What To Expect At Your First Mammography Appointment
Most experts recommend that women between the ages of 40 and 44 be given the choice to start regular mammogram appointments. This choice should be based on family history and other risk factors. Women who have reached the age of 45 should get yearly mammograms, especially if they have a personal or family history of breast cancer. Getting a mammogram can be stressful and cause great fear and anxiety in the patient. This is exacerbated when a woman goes for a mammogram for the first time. You likely are already worried about the outcome of the test, and to add to your stress, you have no idea what to expect at the appointment. Generally, a mammogram appointment follows a set routine.
Preparation for a mammogram is simple. You will likely have no dietary restrictions or instructions for fasting. Once you arrive, a staff member will take you to a secure dressing room so you can undress from the waist up and put on a gown. You will then be taken to the mammography room for your mammogram.
During the mammogram, you will be in a large room with the mammography equipment and a technician that is charged with obtaining images of your breasts. While you may be slightly embarrassed about being topless in front of a stranger, it is important to remember that this person sees dozens of disrobed patients each day, so they aren't judging the size or shape of your body. They are concerned only with getting good images so your doctor can identify any potential problems or health concerns. The technician will position you and reposition you and then take the images. After you are done, you will be led back to your dressing room to get dressed again.
After the Mammogram
At this point, you will have a meeting with your doctor to discuss the findings of your mammogram. If everything is clear, you will be given instructions about when to come back for another routine mammogram (generally once per year). If there are issues, your doctor will explain findings and instruct you on the next steps. It is important to act quickly for the best chance at heading off any issues and preserving your health. Always follow your doctor's instructions, and seek emotional support if you need to do so, as the emotional aspect can be more difficult to handle than the physical in some cases.
Doctors, nurses and support staff at mammography centers and breast care facilities are generally very caring and compassionate. These people will do the best they can to help you stay calm and have a successful mammogram that causes you as little stress as possible. If you have questions or need any type of assistance, don't hesitate to ask the staff. The nurses and technicians will be willing to help you with whatever you need. If you need services after the appointment, the staff will also help you determine where to go and assist you in making appointments. A mammogram is stressful, but it doesn't have to be a devastating experience. Click here for more information.