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Top Mammogram Questions Answered

Top Mammogram Questions AnsweredMammograms are used to check for breast cancer in women who show no signs of having it. This is a screening mammogram that involves the use of two X-rays or images.

How Sore Will I Be After a Mammogram?

Most women don’t experience pain but will feel slightly tender and sore in areas on the breast after the procedure. Your soreness level depends on how the machine was positioned, your natural pain tolerance, and the shape of your breasts.

Types of Mammograms

Types of MammogramsAll mammograms are X-rays that use a small dose of radioactive particles to examine the innermost part of the mammary gland or breast.

The most common types of mammograms include:

  • 2D Mammogram: a traditional mammogram that produces two-dimensional X-ray images.
  • 3D Mammogram: uses multiple breast X-rays to create a three-dimensional picture of the breast.
  • Screen-film mammography: X-rays move through the breast to a cassette containing a screen and film.
  • Digital mammography: The X-ray film used in screen-film mammography is now used in a digital format.

Mammograms can be used to either screen or diagnose a patient for cancer.

A screening mammogram is used initially to check for breast changes.

A diagnostic mammogram investigates suspicious changes to the breast tissue, including any lumps, painful spots, or nipple discharge. It’s used to analyze any findings made during the initial screening mammogram. The diagnostic mammogram is more detailed since it is meant to find a diagnosis.

What Types of Mammograms Don’t Squish Your Breast?

Dont Squish Your BreastThermography uses infrared light heat to show the breast rather than radiation. Therefore, it doesn’t squeeze the breast as much because it doesn’t use the same equipment.

Should I Shave Before a Mammogram?

You can shave your armpits before getting a mammogram. If the armpit hair is too long or hanging slightly over the chest, it could interfere with the mammogram screening. 

What Should I Eat Before a Mammogram?

You can eat, drink, and take medications before a mammogram. These will not interfere with your readings.

Tips to Calm Down Before a Mammogram

You can try traditional calming techniques like deep, belly-based breathing, mindfulness meditations, or visualizing yourself within a safe, tranquil environment.

Digital Mammogram vs Regular: Differences Explained

The difference is in how the images are stored. Traditional mammograms rely on laminated sheets of printed film, whereas digital mammography saves the image on a computer.

Which Mammogram is Less Painful?

3D mammograms are considered less painful because they don’t require much additional imaging. Their accuracy is higher, which means there is a lower chance of callbacks. Thermography is the least painful option, but it’s far less accurate.

Which Mammogram is Most Accurate?

3D digital mammograms offer the highest level of accuracy because the mammary gland can be seen from multiple angles with detailed precision.

Are There Alternative Tests to Mammograms?

Thermography tests use touchless technology that doesn’t involve squeezing the breast muscles. It’s a more cost-effective procedure that uses infrared light to show heat instead of radiation. However, thermography is less accurate than mammography at detecting early cancer development. Some studies have shown it to indicate false positives in 56% of patients.

Other tests, such as bone scans, CT scans, or PET scans, are done to determine whether or not cancer has spread through the body. These aren’t direct alternatives to mammogram tests.

What Mammogram is Better for Dense Breasts?

Dense breasts can make for difficult image readings. However, 3D mammograms are widely considered the best choice for dense breast tissue.

Can I Wear a Bra Before Getting a Mammogram?

You can wear a bra before getting a mammogram. However, it’s advised that you wear a two-piece outfit to keep your bottoms on during this procedure.

How Long Do Mammograms Take?

The average length is 30 to 45 minutes.

What Interferes with a Mammogram?

Powders, oils, creams, perfumes, and lotions applied to the breasts can interfere with the test results, showing up as white spots during the reading.

Even if these substances are on your armpits, they could get on the breasts. To be safe, avoid wearing any of these on the day of your appointment.

How do I prepare for a Mammogram?

The prep is simple.

  • Wear the right clothing: no one-piece outfits.
  • Avoid putting on any creams or oils on or near the breasts before the procedure.
  • Don’t apply any substances to your breasts before the appointment.
  • Schedule your mammogram when your breasts aren’t swollen or tender.
  • Communicate recent changes or issues with your breasts to your healthcare provider before the X-ray.
  • Be certain that your healthcare provider is aware of anything in your medical history that might increase your risk of breast cancer.

Final Mammogram Tip: Don’t Stress About It

Don’t be too concerned about your mammogram. The overwhelming majority of mammogram tests come back negative. While uncomfortable at times, it’s not painful.

Schedule Your Breast Cancer Screening at Northland Women’s Health Care

Schedule Your MammogramYou can trust that you’re in good hands with our team of experienced healthcare providers ready and willing to help you with your health needs. Contact a member of our staff today to schedule your first appointment. We can answer any questions you have about billing and our services.

Northland Women's Health Care, P.C.
8600 NE 82nd St. •  Kansas City, MO 64158  •  Phone: 816-741-9122  •  Fax: 816-741-9665