(GRINNELL, Iowa – September 23, 2021) Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in women and understanding the need to receive a mammogram is the first step to taking charge of your breast health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a mammogram is defined as an X-ray picture of the breast. Mammography allows for early detection of breast irregularities such as lumps, thickening or suspicious tissues that may not otherwise be identified.
Although many people have heard of the term mammogram, individuals still have multiple questions surrounding the topic. The radiology team at UnityPoint Health – Grinnell Regional Medical Center (GRMC) helps answer some of the frequently asked questions.
What’s the advantage of getting a mammogram?
A mammogram is used to detect breast cancer in the earliest stage when it is most treatable. Mammograms can find breast cancer tumors up to two years before they can be felt during a physical exam. GRMC is proud to be recognized as a certified Pink Ribbon Facility and our digital 3-D mammography is the best screening tool for breast cancer available.
Do mammograms hurt?
Mammograms aren’t painful but can cause discomfort to the patient. Individuals will feel pressure during a mammogram, but typically the breast is only compressed momentarily. Consider scheduling a mammogram a week after a period cycle to minimize breast tenderness.
How long does a mammogram appointment last?
Mammograms vary in time. Please allocate approximately 30 to 40 minutes for a full mammogram appointment from check-in to returning to the parking lot.
How should a patient prepare for a mammogram?
Individuals are asked not to apply deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under their arms or on their breasts, as these can appear on the mammogram as calcium spots. If a patient is experiencing any symptoms or problems related to their breasts before their appointment, they are encouraged to write them down and voice them forward at their appointment.
When is it recommended to get a mammogram?
People should discuss when it is recommended for them to begin having regular mammograms. Many breast health experts recommend annual screenings at age 40 – or possibly earlier for higher-risk patients.
The radiology team members at GRMC are happy to walk patients through the mammogram process during their appointment to make sure they feel comfortable at all stages of the scan. Schedule your annual mammogram today with GRMC by calling (515) 241-6111.
Photo: GRMC Radiology from left to right - Regina Eiben, Gretchen Vandervort, Monica Kellogg, Kathy McNulty, Terri Nath, Jennifer Loftin, LeAnn Avery and Amber Hall.