Getting a yearly screening mammogram is one of the most important things a woman over the age of 40 can do for her health. Despite their importance, there are all sorts of misconceptions and misinformation regarding mammograms that make it difficult to know when's the right time to schedule your screening. Dr. Ermelinda Bonaccio, Clinical Chief of Breast Imaging at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, sat down to answer some commonly asked questions and clear up popular misconceptions.
Can I get a mammogram if I'm under 40?
Roswell Park recommends that women at average risk for breast cancer began having a mammogram at age 40 and have one performed every year after that.
Women who are at higher risk for breast cancer due to a strong family history of breast cancer or prior history of a breast biopsy showing an atypia should speak to their doctor about beginning screening at an earlier age.
Can I get a mammogram if I have breast implants?
If you have implants, you can and should get a screening mammogram every year. The recommendations are the same.
The mammogram is a little bit different for women with breast implants. One set of images will be taken where the implant is viewable and another set where the technologist displaces the implant back and only views the breast tissue in front of the implant.
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Can I get a mammogram if I'm pregnant?
It's not recommended that a woman receive a mammogram while she's pregnant. Occasionally, if a pregnant woman finds a lump in her breast and its cause cannot be determined with just an ultrasound, she may receive a specialized mammogram with limited views.
Can I get a mammogram if I'm breastfeeding?
A woman can have a mammogram when she's breastfeeding, as this test does not interfere with the ability to breastfeed later in the day. However, breastfeeding does increase a woman's breast density, which can limit the sensitivity of the mammogram. So if a woman knows she's going stop breastfeeding within a few months from the time she is planning to have a mammogram, it's recommended that she just wait until after she's stopped breastfeeding so the mammogram can be more sensitive to finding cancers.
Can I get a mammogram if I having my period?
Having your period has no impact on the effectiveness of a mammogram. Sometimes a woman's breasts may be more tender during her period. If that's the case, then you may want to reschedule your appointment for a different date.
Can you wear deodorant or drink caffeine before your screening mammogram? Find answers to these questions and more in the video above and visit roswellpark.org/womenshealth to schedule your mammogram today!