frequently asked questions about mammograms

Frequently Asked Questions About Mammograms

Why mammograms matter

A mammogram is the best imaging tool that healthcare providers can use to detect early signs of and diagnose breast cancer. Early detection can make all the difference in successful breast cancer treatment.

Getting a mammogram for the first time may cause anxiety, especially if you don’t know what to expect. But scheduling a mammogram is an important and proactive step in taking care of your health. Learning about the process and any potential discomfort you may experience during will definitely help you be more confident going in and maintaining this important part of your health care. 

What is a mammogram?

Mammography is an X-ray breast exam that uses radiation to create images of the breast. These images are called mammograms. Mammography is the most effective screening tool used to find breast cancer in most women. It can find cancers at an early stage, when the chances of survival are highest.

Do mammograms hurt?

Everyone experiences mammograms differently. Some women may feel pain during the procedure, and others may not feel anything at all.

Most women feel some discomfort during the actual X-ray process. The pressure against your breasts from the testing equipment can cause pain or discomfort, and that’s normal.

This part of the process should only last for a few minutes. Still, other women feel extreme pain during the exam. Your pain level may vary with every mammogram you receive depending on:

  • the size of your breasts
  • the timing of the exam in relation to your menstrual cycle
  • the variations in positioning for the mammogram

There are things you should do in order to prepare for your mammogram including wearing comfortable and easy to remove clothing and avoiding applying any deodorant on the day of.

When to schedule a mammogram?

Doctors recommend starting annual breast cancer screenings at age 40 if you are of average risk for the disease. According to the Society for Breast Imaging, breast cancer risk starts increasing around age 40. One in six breast cancers occurs in women between the ages of 40 and 49. A 2014 study found that most women in their 40s who developed breast cancer were not considered at high risk. Ninety percent of patients had no family history of breast cancer, and 86% did not have dense breast tissue, which is also a risk factor for breast cancer. 

Women with higher risk of developing breast cancer can start receiving annual mammograms at age 25. Breast cancer screening guidelines can vary which is why it is important to discuss any questions concerning breast cancer with your primary care physician or gynecology office. 

Where can I get a mammogram?

Since breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer (below skin cancer) in women, mammography screenings are available in multiple healthcare location types including: 

  • Gynecology offices
  • Imaging centers
  • Hospitals

Additional questions or concerns

Everyone involved in your scan wants to give you the best experience possible. At any point before or after your breast cancer exam, do not hesitate to bring up concerns you may have such as cost or discomfort. Whether you’re curious about other types of mammograms such as 3D mammograms, or the likelihood of developing other types of cancers (cervical cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer), it is important to feel comfortable enough with your team to talk about these matters. Screening to find cancer may be intimidating and your team understands that. 

To book a scan, visit us at Medmo helps people schedule radiology imaging tests – such as MRI, CT scans, PET, and more – at nearby accredited centers and identify the payment solution that works best for them.


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