Have you had your mammogram yet this year? If you’re over 40, or if you’re at increased risk, your doctor may prescribe a mammogram, which is the best screening tool for breast cancer.
Since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, take time to learn about mammograms and how they can benefit you. Remember that early diagnosis plays a key role in effective treatment and recovery.
One of the latest innovations in mammography is digital technology. You may hear mammogram technologists or radiologists mention it, so here’s what you should know.
- Digital mammograms don’t feel any different from traditional film images. When you’re getting a mammogram, the experience is the same.
- Just as you can work with a digital photograph, a radiologist can manipulate a digital mammogram to enlarge certain areas or change the contrast for better review.
- Digital images are available right away—no waiting for film to develop.
- If your images need to be transferred from one office to another, digital files can be sent electronically. You no longer have to carry them around with you.
- Digital images may be more effective in analyzing dense breast tissue. This may result in fewer “retakes.”
- While the dose of radiation used in all mammograms is considered safe, digital images use even less radiation than conventional mammograms do.
Whether you are scheduled for a traditional or digital mammogram, here are a few things for you to keep in mind:
- If you can, avoid scheduling a mammogram the week before or during your period. This is often when your breasts are the most tender.
- If this is your first mammogram at a particular center, be sure to have any previous mammogram results sent over before your appointment. This will allow your radiologist to compare old and new images.
- You’ll need to remove your top for the mammogram (and wear a front-opening medical gown or robe), so you may want to wear a shirt and pants or skirt, instead of a dress.
- On the day of your appointment, refrain from wearing antiperspirant, perfume, or powder, since these can show up as dots on your mammogram results.
- Some women report that mammograms can be uncomfortable, but usually that part is quite quick. Try to relax and take deep breaths.
To learn more about mammography, contact the Breast Diagnostic Center at Aventura Hospital. Visit us online or call Consult-A-Nurse® at 1-888-256-7692. Serving the Miami-Dade and South Broward community, we’re here to answer all your questions.