October’s Women’s Health Blog Series – Part Two
Studies have shown that mammography has helped reduced breast cancer mortality in the United States. Yet, many women lead a busy life and can’t find the time needed to schedule and get a mammogram. It’s a barrier that’s keeping countless women from receiving the preventive care they need to protect their health and their future.
Sauk Prairie Healthcare has been addressing the issue for the last year by offering Walk-In Wednesdays, where you can receive your annual screening mammogram with no appointment. The convenience and flexibility of Walk-In Wednesdays has already made it possible for more than 100 women to receive a mammogram in the last six months.
For others, fear and misconceptions prevent them from getting screened. Sauk Prairie Healthcare Mammography Coordinator, Rhonda Orozco, helps shine a light on common myths and addresses the questions and concerns she hears from patients each day.
Does a mammogram hurt?
Orozco: It may be uncomfortable, but it should not be painful. If it does hurt, be sure to let the technician know so that they can make adjustments.
Is a mammogram more uncomfortable if I have smaller breasts?
Orozco: Breast size does not matter and should not affect the mammogram.
Can I still receive a mammogram if I have breast implants?
Orozco: Yes! We start with the standard four views using slight compression and then we shift the implant in all four views and compress just the breast tissue.
What are the current recommendations for mammography?
Orozco: Not all organizations agree on mammography guidelines. For instance, The American Cancer Society, The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and other organizations recommend women begin annual screening at age 40. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends women begin screening at age 50 and repeat every two years.
We encourage you to discuss your options with your doctor so that you can decide together what is best for you.
Do I need to do anything to prepare for my mammogram?
Orozco: There are several things you can do to be sure the process runs smoothly. Try to avoid scheduling your mammogram during the week before your menstrual cycle. Your breasts are more tender during this time and the picture isn’t always as clear. If you have breast implants, be sure to note that when scheduling the appointment. Avoid wearing a dress so that you can undress from the waist up and don’t wear any deodorant, perfume, lotion or powder the day of your appointment since they can create shadows on the mammogram.
When will I get the results of my mammogram?
Orozco: If the mammogram is normal, you will receive a letter in the mail notifying you of that. If the radiologist sees a change or abnormality in your mammogram and wants to have additional views, then you will receive a phone call within 48 hours.
Don’t let anything keep you from getting the preventive care you need to stay healthy. If you have questions or concerns regarding your breast health, schedule an appointment to talk with your doctor. If you’re due for a routine screening mammogram and can’t find time to make an appointment, visit Sauk Prairie Hospital for Walk-In Wednesdays where you can receive your annual screening mammogram with no appointment.
To comply with most health insurance requirements, you must bring your health insurance card and know the name of your primary care doctor and the facility where you received your last mammogram. Walk-In Wednesdays are only available for screening mammograms and it must be at least 12 months from your previous screening. If your doctor has referred you for a mammogram due to specific concerns regarding your breast health, please make an appointment by calling (608) 643-7274.