What is a Mammogram?
Is Breast Screening important?
What can I expect?
How long will it take?
How can I prepare for a mammogram?
A mammogram is an imaging screening test that uses x-rays to display an internal look at breast structure. Insight Diagnostic Imaging provides diagnostic mammograms for women to detect breats cancer in its earliest stages, before a lump can be felt as well as for women who have some symptoms already.
Mammography is the only technique proven to be safe and effective in screening for breast cancer, and mammography equipment is the only imaging technique licensed by Health Canada for breast cancer screening.
The purpose of mammography is to screen for breast cancer in the breast tissue and in the surrounding areas of the breast. Routine breast self-examination still remains important for women to detect changes in their breast tissue but mammography can show changes in the breast long before they are noticeable to the eye or are able to be detected through a physical examination. When breast cancer is detected early through mammogram screening, there are more treatment options and statistically higher recovery rates.
About 11% of Canadian women will get breast cancer at one point in their lives, so it’s important for all maturing Canadian women to go for mammograms. Regular mammograms are recommended for all women over 40 years of age and for younger women with a family history of breast cancer.
If you are 50 or older, you can contact Insight Diagnostic Imaging anytime to make an appointment for a mammogram. You do not require a doctor's referral. It is highly recommended that all women 50 and over go for breast screening every two years.
What can I expect?
A mammographer will place your breast on an image plate which contains the film. They will then compress your breast with a paddle to spread out the breast tissue. This ensures a better image, and can be uncomfortable for patients. At least two different views of each breast will be taken.
Patients will be asked to undress from the waist up so it is best to wear something that slips off easily. Patients are asked not to wear deodorant, lotion or powder as it may appear on the image.
Mammograms normally take about 30 minutes.
It is best not to use deodorant or body powder containing talc before having a mammogram otherwise you may be asked to wash your underarms and breasts.
Since you will be undressing above the waist for the examination, it is best to wear clothing that can be removed easily, preferably as a two-piece outfit such as a blouse and pants or a skirt.
At the time of the appointment, the nurse exminer will describe the mammography procedure and answer any further questions.
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