Guidelines for early detection

Women ages 20 to 39 should have a clinical breast exam performed by a trained health care professional every two years, monthly breast self-exams. Discuss your risk for breast cancer with your doctor to decide when to start regular mammograms and clinical breast exams. Learn how to perform monthly breast self-exams by a trained health care professional. Mammograms are the gold standard for detecting breast cancer at its earliest and most treatable stage.

What is a mammogram?

A mammogram is a low-dose x-ray of the breast used to detect breast disease. Using high-contrast, high-resolution film, a mammogram can show changes in the breast up to two years before those changes can be felt. Even if a woman has no complaints or symptoms, a screening mammogram can assist a physician in disease detection.

A mammogram will take approximately 15 minutes. During a mammogram, the breast is squeezed between two plates for a few seconds while the x-ray is taken. x-rays of each breast are made from different angles so the breast tissue can be fully examined. While the breast is being compressed, a patient may experience slight discomfort, but usually not pain. If pain occurs during the mammogram, a patient should tell the technologist.

Patients at 'Ohana also learn how to perform monthly breast self-exams. Our nationally registered female staff maintains sensitivity and concern for patients' privacy and comfort at the forefront of all we do.

Quick Facts

Preparing for your mammogram

  • Do not wear deodorant, talcum powder or lotion under your arms the day of the exam.
  • Describe any symptoms or problems to the technologist before the exam.
  • You will be asked to remove all jewelry and clothing from the waist up, and will be given a loose-fitting gown that opens in the front.
  • Small children must be attended by an adult while patient is receiving diagnostic services.

After your mammogram

A radiologist specially educated in mammography will study your mammograms and send a written report to your doctor. In most cases, your doctor will have the written report within two working days and will inform you of the results of your mammogram. You will also receive written results of your exam.

You may be asked to return to 'Ohana for additional x-rays and/or ultrasound. This does not always mean an abnormality was found. Often the radiologist sees an area that requires additional or special x-rays for a more complete evaluation. If you have any questions, please call your doctor.

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