Breast Health Center
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I have my first mammogram?
The American Cancer Society recommends that you have your first mammogram at age 40 and continue to do so annually for as long as you are in good health.
How do I prepare for my mammogram appointment?
Wear something comfortable, which you can remove from the waist up. Refrain from using deodorants and lotions before your appointment. You will need to bring a copy of your doctor’s order and any prior mammograms that you may have had at an outside facility. Plan to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled appointment to allow time for registration for your exam.
How long will my mammogram appointment take?
A screening mammogram will take about 20 minutes. Diagnostic or additional views may take two hours or more, since a breast ultrasound may also be performed.
Will my mammogram be painful?
In order to get a high-quality image, it is necessary to flatten, or compress, the breast slightly. Compression can be a source of discomfort and pain for some women. When applicable, schedule your mammogram at times when breast tenderness is at a minimum, such as after your menstrual cycle. In certain circumstances, padding may also be available.
Why did I get called back for additional views?
Being called back for additional images of the breast is not uncommon, especially for baseline mammograms where there are no previous images available for comparison. When a radiologist requests additional images after a screening mammogram, it is because there is an area that the radiologist wants to look at more closely. The radiologist may also request a breast ultrasound.
When will I receive the results of my mammogram?
The results of screening mammograms are mailed to you within five to seven business days. For diagnostic mammograms and/or additional views, you receive results the same day as your exam.
I lost my insurance and am unable to afford a mammogram. What can I do?
Breast cancer screening is available through the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program. This program provides breast and cervical cancer early screening detection testing for uninsured women for free or at a reduced cost. To qualify, you must be living in Illinois, be uninsured and between the ages of 35–64. For more information, contact the Illinois Women’s Health-Line at (888) 522-1282 or visit www.cancerscreening.illinois.gov.
I felt a lump in my breast. What is my next step?
It is important to be aware of how your breasts normally look and feel, and report any changes detected during breast self-exam to your doctor. Your physician can perform a clinical breast exam and order the appropriate breast imaging.
I have a family history of breast cancer. How should I be followed?
A family history of breast cancer can increase your risk of developing breast cancer, though the exact risk varies, depending on the number of affected relatives. Patients with a strong family history of breast cancer are best monitored under the guidance of a high-risk prevention and screening clinic. The Breast Health Center offers a high-risk and prevention program. Call us at (331) 221-6036 to discuss your situation in more detail.