When it comes to breast health, early detection is the best prevention. Women should have regular mammograms beginning at age 40, or sooner if recommended by their health care provider. UnityPoint Health – Marshalltown uses 3D mammography to screen for and diagnose breast health issues.
What to Expect During Your Mammogram
A mammogram is a X-ray picture of the breast used to detect tumors and cysts and help differentiate benign and malignant diseases. It's an important screening tool in a woman's personal fight against breast cancer. During your mammogram, your breast will be placed on a flat surface by the mammographer. A compression paddle will then be pressed firmly against the breast to flatten out the tissue. It may be uncomfortable but should not be painful. The screening should take about 15 minutes to complete.
Preparing for Your Mammogram
In order to prepare for your mammogram, please don't wear any deodorant, powders, ointments or perfumes under the arms or on your breasts. These items may cause issues in the images.
Frequently Asked Questions
What's the advantage to getting a mammogram?
A mammogram is used to detect breast cancer in the earliest stage when it is most treatable, and mammograms can find breast cancer tumors up to two years before they can be felt during a physical exam.
Why is early detection important?
It saves lives. Most mammograms results are negative (disease-free). Even if a lump is found, eight out of 10 are NOT cancer. When cancer is detected, the survival rate is near 100% for individuals whose tumors are detected and treated early (when they are less than 1 centimeter in size).
Who should get a mammogram?
All women should perform a self-exam every month. Between ages 29-40, you should also have a breast exam by a health care professional every 3 years. Beginning at age 40, the American Cancer Society recommends you get a mammogram and a medical breast exam every year. If you have a family history of breast cancer, please talk to your doctor about when and how often you should get a mammogram.
Why is compression important?
Proper compression makes it easier to identify cancers that would not be seen otherwise. It is vital to get a clear x-ray picture of the entire breast. Compression also reduces the amount of radiation to your breast and the rest of your body.
How will the results be shared?
A radiologist, a physician who specializes in reading x-ray exams, will read your mammogram. Results will be sent to you and your doctor. In most cases, results will be available in 24 to 48 hours.