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Well Woman HealthCheck Program
Breast Cancer Screening
Uninsured women 40 - 65 can receive clinical breast exams and mammograms through the WWHP. Symptomatic women can receive mammograms and other diagnostic tests starting at age 21 and over. If necessary, diagnostic tests will be covered following the screening.
What to Expect During a Mammogram:
How is it done?
You will need to remove your clothes above the waist and you will be given a cloth or paper gown for the exam. One at a time, your breasts will be positioned on a flat plate that will acquire the image. Another plate compresses your breast tissue. Very firm pressure is needed to obtain high-quality pictures. You may be asked to lift your arm or use your hand to hold your other breast out of the way to obtain a better image. You will be asked to hold your breath for a few seconds while the images are being taken. At least two pictures are taken of each breast, one from the top and one from the side.
How long does it take?
The mammography itself will likely take about 10 to 15 minutes, but you may be in the clinic for up to an hour from the time you walk in to the time you leave.
How does it feel?
The X-ray plate may feel cold and having your breasts flattened and compressed by the plates is usually uncomfortable. However, it is necessary to flatten the breast tissue to obtain the best images.
What happens after the mammogram?
A radiologist will interpret the images from your mammogram. The technologist who administers the test cannot interpret or discuss what they are viewing while performing the exam. A report will be sent to your physician's office and they will contact you to discuss its results.
Tips for preparing for your mammogram:
- To help minimize discomfort, schedule your mammogram to take place one week after your period (when breasts are less tender).
- If possible, bring your previous mammogram documents with you, or a list of where and when you have had previous mammograms, to your appointment.
- On the day of the mammogram, do not wear talcum powder, deodorant, lotion or perfume under your arms or on your breasts. These substances may contain aluminum flecks that may make the mammogram images harder to interpret.
- Wear a two-piece outfit so that you only have to remove your top and bra for the examination; a blouse which buttons in the front is optimal.
- Any jewelry worn should be easily removable, especially if you will have an exam which requires you to lie face down.