You're Approaching the Big 40! 4 Things You Need to Know About Mammograms

If you're a woman and you just turned 40, it's time to start having yearly mammograms. If you've been dreading this, you shouldn't be. Mammograms are a simple procedure that can be performed in just a matter of minutes. Before you schedule your first mammogram, here are four things you should know about the procedure.

They Can Save Your Life

Mammograms can save your life. You might have heard this before, but it bears repeating. According to research, 1 in 6 breast cancer cases occur in women between the ages of 40 and 49. The same research shows that mammograms have helped reduce breast cancer mortality by one third. If you're about to turn 40, now's the time to have your first mammogram.

They're Not Painful

You might have heard horror stories about mammograms being painful, but they're not. During the procedure, you'll stand in front of the mammography machine while the technician positions each of your breasts one at a time. Your breasts will be firmly squeezed between two mechanical plates. Squeezing your breasts as flat as they can go allows the radiologist to get a clear picture of your breast tissue. This is particularly important if you have dense breast tissue or are overweight. While the procedure is mildly uncomfortable, it's not painful.

They Should Be Digital

When you schedule your mammogram, ask the breast center if they use digital mammography equipment. Digital equipment provides a much clearer view of your breast tissue. Digital mammograms also provide your doctor with a computerized image of your test, which will allow them to zoom in on areas that require a closer look and reduce the need to repeat the test.

They Need a Clean Surface

When you're getting ready to leave for your mammogram, you'll need to avoid wearing deodorant, body lotion, perfume, or powder. These substances can interfere with the clarity of your mammogram and make it difficult for the radiologist to see your breast tissue clearly. For best results, shower with soap and water, but wait until after the procedure to apply lotion and deodorant.

If you're approaching your 40th birthday, it's time to start planning for your first mammogram. Your first mammogram will be used as a baseline for all other mammograms. The information provided here will help you prepare for the procedure. If you have further questions or concerns about your mammogram, be sure to speak to your doctor or a healthcare provider such as Women's Care Inc