Quad Cities, IL/IA

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Preparing for Your Mammogram


Submitted by Genesis Imaging Centers

Every October, communities across the country spread awareness of breast cancer, supporting the survivors and those battling the disease. We also focus on proactive and preventive care, like screening mammograms, and the role this crucial imaging exam has in the diagnosis of breast cancer.

Why many chose 3D mammography

Mammography has long been the gold standard for detecting breast cancer, and with advancements in medical technology, 3D mammography can detect up to 41 percent more invasive breast cancers. At the Genesis Imaging Centers, 3D mammography is the standard line of care we provide to our patients.

How does 3D mammography work? Think of it like this: 3D mammograms capture multiple images of the breast from various angles to create a three-dimensional picture of the breast. A radiologist is able to review your breast, one thin slice at a time, almost like turning the pages in a book, which allows them to make a more accurate diagnosis. With traditional 2D mammography, doctors can only see the “front cover” of the book, viewing all of the complexities of your breast tissue in a flat image.

Preparing for your mammogram
Whether this is your first mammogram or you have had several in the past, here are a few tips to help you prepare for your exam.

  • Schedule your first mammogram when you turn 40. We recommend women begin having annual mammograms at age 40 for early detection of lumps or spots. If you have not had a conversation with your primary care doctor about your breast health, consider discussing your potential risk and ways to be proactive with your care.
  • Make your appointment at a time when your breasts are not likely to be sore. Typically, this is a week after your menstrual cycle.
  • Do not wear deodorant, powder, cream or ointment on or under your breast or under your arms the day of your test. These substances can appear as white specks on the images, which mimic abnormal areas and can lead to unnecessary evaluation.
  • Wear a skirt or pants. This will make it easier to undress from the waist up for your exam.
  • Share any changes or problems with your breasts with your healthcare provider prior to getting a mammogram. Remember, changes in your breast health can happen at any time. Do not hesitate to contact your healthcare provider if you notice any changes, even if you had a recent mammogram.

What to expect at your mammogram appointment

At your appointment, you will undress above the waist, and the technologist will provide you with a wrap to wear. At the Genesis Imaging Centers, our technologists will discuss any changes in your health history since your last mammogram. During the exam, the technologist will position your breast onto the exam surface of the machine. The breast is compressed and the x-rays are taken. The compression lasts for about 20 to 30 seconds and may cause discomfort, but it is important to ensure the technologist captures a clear view of the breast.

After the exam, a radiologist reviews the images, and the results are sent to your primary care physician. You will also receive a copy of the results in the mail. When receiving your mammogram at the Genesis Imaging Centers, we make sure to notify you directly, as well as contact your physician, if additional evaluation is necessary after your mammogram.

Be proactive about your health — schedule your mammogram today!
It is important to have a mammogram each year to monitor and catch any small changes that may appear. If it has been a year since your last mammogram, you can schedule your screening mammogram without a physician’s order. To schedule an appointment, call 563-421-XRAY (9729) in Iowa, or call 309-281-5000 in Illinois.

If you have questions about the services the Genesis Imaging Centers offer, please contact Physician Liaison Amanda Geffre at 563-421-5632 or geffrea@genesishealth.com.