Your First Mammogram: what to expect

A mammogram is one of the most effective ways of detecting breast cancer as early as possible. However, it can be a nerve-racking experience – no matter if it’s your first, second or third mammogram – it might muster a raft of emotions. Knowing what to expect is one way to ease stress and move through the process smoothly.

Why a mammogram?

A mammogram is still the best procedure for detecting small lumps that can’t be felt by hand. It uses low-dose x-rays to create images of the breast tissue to reveal any abnormalities or problem areas.

What age should I start getting mammograms?

At Mercy Breast Clinic, we recommend that women aged 40-50 get a mammogram every year and women over 50, every second year. If you have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, speak to us about when you should start having regular mammograms.

What happens during the mammogram procedure?

Firstly, we’ll ask you to undress above the waist and provide you with a wrap to put on. Next, one of our specialists will ready the machine’s plates and position your breasts up onto the plates.

The upper plate will then be lowered, compressing your breasts for a short period of time while our specialist takes x-ray pictures. You may feel slight discomfort when your breasts are flattened between the plates – if it becomes too unbearable please tell us.

The entire procedure will take approximately 20minutes – with the actual breast compression lasting only a few minutes. We’ll have results ready to discuss with you immediately after your mammogram.

What should I do or tell the specialist before my mammogram?

Many women schedule their mammograms around their period cycle. The days leading up to your period, or during your flow, can make your breasts more tender.

If you are experiencing or have experienced any breast changes or problems please talk to us about these before your mammogram. It’s also important that you inform us about any medical history that could affect your breast cancer risk—such as breast cancer in your family or hormone risk, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Watch Jackie Clark visit us for a mammogram with Monty Betham


Call us on 09 623 0347 or fill out the online-form and one of our team will get in touch with you to arrange an appointment

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