Imagine: there’s a disease affecting millions of American women annually. If the disease is found early, there’s a 95 percent cure rate. Yet all it takes is a few photos for physicians to find indications of symptoms. And the entire procedure takes about 30 minutes. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, it’s reality. The disease is breast cancer, and the pictures are X-rays taken during a mammogram.
Yet many women fear mammograms, miss their annual screening or don’t schedule one at all. The reason? Mammograms can be uncomfortable. And women think that breast self-exams are a good substitute. While self-exams are a good practice, nothing finds potential breast tumors as quickly as a mammogram. Since the risk of breast cancer increases with age, all women over age 40 are urged to have annual mammograms. Read on for some frequently asked questions and answers.
What is a mammogram, anyway?
A mammogram is a series of X-rays of your breast. Mammograms can detect lumps, tumors or other changes to breasts that touch cannot.
What should I expect at my appointment?
Your appointment may last from about 30 minutes to an hour. You will be asked to remove your clothing from the waist up and all jewelry. Your registered mammography technician will then press your breast between two specially designed plates to create the X-ray image.
How can I avoid discomfort at my screening?
Although a mammogram shouldn’t be painful, some women find the compression of their breasts a little uncomfortable. It might help to schedule your appointment the week after your period, when breasts are less tender. Avoiding caffeine the day of your exam may also help. Some mammography machines are equipped with soft foam pads that minimize the discomfort.
What can I do to get the best possible reading?
Before your mammogram, sit down with your health care provider and share any concerns you may have. On the day of your exam, wear two-piece clothing and make sure you tell the technician if you feel uncomfortable.
Where can I go for more information?
Mammograms are important but it’s also important you feel as comfortable as possible for your exam. Your health care provider can answer your questions and make you feel at ease.
Little Company of Mary offers mammograms at two convenient locations:
- Women’s Center for Life and Health, 2800 W. 95th Street, Evergreen Park, IL
- Outpatient Care Center, 6700 W. 95th Street, Oak Lawn, IL
LCMH makes getting your mammogram easy. The Outpatient Care Center offers all that you expect in managing your breast health; ease and comfort, the latest technology, expert staff and same-day appointments. Our mammography suite features a fully digital mammography unit to ensure the highest quality screenings and Computerized Aided Detection (CAD), which is a special software designed to help the radiologist detect abnormalities. Our digital mammography provides a gentle approach to the testing using a softer, gentle flex paddle, improving comfort.
To schedule your mammogram, call 708.499.8550.