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What to Expect From Your First Mammogram

When going for your first mammogram there a couple things you can expect. A mammogram is an X-ray procedure that can detect breast cancer in its earliest stages, before you — or even a skilled healthcare professional — can feel a lump. Along with a regular breast self examination, a mammogram is one of the most important parts of your personal healthcare routine.

During the test, your breasts will be placed on a flat plate that contains the X-ray film. Another plate is then pressed firmly against your breast to help flatten out the tissue. For a few seconds while the X-ray picture is being taken, you will need to hold your breath. At least two pictures are taken of each breast,one from the top and one from the side. The test only takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

Your test results will be reported as either normal or abnormal. A normal result means that there are no unusual growths,lumps or abnormal tissue detected. An abnormal result means that an abnormal growth, lump or tissue has been detected and needs further evaluation. An abnormal mammogram requires additional tests to determine if cancer is present. However, most abnormalities found during a mammogram are not cancer.

The best defense is education, prevention and early detection with regular mammograms.