When Should I Get My First Mammogram?

first mammogram

An estimated 1 in 8 women (or 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. To give yourself the best possible chance of survival, early detection is critical. When found early, before it has had a chance to grow and spread, breast cancer is more likely to be receptive to treatment. The most reliable method for early detection is regular screening tests including self-breast exams and mammograms. But, at what age should women get their first mammogram?

Screening Guidelines

The following recommendations from the American Cancer Society are for women at average risk for breast cancer. Meaning, she doesn’t have a personal history of breast cancer, a strong family history of breast cancer, a genetic mutation known to increase risk of breast cancer (such as the BRCA gene), and has not had chest radiation therapy before the age of 30.

  • Women ages 40 to 44 have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms if they wish to do so.
  • Women ages 45 to 54 are advised to get mammograms every year
  • Women ages 55 and older have the option of switching to a mammogram every two years or continue with yearly screenings.

It is recommended that women continue regular screenings as long as she is in good health and expected to live longer than 10 or more years.

3D Mammography

As researchers have continued to learn more about breast cancer, new technologies have been developed to help increase the rate of early detection.

Tomosynthesis, or 3D mammography, is an FDA-approved advanced technology that takes multiple images, or X-rays, of breast tissue to recreate a 3-dimensional picture of the breast compared to traditional mammography in which only a single image is obtained.

Multiple images of breast tissues slices allow doctors to have a clearer image of breast masses, making the detection of breast cancer easier and more accurate. Additionally, this technology allows physicians to detect more cancers, reduces the risk of false positives and makes it easier to see the cancer size compared to a regular mammogram.

What to Expect

Women notice little difference between 3D mammography and a traditional 2D screening. The tube taking the X-ray sweeps across the breast in an arch taking about four seconds to obtain an image, just a little bit longer than a digital mammogram.

Because 3D mammography produces more images, it does take radiologists a little longer to read than a single digital mammography image, but the original procedure is much the same. The whole procedure takes about 20 minutes. It is far more accurate in the early detection of breast cancer than a traditional mammogram.

Your breast must be flattened to obtain a high-quality picture, which can cause discomfort. For some women, it can be painful but don’t be afraid to tell the technologist if it hurts.

How to Prepare for Your Mammogram

The American Cancer Society suggests scheduling your mammogram when your breasts are not tender or swollen to help reduce discomfort, and in turn, get good images. It is advisable to avoid the week just before your period.

Your provider will give you instructions before your appointment, but be sure not to wear deodorant or antiperspirant on the day of your exam. These contain substances that can show up on the X-ray as white spots. If you aren’t going home after your mammogram, we provide deodorant for you to use after you have completed your mammogram.

Additionally, you may be more comfortable wearing a skirt or pants. That way you’ll only need to remove your top and bra for the mammogram.

While the process can be a little unnerving, particularly if it’s your first mammogram, you shouldn’t be afraid. Less than .04% of screening mammograms lead to a diagnosis of breast cancer.

Mammography at Triangle Physicians for Women

In our effort to provide one-stop, annual well-woman exams, Triangle Physicians for Women offers the convenience of the latest technology- in-office 3-D mammography for your annual breast screening. Our patients have loved the convenience of having their mammograms and annuals together in just ONE visit!  To schedule an appointment, call (919) 678-6900.

 

My visit was great! & my past visit have all been great.Kristy helped me even with me being a bit stressed & in a hurry because I had to be seen & my job is super strict. Her urgency to get me seen was phenomenal. I even got to see Heather, she’s awesome & amazing. She helped deliver my baby girl a year ago. My whole family loves her and Dr Sheshadri. We actually can’t wait to get pregnant again hahaha. Everyone treats you with respect and always makes sure your okay & answers whatever questions you have before you leave. Even leaving a message for the nurses,they get back to you so quickly.  This practice really makes you feel taken care of.  We appreciate you all!  – Erika Hooks

My experience with the TP4W staff has been top of the line.  They helped me through three pregnancies and coached me through every step of the way.  Eternally thankful I chose TP4W.  – Britney

TP4W have such amazing doctors, midwives and nurses.  I cannot say enough about Dr. Grana and the rest of the staff for all the help, advice, guidance and medical care they provided me with all of my kids.  She made me feel safe and calm through both c-sections.  My routine care and pregnancy care have always been top notch and I would recommend them to anyone looking for an OBGYN.  – Brooke

We were honored to receive a hand written note..

Dr. Grana, Angie, Jessica, Heather, April, Sarah and the rest of the staff –

Thank you all so much for taking such good care of me through both of my pregnancies and births, especially my latest one on 10/29! most of yall know how nervous I was from having gone through a lot (to say the least) with my first in 2016. You all made me feel so comfortable and at ease before, during and after. And going through a touch year with my dad, you guys always asked how he was doing at every appointment, which was so thoughtful and beyond your job description. I know that you all see many women go through what i did each and every day and deliver many babies and perform many c-sections. But I hope you know how special Ruby’s delivery was to me. You all have amazing jobs! I cannot thank you all enough. Merry Christmas!

Love, Lucy

I have been going to TP4W since 2010/11 and could not be happier.

The staff, nurses, midwives, and doctors are all amazing. I have 2 sons, both delivered via cesarean by Dr. V. Every visit and every provider did everything in their power to give me the birth experience I wanted, and also ensure that myself and my babies were safe and healthy. Dr. V even did everything in his power to help me avoid my first c-section and VBAC with the second, but that turned out to be out of his hands and he was the absolute best surgeon. With my two pregnancies, I experienced a few scares and some unusual circumstances that would be too long and too private to write in a review, but every single hurdle was handled with grace, honesty, and professionalism. I am so thankful for the recommendation from a friend to come to this office. I can’t imagine ever going to another practice.

TP4W is amazing and I am so very thankful I found them 9 years ago!! Amazing partnership between midwives and doctors, sweet nurses and front end staff, and relaxing environment. I literally recommend them to all my friends! I look forward to my appointments and feel like I’m going to catch up with old friends.

I’ve always had wonderful experiences at TP4W. Everyone is friendly, knowledgeable, and thorough in their care. April delivered my son and I can’t say enough wonderful things about her. She is patient and compassionate. I had the best labor and delivery experience thanks to her. I do and will continue to recommend them to my friends and family!

TP4W is amazing and I am so very thankful I found them 9 years ago!! Amazing partnership between midwives and doctors, sweet nurses and front end staff, and relaxing environment. I literally recommend them to all my friends! I look forward to my appointments and feel like I’m going to catch up with old friends.

I have been seeing Dr. Grana for just about 4 years now and I must admit that she has been the very best OB I have ever had! She is so personable, friendly, and all around caring about her patients. I’ve never had any issues with the staff, the office is very clean, and if Dr. Grana is running behind, they let me know ahead of time. I highly recommend Dr. Grana and this office to anyone!

I was referred here by my family doctor. I had found out I was pregnant with my first child later last year and had the most difficult time scheduling an appointment at my last OB/GYN Doctor. I was on the verge of tears because I didn’t know what my next steps were and thank goodness I was referred to Triangle Physicians for Women. The service is amazing every appointment I’ve had and they are so organized and have made me feel so comfortable. I have to thank them for making this pregnancy so much smoother and less stressful than it would have been had I stayed with my previous doctor. I highly recommend this place!