Breast Health & Mammograms
Schedule Your Mammogram. Once a Year, Every Year
Breast cancer is a serious health concern for women, and one that best
responds to treatment when caught early. This is why primary care providers
place emphasis on the importance of breast health. Performing regular
breast exams reduces personal stress and helps to ensure that you will
catch breast cancer in the earliest stages.
The first step in maintaining breast health is becoming more familiar with
your breasts so that you can identify abnormalities should they arise.
You should perform a thorough self-exam once a month in which you check
for abnormal lumps or discolorations. This process can be frustrating
at first as it’s difficult to know what kinds of things might be
“odd” for your breasts. By performing this exam on a regular
basis, you will soon learn what is “normal” for your breasts
and have an easier time identifying what kind of chances warrant a trip
to the doctor.
The Importance of Annual Mammograms
The self-breast exam is important for recognizing the more notable signs
of changes in the breast, but your annual mammogram serves as a vital
test for identifying abnormalities inside and out. A mammogram is an x-ray
of the breast that can find calcifications, tumors, and other abnormalities
embedded in the soft tissue.
What to expect during a mammogram:
- You will need to be disrobed from the waist up, but we will provide a wrap
to wear that will not interfere with the test.
- You will be alone with the person performing the mammogram unless you request
the presence of another person.
- Your breast will be flattened between two metal plates to compress the
breast tissue for the x-ray. This only lasts for a few seconds to a couple minutes.
- Some discomfort is expected, but you should speak up if you are in pain.
- If you have breast implants or dense breast tissue, extra x-rays may be
- Your physician will contact you to discuss the results once the tests have
If someone in your family has breast cancer, then you are at an increased
risk of developing it yourself. Receiving an annual mammogram and staying
informed on the current condition of your breasts can help you reduce
stress and remain prepared for the future.