What you’re seeing here is an image from a digital mammogram. If you’ve never seen one before it’s hard to know what you’re looking at. That is why we have radiologists trained to find the smallest abnormalities carefully reviewing each image. Even though you may not know what you’re looking at , a mammogram is nothing to be afraid of.
Doctors suggest you have your first mammogram between the ages of 35 and 39. This first mammogram is called a baseline and provides a point of comparison for when you start getting mammograms annually at age 40. When a doctor looks at this image, he or she is looking for any irregularities that might require more comprehensive examination, because no matter how frequently, or thoroughly, you self-examine, there are lumps that can just be too small and hard to find on your own. This is exactly why mammograms are so important, because by getting them and finding any spots early, they can be identified early and treated, if necessary.
A mammogram is taken by placing each breast between two plastic plates, which will flatten the breast to ensure a clearer image. This may be uncomfortable but it should not hurt, and will only take 10 or 15 minutes total – your breasts are compressed for a few minutes each (20 to 30 minutes total if you have breast implants). The size of your breasts does not matter when it comes to discomfort – it’s more about your personal sensitivity. I recommend taking a pain reliever before your mammogram to help.
In the end, having a mammogram is a lot like having your teeth cleaned, or having a flu shot—it may not sound like a lot of fun, but it really is a good idea, and not something you should put off.
Don’t wait: find a St.Vincent mammogram location near you and schedule yours today.