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MammogramInformationfor PatientsWhat is a mammogram?A mammogram (MAM-oh-gram) is anx-ray picture of the breasts. The dose ofradiation from the x-ray is very low and safe.A mammogram can find breast cancer that istoo small for you or your doctor to feel.Mammograms have saved many lives.What is a diagnostic mammogram?A diagnostic mammogram is for women ormen who have signs or symptoms of breastdisease. A prescription or referral is neededfor a diagnostic mammogram.A diagnostic mammogram is done if you have:• signs or symptoms of breast disease, such as-lumps-pain or tenderness-change in color, surface, size, and/orshape of the breast, nipple, or skin-nipple discharge• a personal history of breast orendometrial cancer• a personal history of benign breastdisease diagnosed by biopsy• a previous suspicious breast mass or lump• breasts that are difficult to examinebecause of size or implantsWhat is a screening mammogram?A screening mammogram is done if you haveno symptoms of breast disease. It is the bestway to find breast cancer early.By law, you do not need a prescription orreferral if you meet the age guidelines.However, a testing center does not haveto accept patients who do not have aprescription.The age guidelines for a screeningmammogram are:• between ages 35 and 40:Have ascreening mammogram. This will set a“baseline” to compare with for futuretests.• starting at age 40:Have a screeningmammogram every year.Additional testsAfter your mammogram, you may be askedto return for more tests. Each woman hasunique breast tissue. Sometimes more testsare needed to see if something is abnormal.Some women get more breast x-ray teststhat view the breast from different positions.Other women get a breast ultrasound orMRI (magnetic resonance imaging).continued
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MAMMOGRAMScheduling your mammogram• Ask your insurance provider if yourmammogram will be paid for. If yourinsurance does not cover the full cost orif you do not have insurance, you mayqualify for a free mammogram. Callthe Mammogram Voucher Programtoll-free at1-888-687-0505.• If you have Medicare, call your localMedicare carrier or the Medicare hot lineat1-800-638-6833.• Call your local UPMC hospital or breastcare facility to schedule an appointment.• If you have sensitive breasts, schedule theexam at a time of the month when yourbreasts feel less tender. Avoid the weekright before your period. This will helpreduce the discomfort. You may take amild over-the-counter pain relieverabout 1 hour before the mammogram.• Films and reports from your earliermammograms are needed for comparison.If you are going to the same place whereyou had your last mammogram, theywill have your reports. If not, bring filmsfrom your most recent mammogram.Also bring reports from previousmammograms if they were donesomewhere else.The day of your mammogram• Bring the following:-a prescription-films, reports, and information aboutyour breast health-your insurance information ormammogram voucher-the names, addresses, and phone andfax numbers of your doctors• Wear a 2-piece outfit. That way you onlyhave to take off your top.•Do notuse deodorant, powder, orlotion under your arms or breasts. Thesematerials may interfere with the x-ray.• Allow plenty of time for yourappointment. Screening mammogramstake about 30 to 45 minutes. Diagnosticmammograms take about 11/2to 2 hours.UPMCInformationfor Patients2continued