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What is a mammogram?

A mammogram is an X-ray of your breasts.

What are some common reasons why mammograms are performed?
Mammograms are used to detect breast problems and screen for breast cancer in women who may or may not have symptoms. A mammogram can help detect small tumors that cannot be felt by you or your doctor. Mammograms help reduce a woman’s chances of dying from breast cancer by detecting cancer when it is more easily treated.

How does a mammogram work?
You will be instructed about what to wear to your appointment, what to eat before the mammogram, how the mammogram will be performed, and how the mammogram will feel.

On the day of your mammogram, do not use any deodorant, antiperspirant, perfume, powders, or ointments on your breasts. The residue left by these products may interfere with the X-rays.

One at a time, your breasts are placed on a flat plate that contains X-ray film. Another plate is then pressed against your breast to help flatten out the breast tissue. X-rays are then taken of each breast.

Who should get a mammogram?
Some general guidelines about mammograms exist, but every woman should speak with her doctor about when she should start getting regular mammograms and how often she should get them.

  • Women who are 50 years of age and older should get regular mammograms every 1 – 2 years unless otherwise recommended.
  • Women between 40 – 50 years of age should discuss when to start having mammograms with their physician; many organizations recommend that women have their first mammogram at age 40.
  • Women with risk factors for breast cancer or a family or personal history of breast cancer may need to have mammograms earlier than age 50.

How do I schedule a mammogram?
Mammograms can be performed at Sacred Heart Hospital and Sacred Heart Imaging Northampton, an affiliate of Sacred Heart HealthCare System.

To schedule a mammogram at Sacred Heart Hospital, please call One Call Scheduling at 610-776-5180.

To schedule a mammogram at Sacred Heart Imaging Northampton, please call 610-262-6622.

For more information about mammograms, please call the Lanshe Women’s Health Center at 610-776-4660.

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