Mammograms are an incredibly useful diagnostic and screening tool for doctors who are working with women in ensuring good reproductive health. This screening is best used to look for the signs of breast cancer. With an early diagnosis of breast cancer, many women will see an improved prognosis. Mammograms are just one of many steps in learning if a patient has breast cancer.
What happens during a mammogram appointment?
During a mammogram, the woman stands in front of the mammography unit. The technologist will uncover the breast and place is on a plastic, clear plate on the mammography device. Then, another plate will lower downward until it presses the breast in-between. During this time, images are taken of the breast from the front and side. While women experience some discomfort, it is fast and tolerable for many of our patients. Patients who have tender breasts due to their menstrual cycle may experience more discomfort, but can reschedule their appointment for the week following during a time when the procedure will be more comfortable.
What other diagnostic tools may be used alongside a mammogram?
Other options may include Breast MRI (breast magnetic resonance imaging) and breast ultrasound. Breast MRIs are often done for women who have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, providing 3D images of the breast for better diagnostics. A breast ultrasound is often used for women who have abnormalities or lumps that were detected during a breast self-examination, a clinic breast examination, or a previous mammogram. A sonogram is produced which allows for real-time imaging and diagnostics.
How often should I get a mammogram?
We highly recommend a patient gets their first mammogram starting at age 40 and have them annually. Patients who are younger and have felt lumps during self-examination or are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer due to previous cancer or genetics may need to have a mammogram performed before the age of 40.
Are you due for your first mammogram?
If you are worried about undergoing your first mammogram, it helps to work with a team who provides gentle treatment and educates patients about what to expect. Dr. Craig Ranch is pleased to help women in the area of McKinney, Texas feel comfortable and at ease during this routine screening procedure. Call (214) 544-6600 to request a consultation appointment to determine if you are in need of a mammogram.