Breast Program

Preparing for a Mammogram

The American Cancer Society recommends that you discuss any changes in your breasts with your doctor before scheduling your mammogram. This will help your doctor determine whether you should be scheduled for a routine screening exam or a diagnostic exam, which may involve special views and possibly breast ultrasound.

If possible, it's best to schedule your exam for one week after your period, especially if your breasts are tender before your period. Be sure to let your doctor or the mammography technologist know if you are, or think you might be pregnant.

The day of the exam, please:

  • Do not wear deodorant, powder, perfumes or lotions under your arms or anywhere above your waist. These products can cause spots to appear on the mammogram.
  • Tell the mammography technologist about any breast problems or symptoms you've been having.
  • It is very important to try to bring your prior mammograms for comparison if they have been performed at another facility. If your prior mammograms have been taken at St. Joseph Hospital or Women's Imaging Center in Orange, they will be on file, and we will automatically compare them with your new mammograms. Comparing with prior films greatly assists radiologists to avoid calling women back for additional imaging and biopsies.

What to Expect

Special care is taken to use the lowest possible x-ray dose to get the best possible picture. A specially qualified radiologic technologist will help you position your breast on a platform and then gently compress it.

You'll be asked to hold your breath and stay still momentarily while the picture is being taken, to get the sharpest image possible. The technician may help reposition you to take several images of each breast.

You will feel pressure on your breast as it is being compressed. Let your technician know if you have significant discomfort or pain.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, please call (714) 734-6282.