How To Get The Most From Your Mammogram
- Most types of medical insurance, including Medicare, will cover all or most of the cost of your mammogram. If you do not have insurance and cannot afford a mammogram, contact your state health department about low- or no-cost facilities in your area.
- Have your mammogram at a facility that specializes in mammograms or performs many mammograms per day. Ask if the radiologist — the doctor who will examine your mammogram — has special training or interest in mammography.
- Once you find a facility that you like, go back to the same place each time you have a mammogram. This will allow your mammograms to be compared from year to year.
- If you change mammogram facilities, make sure that your old mammograms are transferred to your new location. Having old mammograms available may decrease the likelihood that a biopsy will be recommended unnecessarily.
- If you do not have copies of your old mammograms, bring a list of the dates and locations where you previously had a mammogram, biopsy, etc.
- On the day of your mammogram do not use deodorant, lotion or talcum powder on your breasts or underarms. The tiny crystals found in these products may be confused with worrisome calcium spots, and may increase the likelihood that an unnecessary biopsy will be recommended.
- The best time to have your mammogram is one week after your menstrual period. Try to avoid having your mammogram the week before your period starts, particularly if your breasts are tender.
- Tell the mammogram technician or radiologist if you have recently noted a lump, or are having any symptoms such as breast pain, fluid leaking form the nipples, changes in the breast skin, etc.
- You will usually be notified if the mammogram shows anything abnormal. However, do not assume your mammogram is normal unless you receive a written report from the radiologist or your doctor. If you have not heard anything within 30 days, contact your doctor or the facility that performed the mammogram.