, earrings, or other Jewelry must be removed because it can interfere with the mammography.

You are reading article on: Mammogram     9 Minutes Read

(4) Can your menstrual cycle affect your mammogram?
What is the best time of month to get a mammogram?
Do not schedule your mammogram for the week before your menstrual period. The best time for a mammogram is one week following your period.

Mammogram accuracy can be affected by menstrual Cycle. Breasts may be more tender or swollen during your period. If you are premenopausal, the best time to go is about a week after your period.

(5) What to tell your technologist before mammography?

  1. Tell your doctor about any breast changes.
  2. If you feel any new growth or lump in your breasts, contact your doctor immediately. Also tell your radiologist about them.
  3. If you’re having problems describe to the technologist.
  4. Tell about any family history of breast cancer to the technologist.
  5. Describe any medical history that could affect your breast cancer risk.
  6. If you think you might be pregnant, tell it to your x-ray technician.
  7. Before getting any type of imaging test, tell the technologist if you’re breastfeeding.


(6) How is a mammogram test done? How is mammography done?

Mammogram Procedure:

Mammography is a fast procedure (about 20 minutes) and is very safe. During a mammogram, breasts are compressed between two firm surfaces. You will stand in front of a mammogram machine. An x-ray technologist/mammographer will place your breast on a plate and capture black-and-white images of your breasts. You may feel some pressure. Your technologist will take x-ray images from different angles. Similarly other breast is placed same like this and the steps are repeated to make a side view of the breast. Each woman’s mammogram may look a little bit different because all breasts are not the same.

(7) How much expensive is a mammogram?
How much is a mammogram out of pocket?
Mammograms are expensive, with the average cost ranging from about $100 to $300.

(8) What does having a mammogram feel like?
Some women find mammogram to be painful and uncomfortable. Breasts are more sensitive if you are about to get or have your period. The level of pain or discomfort depends on the following three factors:

  1. The skills of the radiologist
  2. The size of your breasts
  3. The pressure applied on them.


(9) Can I wear roll on deodorant for a mammogram?
Can I wear makeup to a mammogram?
Don't use powders, lotions, creams, deodorants, antiperspirants, or perfumes under your arms or on your breasts. Powders and deodorants contain metallic particles in them that could be visible on your mammogram tests. Don’t wear talcum powder or spray deodorant as this can affect the mammogram. Roll on deodorant is fine though.

(10) How ten most important tips to prepare for your mammogram?
What are the tips for getting a mammogram?

Important Tips To Prepare For Mammogram:

(1) Schedule your mammogram when your breasts are not tender or swollen. Your breasts may be tender or swollen during periods which can cause extra discomfort during the mammogram. Go for a mammogram the week before you get your period or during your period.

(2) Choose a certified mammogram facility by asking whether the mammogram facility is certified by the Food and Drug Administration. Also notice that you must use a facility that does many mammograms a day.

(3) If you’re going to a facility for the first time, bring older mammograms, biopsies, or other breast treatments you’ve had before. It is best practice to go to the same facility every time.

(4) If you’ve had mammograms at another facility, try to get those records to bring with you to the new facility. Bring your prior mammogram images so old images can be compared with the new ones.

(5) Before getting the mammogram, discuss any recent changes in your breasts with your doctor.

(6) Don’t take caffeine products such as coffee or chocolate several days up to two weeks before the mammogram. Although this will not affect your mammogram results however some women are sensitive to caffeine.

(7) Don’t apply deodorant, perfume, lotion, creams, and any other substance on and around your breasts, before your mammogram. These things are visible and cause confusion. They appear as white spots in the mammogram screenings.

(8) On the day of your mammogram, you will need to undress from your waist up for the mammogram. Therefore most women prefer to wear a top with a skirt or pants, instead of a dress. It’s best to wear two pieces such as pants/skirt with a top. Don’t wear a dress or one-piece outfit.

(9) Don’t be afraid of mammograms. Most women only feel a slight discomfort during a mammogram screening. You must also not fear radiation as the radiation exposure is minimal. Note that Only 2 to 4 screening mammograms in 1,000 lead to a diagnosis of breast cancer.

(10) Some medicines such as acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) might ease the discomfort of the test. Take an over-the-counter pain medication if you feel discomfort during mammography.

(11) Can you take a Xanax before a mammogram?
Take an over-the-counter pain medicine such as Advil, Motrin, Tylenol, etc about an hour before your mammogram appointment.

(12) When will I get the results of my mammogram?
How long does it take to get the results of a mammogram?
Results of a screening mammogram can be expected within two weeks. However it depends on the facility. If you do not receive a report of your results within 30 days then ask your doctor or your technologist. Anyhow for mammogram follow-up test, results can be collected before you leave the appointment.

Mammography
Mammography


(13) Are mammogram results instant? Do you get mammogram results same day?
Do you find out mammogram results right away?
If you're there for your annual screening mammogram, you may not your results the same day. If your results are clearly abnormal or at all suspicious, you may or may not be informed at the time.

Routine mammogram results are dispatched within 30 days. However, getting called back after a screening mammogram is fairly common thing. But that does not mean you have breast cancer.

(14) What are the risks of mammography?

Risks and limitations of Mammography:


  1. Not all of the tumors found by mammography can be cured.
  2. You are exposed to a low dose of radiation. Anyhow, the benefits of regular mammograms outweigh the potential risks by this tiny amount of radiation.
  3. A cancer may be too small or may be in an area that is difficult to view by mammography, such as your armpit.
  4. The breasts of younger women contain more glands and ligaments. They have dense breasts so it may be difficult to interpret mammograms in younger women.
  5. Mammograms can miss 1 in 5 cancers in women.
  6. Screening mammography can't detect all cancers.
  7. Mammograms may result in false-negative or false-positive mammograms.
  8. Some cancers detected by physical examination may not be seen on the mammogram.
  9. The accuracy of the mammograms depends on your age, breast density, the technique used, experience and skill of the radiologist.
  10. Mammograms may lead to additional testing such as ultrasound imaging and biopsy. It is called as overdiagnosis. Overdiagnosis and overtreatment options may cause unwanted and unnecessary adverse effects. When doctors find a cancer that would not have gone on to cause symptoms or problems, or even may go away on its own then the treatment of these cancers is called overtreatment. Overtreatment can include surgery or radiation therapy.


(15) Do you need a doctor's prescription for a mammogram?
Can I get a mammogram without a doctor order?
By law, there is not any need for a prescription or referral if you meet the age guidelines. However, some facility centers do not facilitate mammogram without a prescription. Anyhow many test centers allow screening mammogram without requiring a referral or a prescription from a physician.

(16) What age should a woman get a mammogram?
When should I get my first mammogram?
Can a 20 year old get a mammogram?
Can I get a mammogram at 25? Can a 30 year old get a mammogram?

Talk to your doctor to start taking mammogram. Generally, women in the age range between 30 and 39 don't get mammograms. Most women diagnosed with breast cancer are 40 years old or above.

American Cancer Society recommends women begin screening at age 45. However, according to U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, women begin screening at age 50.

The recommended age for mammograms depends on how early your family members were diagnosed with breast or other cancers. It may also depend upon various other factors. It's been difficult to study women for a mammogram in the age group 30 to 39.

Breast tissues are dense in young women. This makes mammograms less effective as a screening tool. Regular mammograms are not recommended for women who are at average risk for breast cancer if they are under 40 years old.

(17) Why do mammograms stop at age 70?
Older women have low bone mineral density (BMD). Therefore, old women have a lower risk of breast cancer and may benefit less from continued screening. So screening mammography in women aged 70-79 years is stopped.

(18) Why mammograms are dangerous? Can mammograms be dangerous?
What are the risks of radiation on breast cancer? Can mammogram cause cancer?

Radiation Risks of Mammography:


  1. Mammograms require very small amount of radiation. The benefits of mammography always outweigh the potential harm from the radiation exposure. However, radiation from mammography may Increase risk of breast cancer.
  2. Women with carriers of the BRCA (breast cancer susceptibility) gene are at higher risk of experiencing side effects from radiation during a mammography.
  3. Women who are exposed to radiation for other purposes may also develop breast cancer.


(19) Can a mammogram damage breast tissue?
A mammogram shouldn't cause bruising to your breast tissue. Compression of breasts during mammography doesn’t develop breast cancer. However, mammogram exposes you to a small amount of radiation. So it may lead to some long-term side effects.

(20) How bad do mammograms hurt?
Some women may feel pain or discomfort during the procedure and that's normal. Some women may not feel anything at all. Every women experience mammograms differently. Most women feel some discomfort during the mammography due to the pressure against your breasts from the testing equipment.

(21) Does mammogram hurt small breasts?
Women with small breasts worry that a mammogram will be painful. They also think that a mammography will not detect breast cancer accurately due to their short breasts. Actually, during the procedure, breasts are compressed that may cause some pain or discomfort.

(22) Do mammograms show cancer? 
What does cancer look like on a mammogram?
Mammograms can often show a breast lump before it can be felt. Microcalcifications are calcium deposits within the breast tissue and they look like small white spots. Cancerous tumors are denser therefore they usually appear brighter on the mammogram. A lump or tumor may be noted as an irregularly shaped shadow. Specks can be caused by cancer, fatty cells, or other conditions like cysts.

(23) Can a mammogram and ultrasound miss breast cancer? 
Is breast ultrasound better than mammogram?
Breast ultrasound is not usually done for breast cancer screening as it may miss some early signs of cancer. A breast ultrasound is done to find out if a problem found by a mammogram may be a cyst filled with fluid or a solid tumor.

It is harder for mammograms to detect cancer in dense breasts. So ultrasounds are recommended for women with dense breasts.
But according to a recent study, ultrasound finds about the same amount of breast cancers as mammography.

(24) Do mammograms really save lives?
Mammography saves lives by lowering the risk of dying from breast cancer. However, not all women get the same advantages. Anyhow it is the best means to detect breast cancer before it can be felt.

(25) Are mammograms reliable?
The accuracy of mamography is called the sensitivity of mammography. Sensitivity of mammography is about 87% which means that mammography correctly identifies about 87% of women who truly have breast cancer. So it is righteous to say that mammography is best for finding breast cancer.

(26) How common is it to get a call back after mammogram? 
Is it common to get called back after mammogram? 
Should I worry about a mammogram call back? 
Why would I be recalled after a mammogram?

Getting called back after a screening mammogram is common. You need not to worry as it doesn't mean you have breast cancer. Fewer than 1 in 10 women called back for more tests are found to have cancer. Most women are recalled because an area has shown up on the mammogram and more information is needed before a result can be given.

If you mention that you'd noticed a breast change, then you may also be recalled. About 90 percent of call backs will be given the all clear with additional mammogram pictures or an ultrasound. If the call back results in the need for a biopsy, know that 4 out of 5 biopsies are negative for cancer. The odds are in your favor, and you must not bother.

BEFORE THE MAMMOGRAPHY TEST:

(27) What to expect when getting a screening mammogram?

  1. The whole procedure takes about 20 minutes.
  2. Women with large breasts or with breast implants will have to undergo more pictures. It may take some little extra time.
  3. At facility center, you will be given a gown to wear and asked to remove neck jewelry.
  4. You’ll have to undress above the waist to get a mammogram.
  5. You and the technologist are the only ones in the room during x-ray procedure.
  6. During the procedure, the technician will position your head, arms and torso.
  7. The technician places one of your breasts on a platform and raises or lowers the platform to match your height.
  8. The technician gradually presses your breasts to allow an unobstructed view and high-quality picture of your breast.
  9. Your breasts are compressed to even out its thickness.
  10. If you have too much discomfort and pain, tell the technician.
  11. Small amount of X-ray radiation are allowed to penetrate the breast tissue.
  12. The pressure also holds your breast still to decrease blurring from movement and minimizes the dose of radiation needed.
  13. During X-ray, you'll be asked to hold your breath by standing still.
  14. You will then need to change position before the next picture is taken.
  15. Two views of each breast are taken for a screening mammogram.


AFTER THE MAMMOGRAPHY TEST:

(28) How will I get my mammogram results?

  1. After images are made of both your breasts, you may be asked to wait while the technician checks the quality of the images.
  2. If case of inadequate views, you may have to repeat part of the test.
  3. If you don’t hear from your doctor within 10 days, do not assume that your mammogram was normal.
  4. Call your facility center where the mammography was done.
  5. If you want the full written mammogram report as well as the summary, you’ll need to ask for it.
  6. In the USA, federal law requires mammogram facilities to send your results within 30 days.
  7. Mammogram facilities also inform you about the density of your breast tissue on the mammogram.


(29) What happens if my mammogram is normal?
Mammograms work best when they can be compared with previous ones.
Get mammograms after regular intervals as recommended by your doctor.
Radiologists compare new mammograms with previous ones to look for changes in your breasts.

(30) What happens if my mammogram is abnormal?

Abnormal mammogram:


  • An abnormal mammogram does not always mean that you have breast cancer.
  • You may be referred to a surgeon or a doctor who has a specialty in breasts diseases.
  • You may be asked to have additional mammograms, tests, or exams.
  • Doctors will recommend some follow-up tests or exams to diagnose breast cancer or to find that there is no cancer.


(31) Where can I get a mammogram and who can I talk to if I have questions?
It is better to contact your doctor or healthcare provider if you have any issues.

CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program works with health departments and other groups to provide low-cost or free mammograms to women who qualify. Find out if you qualify.

For Medicare information, visit The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services or contact at 1-800 MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227).

Contact National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service (CIS) at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237). TTY: 1-800-332-8615.

(32) Is a mammogram safe?
Yes, mammogram is a safe procedure however little discomfort, or pain is a normal thing.

(33) What Are the Benefits of mammogram screening?
If cancer is found in early stages, then it is easy to treat it. The main benefit of mammogram screening is finding cancer early.


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