Are you worried about an upcoming mammogram screening? Have you received an appointment but don’t really understand what is involved? You may even feel unsure about a clear or unclear result. Well here are a few pointers as to what usually happens during and after a mammogram screening.
Breast screening uses an X-ray test called a mammogram to check the breast for signs of cancer. It can spot cancers that are too small to see or feel.
What will happen if I choose to have breast screening?
When you arrive at the breast screening unit, the staff will check your details and ask you about any breast problems you have had. If you have any questions the it always good to ask them before you have the mammogram screening as the mammographer will help to settle any nerves and put your mind at ease. When you go into the room for your mammogram, you need to undress to the waist. So it may be easier to wear a skirt or trousers instead of a dress. The mammographer will first explain what will happen. She will then place your breast onto the mammogram machine and lower a plastic plate onto it to flatten it. This helps to keep your breast still and get clear X-rays. The mammographer will usually take two X-rays of each breast, one from above and one from the side. She will go behind a screen while the X-rays are taken. You have to keep still for several seconds each time. It may seem overwhelming but the whole appointment takes less than half an hour and the mammogram screening itself will only takes a few minutes.
If the results aren’t clear.
If the x-ray isn’t clear enough or shows any abnormal areas, the clinic staff will call you back for more tests. You might need to have the x-rays taken again.
What if you are called back
Around 7 out of 100 women are called back after their first screening test. If this happens, you might feel very worried. But many of these women won’t have cancer. Around 3 out of 100 women are called back after further screening tests. If you are called back because your mammogram showed an abnormal area, you might have to have a magnified mammogram. This can show up particular areas of the breasts more clearly. These mammograms show the borders of any lump or thickened area. You might also have an ultrasound scan of the breast or tests to take a sample of cells from the abnormal area.
What if my results are clear?
When you get your results and they have come back clear then you can give and big sigh of relief. Having an annual mammogram screening is highly recommended as your breasts can change regularly, having an appointment each year can help to get an early detection of breast cancer or it csn continue to give to you peace of mind that everything is continuing to go on as normal.