If you are scheduled for your first mammogram process, it helps to know what to expect, and how to prepare.
Breast cancer is the most common cause of cancer death in Hispanic women, and the second most common cause of cancer death among women of other ethnic groups.
Because this test can be so important to your health, and will be a regular part of your life, it pays to make the experience as pleasant as possible.
During the mammogram, your breasts will be placed one at a time between two flat plates and gently compressed. It is kind of strange to see your breast all squished out flat for the first time, but this compression is necessary to get a good view of the breast tissue.
Generally you will stand, and the technician (who is virtually always female) will help you lean in toward the machinery and get in the proper position. The compression process may be slightly uncomfortable, but generally is not painful.
To minimize discomfort, schedule your mammogram for the stage of your menstruation cycle when your breasts are least tender, usually right after your period has begun.
On the day of your mammogram, do not apply any powder, lotion, deodorant, antiperspirant, or make-up to your body between your waist and neck.
Some of these products can contain chemicals which can show up on the mammogram and cause you to need to repeat the test. Plan to take some deodorant or antiperspirant with you to apply after your appointment.
You will be more comfortable if you dress in two-piece clothing so you can undress only from the waist up. You will be given a hospital gown, which you should wear with the opening in the front. You will not be on your feet very long, although comfortable shoes are a bonus any time!
The mammogram process is simple and quick. As long as you dress appropriately, leave off any products which could interfere with the process, and schedule carefully, you will find the process easy and pleasant. And it is well worth the time it takes for the protection it offers.
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