Top 5 Things to Know About Mammograms - UAMS Women's Health Newsletter
Top 5 Things to Know About Mammograms - UAMS Women's Health Newsletter

Top 5 Things to Know
About Mammogram

Girls of all ages love spending time with their girlfriends -- shopping, eating, talking and solving the problems of the world. Some girlfriends have also taken action to improve their health by exercising together or exchanging healthy recipes.
“While you are busy taking care of your family, it can be easy to postpone or neglect your own preventive care. And your girlfriends are probably in a similar situation,” says Dr. Amy Phillips, one of our OB/GYN doctors at UAMS
Considering the importance of early detection for breast cancer, have you considered joining forces to make a mammogram appointment with your female support system? Teaming up with your friends will hold each of you accountable to schedule this important date on your calendar and might also ease any tension that you feel.
“At this time, breast cancer is not preventable, but with early detection of small cancers, it is highly curable. To enhance early detection and cure, women should have a baseline mammogram at the age of 35 and annual mammograms beginning at age 40,” says Robert Fincher, M.D., medical director of the UAMS Breast Center
Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions regarding mammography:

What are the benefits of screening mammography?

Today's high-quality screening mammogram is the most effective tool available to detect breast cancer before lumps can be felt or symptoms appear. Early detection of breast cancer not only helps provide a woman with more options but also increases her chances of having the best possible outcome. 

Is there a risk of radiation exposure from having regular mammograms?

If you are concerned about radiation, ask your doctor about the amount of radiation used during the procedure and the risks related to your particular situation. Special care is taken to ensure that the lowest possible amount of radiation is used when you have a mammogram. 

What should a woman expect when having a mammogram?

You should wear two-piece clothing on the day of your mammogram. If you arrive for a mammogram appointment at UAMS and are wearing deodorant or lotion, we’ll provide a moist towel to cleanse your skin before your mammogram. 
A specially-trained radiology technologist, who will perform the X-ray, will provide you with a gown and explain each step of the procedure to you. Two flat surfaces, or plates, are slowly squeezed together and compress each breast for a few seconds. This compression may be somewhat uncomfortable for some people, but it is necessary to produce the best pictures using the lowest amount of radiation possible. 

Are mammograms painful?

If you are concerned about discomfort or pain, timing your mammogram when your breasts are not tender is important. In premenopausal women, this is usually one week after your menstrual period. If you do experience discomfort or pain, tell your technologist so that adjustments can be made to make your mammogram as painless as possible. Remember that each X-ray takes just a few moments and could save your life. 

Who pays for mammography?

Many insurance policies provide screening mammograms with no co-payment or coinsurance, so check with your insurance company to learn more about your insurance coverage.  
To learn more, please visit our UAMS Health Library.

Spit for the Cure

At UAMS, we believe research is the key to winning the battle against breast cancer. You can help by participating in our Spit for the Cure Breast Cancer Cohort research study.
Breast cancer researchers at UAMS are hoping to answer some important questions. We want to learn why one individual is affected by breast cancer but another one is not. Or why two women with the same disease respond differently to the same treatment. What inherited factors contribute to the disease? What environmental factors contribute to breast cancer? How do inherited and environmental factors interact to cause the disease? It may seem that these questions would be addressed on an individual basis but, in reality, we need large groups of women to participate to address these questions. So this could be your chance to participate in the fight by joining this study. 
If you are interested in helping us to further breast cancer research in Arkansas by participating in Spit for the Cure, please email or call 501-686-8326.

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