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reviewed 7/29/2018

Steps to a successful mammogram

When breast cancer is detected before it spreads, the average 5-year survival rate is 99 percent.

Mammograms

Tips to ensure an easy, accurate exam

Steps to success

Regular screening tests are a great way to find breast cancer in its early stages, when it's usually easier to treat.

Plan:

Schedule your mammogram for the week after your period, when your breasts are less likely to be swollen and tender. If you have implants, tell the facility when you make the appointment.

Call:

Arrange for any previous mammograms to be sent for comparison. Or get copies to bring with you.

Prepare:

Don't use deodorant, powders, lotions or perfumes on your chest or arms. These products can show up as white spots on your mammogram, making an accurate reading more difficult.

Dress:

Wear a blouse—with pants or a skirt—rather than a dress. That way, you'll only need to undress from the waist up.

Avoid:

Don't wear necklaces or other jewelry on your neck or chest (you'll have to take this jewelry off during your exam anyway).

Discuss:

Tell the technologist about any concerns you've had about your breasts.

Ask:

Find out when and how you'll be notified of the results of your mammogram.

Take action:

Women age 45 or older should get regular mammograms, according to the American Cancer Society. Women with a high risk of breast cancer should start screening earlier.

Review your risk for breast cancer with doctor, and find out if it's time for you to schedule a mammogram.

Sources: American Cancer Society; RadiologyInfo.org

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