It’s also important to perform regular checks yourself throughout the year. Once you have a clear idea of what the tissue normally feels like, detecting any lumps or abnormalities that may indicate cancer becomes easier.
If you notice anything abnormal or you are over a certain age, then your provider may recommend making a mammography appointment.
What Is a Mammogram?
A mammogram is an X-ray screening most commonly used to detect signs of breast cancer. The main goals of a mammogram screening are:
- To check for breast cancer in women who do not have signs or symptoms.
- To check and diagnose any lumps or other symptoms found.
This screening is done via mammography, which uses X-ray technology to take pictures of breast tissue. The resulting images, called mammograms, help your provider classify and score the tissue.
What Is a Breast Ultrasound?
Most often administered in combination with a 2D or 3D mammogram, we also offer breast ultrasound imaging. This option allows closer examination of lumps or other abnormalities to determine the likelihood of cancer.
It is also commonly recommended for women with dense breast tissue, which could make follow-up diagnosis more difficult under traditional methods alone.
What Happens During a Mammography Screening?
During your screening, your breasts will be flattened between plastic plates so that your trained mammography technician can capture 2D or 3D images, depending on the specific procedure.
On the day of your mammogram, it’s important to avoid wearing powders, lotions, and deodorants, as these substances may appear on the X-ray and affect the results. Also, make sure not to schedule a mammogram sooner than six weeks after receiving a vaccine. Vaccine side effects may include swollen lymph nodes in the armpit that can be confused with signs of breast cancer on a mammogram.
Are Mammogram Screenings Painful or Uncomfortable?
A mammogram screening is a routine procedure that all women will experience at some point in their lives. It’s completely normal to feel a bit nervous or uncomfortable during the screening. You may also experience slight discomfort from the pressure of the plates and some tenderness after the screening. However, it shouldn’t be painful.
Your provider is dedicated to ensuring you feel as comfortable as possible, so let them know ahead of time if you have any questions or concerns they can help with.
When Should I Schedule a Mammography Screening?
You will discuss with your provider the recommended frequency of mammography based on your age, medical history, and family history.
However, if you’re at high risk for breast cancer, it is recommended that you begin screenings around age 30. Screenings should routinely occur until at least age 75.
How Do I Know if I Have a High Risk for Breast Cancer?
You may be at a higher risk for breast cancer, if you have:
- A family history of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, or other inherited types of cancer
- BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations
- A history of chest radiation treatments at a young age
- A history of high-risk breast biopsy results
Your Square Care Medical Group provider will take a complete health history during your first annual well-woman visit. If you’re already a patient, then your provider will have a clear understanding of your breast cancer risk and can offer guidance as to when you should begin routine screenings.
Schedule an Appointment for a Mammography Screening
Mammography screenings are an essential tool for identifying and diagnosing breast cancer early. If you are due for this routine screening or notice any abnormal breast tissue, contact your women’s healthcare provider at Square Care Medical Group to schedule an appointment.