Anytime you hear you have to get a medical exam, image, or procedure done it can be scary. What do you need to do now? What should you expect? What happens next? Our ‘Now What?’ blog series walks you through these procedures so you’re prepared, not worried.
First of all- what is a mammogram? A mammogram uses a low-dose x-ray system to examine the breasts. Mammograms help detect abnormalities in the breast tissue. Pullman Regional Hospital’s 3D mammography technology is 25% more effective at detecting abnormalities, especially those with dense breast tissue, than conventional mammography.
Brenda Champoux RT(R)(M) in Pullman Regional Hospital’s Imaging Services department wants women to take a proactive approach to their imaging by understanding when they need to be screened.
When you hear the word “mammogram” your mind might go right to “breast cancer”. While mammograms are instrumental in detecting breast cancer, there’s no need to worry, fret, or delay your screening over fear. For maximal benefits, Pullman Regional Hospital and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists support yearly mammograms starting at age 40.
For women over 40, a screening mammogram once a year is recommended- you don’t even need a doctor’s referral to have one done! For women under 40, you’ll need a doctor’s referral (normally, these are only recommended for women with a strong family history of breast cancer). If you’re unsure about when you should start yearly mammograms, chat with your primary care doctor.
Once you’ve determined you need to get a mammogram, simply call (509) 336-7446 to schedule with our scheduling coordinators at Pullman Regional Hospital. While scheduling, you’ll be asked a few questions including:
- When was your last mammogram?
- Where did you get your last mammogram?
- Your doctor’s name and phone number (for results)
Mammogram appointments are 30 minutes long. Patients are asked to arrive 10 minutes prior to their appointment to provide insurance information. During your appointment, you’ll be asked to remove your clothing from the waist up, so wearing a top that’s easy to remove is a good plan. Please note that per Pullman Regional Hospital policy, masks are required for all patients, visitors, and guests.
Your results will be ready 2 days after your screening. Your doctor will receive an electronic copy of the screening, while you’ll receive a letter with your results in the mail. The letter will either let you know your screening was normal or it will inform you that there was a finding that requires additional imaging.
If you require additional imaging- don’t panic. Brenda Champoux notes that about “1 in 10 women get called back for additional imaging”. Additional imaging does not automatically mean breast cancer. Additional imaging could mean that “there are changes since your last mammogram, or if this was your first, there was something detected to check out further,” according to Champoux.
If it’s time for your next (or first!) mammogram, Pullman Regional Hospital is ready to welcome you in with a comfortable, friendly environment, trusted technicians, and knowledgeable staff. We look forward to your visit!
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