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7 ways to get a better mammogram

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7 Ways to a Better Mammogram

  • One in every eight U.S. women will develop breast cancer.

  • The average survival rate is 24 years for more than 90 percent of patients, if found early.*

  • A mammogram detects tumors in the earliest stages.

“Screening mammograms are the only way we have proven to decrease death from breast cancer; they save lives," said Onalisa Winblad, MD, director of breast imaging. "Mammograms allow us to find breast cancers when they are small and treatable."

Annual screening is essential

  1. Get your mammogram here!
    Where you get your mammogram matters. We find early-stage breast cancer at double the national standard.

  2. Schedule at the same time each year.
    Getting your mammogram on or near the same date annually helps ensure you don’t let a year – or two, or three – slip by without making an appointment. 

  3. Provide previous mammograms from other facilities.
    By comparing the new images with previous ones, the radiologist can detect subtle changes in breast tissue, which ensures the most accurate interpretation. You’ll also receive your mammogram results more quickly.

  4. Choose a facility with 3D mammography (tomosynthesis).
    3D mammography provides 70-100 views of each breast, whereas conventional mammography provides only two. More accurate images means a more accurate diagnosis.

  5. Shower, yes, deodorant, no.
    Bathe or shower before your appointment to remove deodorant particles that could be mistaken for early breast cancer. Don’t reapply deodorant until after your mammogram.

  6. Alert the technologist to any abnormalities you’ve noticed.
    Let your mammographer know of any changes or abnormalities you’ve felt during breast self-exams.

  7. Ask the technologist if you have dense breast tissue.
    A dense breast has more connective tissue than fat, which increases your risk of breast cancer. It can reduce the accuracy of a mammogram. An ultrasound breast screening may be recommended to supplement your mammogram.

"Far too many women still don’t schedule regular mammograms," Dr. Winblad said, "And breast cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer death in women."

*The earliest stages are when the tumor is still quite small with no spread to lymph nodes.