What to expect during your mammogram

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Mammograms can be stressful and even a bit scary. However, mammograms are an important step in the early detection of breast cancer and other diseases of the breast because the images can show changes in the breast up to two years before you or your physician can feel them. Knowing what to expect during your mammogram can help relieve some of the stress and help the process go more smoothly. Read on to learn what to expect at Demashkieh Women’s Wellness Place.

A mammogram is an X-ray that is used to check for changes in the breast. Women who have no clinical concerns with their breast health are scheduled for a screening mammogram. A screening mammogram appointment lasts about 20 minutes, and a physician’s order is needed. During a screening mammogram, at least two images are taken of each breast. It is recommended that women who are at average risk of breast cancer should begin screening mammograms annually, starting at age 40.

A radiologist will review the images from a screening mammogram the next business day. He or she is looking for anything new or any changes that may have occurred since the last mammogram. If there are no significant changes or nothing new in the images, the patient will receive a letter from Demashkieh Women’s Wellness Place letting them know the mammogram was normal.

After a screening mammogram, the radiologist may request additional images. If this is the case, the patient will be called within five days of the screening mammogram to schedule this 45-minute appointment. The radiologist will review the images and the patient will be given results at the time of the appointment. A physician’s order is not needed for a call back appointment.

If a woman has a breast health concern, she is scheduled for a diagnostic mammogram. During these 40-minute appointments, the patient receives a clinical breast exam by a registered nurse, and images are taken of the area of concern. The images are reviewed by a radiologist during the appointment and the patient is given the radiologist’s recommendation before leaving. 

Breast changes are common throughout a woman’s life, so it is important to see your physician regularly and schedule any breast exams or procedures that are recommended. 

During the month of October, Demashkieh Women’s Wellness Place at McLaren Port Huron is providing free screening mammograms for women who are without insurance, whether you have never had a mammogram or need an annual screening mammogram. An order from your physician is required before making an appointment. A limited number of appointments are available throughout October. To make an appointment or for more information, call 810-985-2663. 

This program is presented free of charge through the support of Demashkieh Women’s Wellness Place, the Donna M. Niester Breast Cancer Fund, the Northgate Ford Free Mammogram Fund and X-Ray Associates of Port Huron.