Our best bet in the fight against breast cancer is early detection, and mammograms are still the best tool.  In fact, they have been shown to lower the chance of dying from breast cancer by 35 percent in women over the age of 50.

How mammograms work
During a mammogram the breasts are compressed between two plates so X-ray images can be taken from multiple angles. The resulting images will be examined by a radiologist – a doctor who specializes in reading images of the body – to pinpoint any visible abnormalities in the tissue. It's a great first line of defense against breast cancer because mammograms can pinpoint tiny masses long before doctors would be able to see or feel them.

Is it safe?
Yes. Four images of your breasts contain no more radiation than what you receive daily in the atmosphere.

Will it hurt?
You will experience some discomfort.  Mammography only produces an effective image if your breasts are compressed as flat as possible.  The mammographers are trained to get the best image possible while keeping your comfort in mind.

What should I do to prepare?
Don't wear any deodorant or powder on the day of your mammogram.  Some deodorants have calcium in them, and this can look like calcifications on your mammogram image.

When should I get one?
Yearly mammograms are recommended for women beginning when they turn 40.  But if breast or ovarian cancer runs in your family, you may want to start getting your mammogram sooner. Your doctor can help you decide.

Where can I get a mammogram?
Mammography for women and men is offered at both Riverside
Shore Memorial Hospital in Nassawadox and at Riverside Shore Medical Center at Metompkin north of Parksley.  Both sites are accredited by the American College of Radiology and the Food and Drug Administration.  Both sites are staffed with highly-trained, experienced and certified mammographers.

Digital mammography is offered at RSMH.  While the image is no different from film mammography, the convenience of the digital format can make for a quicker exam and ease of interpretation by the physician. A patient can go to either site – or can alternate – and get the same high-quality results. Set a clinical breast exam with your doctor first, and then call 757-414-8555 to schedule a screening mammogram at whichever location is convenient for you.

Is there anything else I should be doing?
Mammography is a great tool, but it's also important that women of all ages examine their own breasts.  Choose a time once a month to check for any lumps or abnormalities.

What happens after my mammogram?
Your mammogram images will be reviewed by a Riverside radiologist. You will receive a follow-up report. If an abnormality is found, you will be contacted as soon as possible so you can plan your next move with your doctor.