Getting a Mammogram Video
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Video:Getting a Mammogram

with Dr. Kate Grossman

Regularly-scheduled mammograms can be a crucial first step in detecting and preventing breast cancer in women. Learn what to expect your first time, potential results, and some pre-visit recommendations, straight from a doctor.See Transcript

Transcript:Getting a Mammogram

Hi, I'm Dr. Kate Grossman, for Health.

Your doctor says that it's time for you to get a mammogram. The thought of it makes you a little nervous and you don't know what to expect.

Who Gets a Mammogram?

Millions of mammograms are performed every year. Most of them are on women forty or older to screen for breast cancer. Ninety-percent of the time, the results are normal. When something abnormal is found, nine out of ten times, it is not due to cancer.

Before a Mammogram

Now, on the day of your mammogram, you will be asked to wear a comfortable two-piece outfit.
Make sure NOT to use the following items on or near your breasts:
  • Talcum powder
  • Deodorant
  • Lotion
They can interfere with the study.


You will be asked to undress from the waist up and to put on a gown. You will then be asked to sit in a waiting room until the doctors are ready for you.

A radiology technologist comes in and brings you to the mammography suite. You disrobe and your breast is placed on a special platform. Your breast is slowly compressed with a clear paddle to flatten it. This will be the most uncomfortable part of the test. After several seconds, the x-ray is completed and the pressure is released. The procedure is repeated until each breast is imaged twice from two different angles. The whole process usually takes less than 30 minutes to complete. A radiologist later reviews the images and sends a report to your doctor's office.

After a Mammogram

Afterward, your breasts may feel a little tender but you should be able to return to your normal activities immediately.

Mammogram Results

You should learn the results within a week. It is critically important to make the diagnosis of breast cancer as early as possible. If something abnormal is found, you may be asked to have additional radiology tests or a breast biopsy. If you have breast cancer, a mammogram may be the first step in identifying that cancer and saving your life. But just remember, most mammogram results come back normal. If this is the case, rest assured, you probably won't need another one for a year.

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