One in eight women will develop an invasive breast cancer in her lifetime. Early detection through self exams and mammograms is key, and there are many places in Washington, D.C. to get a mammogram. These are useful for preventive screenings, as well as evaluating any lumps or abnormalities detected during a self-breast exam.
When Should I Get a Mammogram?
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, average risk women should adhere to the following guidelines for screening:
Summary of ACOG’s Recommendations for Screening Mammography
- Women at average risk of breast cancer should be offered screening mammography starting at age 40. If they have not initiated screening in their 40s, they should begin screening mammography by no later than age 50. The decision about the age to begin mammography screening should be made through a shared decision-making process. This discussion should include information about the potential benefits and harms.
- Women with average risk of breast cancer should have screening mammography every one or two years based on an informed, shared decision-making process that includes a discussion of the benefits and harms of annual and biennial screening and incorporates patient values and preferences.
- Women at average risk of breast cancer should continue screening mammography until at least 75 years.Beyond age 75 years, the decision to discontinue screening mammography should be based on a shared decision-making process informed by the woman’s health status and longevity.
If your family has a history of breast cancer or evidence gene mutations that increase lifetime risk for breast cancer, then you should speak with your doctor about earlier or more regular screenings.
What Should I Expect During My Mammogram?
It’s recommended to avoid any lotions, deodorants, perfumes or powders on your skin as you prepare for your mammogram. This might show up in the results or make them harder to read. Wear a shirt that is easy to remove, as you will undress from the waist up. The technician might put stickers on your nipples and any beauty marks to help identify them in the results.
Mammograms last about 15 minutes. During the procedure, the technician will take X-rays of each breast by pressing them between two plates. They will take X-rays of two different views of each breast. The pressure can be uncomfortable but will only last a few seconds. Let your technician know if you are uncomfortable.
When Will I Get the Results From My Mammogram?
Your technician will discuss when you will get your results. Some facilitates provide immediate results, but the average time is two weeks. If you do not hear in that window, call your care provider and request your results.
Any More Questions or Concerns?
Call Bloom Ob/Gyn at 202-449-9570 or contact us to set up an appointment with one of our providers.