How do I prepare for a mammogram?
- Fasting is not necessary the day of the test, nor do you have to observe any particular dietetic rules in the days before a mammogram. In some women, caffeine-containing products (such as coffee, cola, and chocolate) could make the breasts more tender and thus the test more uncomfortable. For this reason, women who are sensitive to caffeine may choose stop caffeine consumption for two weeks before the test.
- The phase of the menstrual cycle does not affect the quality of the images; however, it is better to perform a mammogram when a woman's breasts are not painful. Avoid the preovulatory and postovulatory period (half cycle) and premenstrual period. If a woman is still having menstrual cycles, she may find it more comfortable to have a mammogram 1 to 2 weeks after her period, when her breasts tend to be less tender.
- It is preferable to wear two-piece clothing, such as pants and a top, to simplify undressing for the mammogram.
- In the hours before the test, avoid applying cosmetics, oils, creams, and especially talc or deodorant.
- Give the radiologist any information about previous mammograms for comparison, even if they were performed in other medical centers. You can request that these results be sent before you have a mammogram.
- Because breast tissue changes during a woman's life, the radiologist may not consider a mammogram useful for certain women. The density of breast tissue in younger women often makes a mammogram very difficult to interpret. In fact, as women age, some changes occur in the structure of the breasts: glandular and fibrous tissues reduce in size, and breast tissues become more fatty. These changes modify the clarity of the mammogram, making it much clearer in older women where breast cancers are more easily "seen" by mammograms.
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