Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Marla Ahlgrimm on Mammograms

Marla Ahlgrimm

As the sunshine finally is starting to poke its head out for the summer, so too will many parts of your skin that haven’t seen daylight since September. This is a perfect opportunity to pay attention to your entire body, breasts included. And if you are over 40, it may be time for a mammogram.

Q: What is a mammogram?

Marla Ahlgrimm: A mammogram is a way that doctors take a look inside of your breasts. Think of it as an x-ray machine catered specifically for the fatty tissue of your chest. A mammogram is designed to help doctors identify breast cancer early on so that you can get treatment before it becomes progressive.

Q: How is it done?

Marla Ahlgrimm: A technologist will assist you in placing your breast on a large platform. Next, an arm will come down and flatten your breasts between two plates. This is, unfortunately, somewhat uncomfortable. However, it lasts only a few moments and may save your life. Keep in mind, further, that because your breasts will need to be exposed, it might be wise to wear pants or a skirt and a separate top since you will be asked to disrobe from the waist up.

Q: What does it feel like?

Marla Ahlgrimm
Marla Ahlgrimm: It feels like your breasts are being squeezed by two pieces of metal. A good rule of thumb to avoid extreme sensitivity is to reschedule your mammogram if your breasts are tender because you are about to start your period.

Q: Does everyone need a mammogram?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Every woman should talk to her doctor about having a mammogram. Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death in women, and a mammogram can identify even small areas of breast cancer up to three years before they may be felt by hand.