Mammogram: What to Expect

HealthLink: News You Can Use

October 8, 2020

Mammogram: What to Expect

With 1 in 8 women being diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, a mammogram screening can find a breast abnormality often before it can be felt, giving valuable time for treatment. “Breast cancer that’s found early, when it’s small and hasn’t spread, is easier to treat," said Anna Mazor, DO, a breast surgeon with Holy Redeemer’s Comprehensive Breast Care Surgeons. “Early detection is key to saving your life.”

Current Guidelines

Most women should have a mammogram beginning at age 40 and continue to have one annually. All women 20 years and older should have a clinical breast exam every year. However, if breast cancer runs in your family, your doctor may suggest getting your first mammogram earlier, have additional tests, or be tested more often. Along with regular mammograms, Dr. Mazor suggests women stay familiar with their breasts so they notice any new lumps. “If you do feel something unfamiliar, don’t wait, contact your doctor to see if further action is recommended.”

What to Expect
If this is your first mammogram or it has been a little while since your last scan, it is helpful to know how to prepare and what to expect.

Before your appointment, make sure not to put on any deodorant, lotions, oils, or perfume, as these can interfere with the scan. You’ll be given a private dressing room to undress from the waist up and put on a gown open in the front.

Once you enter the exam room, you’ll stand in front of a machine where a certified technician will position your breasts one at a time in between two plastic imaging plates. Let the technician know if the position feels uncomfortable, as the machine might be at the wrong height. Then the machine will apply pressure and take multiple X-ray images from different angles. The pressure is necessary to spread out the tissue and get the clearest possible picture. The more pressure applied, the less radiation is needed for an optimal image.

Even though your natural reaction is to tense up, do your best to relax. Take a few deep breaths before you begin. The technician will step away to take the image and will return to reposition the opposite breast on the machine. Mammograms are fast procedures; the whole process shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes.

After your test, a radiologist will review your x-rays and send your doctor a report. Your doctor will contact you if there is anything that needs to be examined further.

Don’t Delay Your Care
Mammograms are considered preventive care and covered by most insurance plans. At Holy Redeemer we offer mammogram services at our health care locations throughout Bucks, Montgomery, and Philadelphia counties. Walk-ins are welcome or to schedule your appointment call 215-938-5700 or visit

At Holy Redeemer your health and safety are our top priority. We are taking every precaution to keep you and your family safe. Learn more at



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