What to Expect

It’s natural to worry a little before having an exam or test you’ve never had before. When you know what to expect, you know how to prepare. At Banner Health, we want you to feel comfortable and relaxed before any of the women’s health tests we offer including:

Preparing for Your Mammogram

Schedule an Appointment

Take a minute to schedule your appointment:

  • If you are still having menstrual periods, you may want to have your mammogram done within 2 weeks after your period ends. The procedure will be more comfortable, especially if your breasts become tender before your period starts.
  • If you have previously had a mammogram at another facility, have the films sent or bring them with you to your examination.

Before Your Appointment

A few do’s and don’ts before your exam:

  • Let our staff know if you have breast implants, may be pregnant or if you are breastfeeding.
  • To reduce breast tenderness, don’t drink anything with caffeine 2 days before your appointment.
  • If your doctor says it’s OK, you may also want to take Tylenol or Advil about an hour before your appointment.
  • Don’t use any deodorant, perfume, powders, or ointments on your breasts or under your arms. The residue left on your skin can interfere with the X-rays.
  • Wear clothing you can remove easily. You’ll remove clothing and jewelry from the waist up and change into a gown.

When You Arrive

Be sure to tell the imaging center staff if you:

  • Are pregnant or might be pregnant  mammograms use low-dose radiation and we don’t recommended them during pregnancy.
  • Are breast-feeding  mammograms may not give clear results if your breasts contain milk.
  • Have breast implants  breast implants require a different type of mammogram method.
  • Have previously had a breast biopsy  knowing the location of scar tissue will help the radiologist read your mammogram accurately.

During Your Appointment

  • You’ll be positioned in front of the mammogram equipment. Your breast will be squeezed between two plates. Each breast will be positioned and squeezed twice.
  • You’ll hold your breath while images are taken.
  • You may feel discomfort, but it lasts only seconds.
  • This process usually takes 20 to 30 minutes.

After Your Appointment

  • We typically review the results of your mammogram within 1 to 3 days.
  • If everything is normal, we send you a letter with your results and forward a report to your doctor.
  • If we discover a problem, we’ll call you immediately. We’ll also send your doctor a complete report from the radiologist.

Preparing for Your Pelvic Exam and Pap Test

Before Your Exam

  • Avoid having sex or using tampons, douches, vaginal creams, powders, deodorant sprays, or contraceptive foams and jellies for 2 days before your exam.
  • Don’t have a Pap test during your period. Try to schedule it for 10 to 20 days after the first day of your period.

During Your Exam

  • You’ll lie back on a table with your knees bent and your feet in stirrups. In a pelvic exam, your provider checks your pelvic area for any problems, and uses a device called a speculum to open your vagina. You may feel slight discomfort.
  • For a Pap test, your provider looks at your cervix and scrapes off cells with a long cotton swab.

After Your Exam

  • The cells your doctor collected are tested in a lab. 
  • Once your results are in, you'll receive a note advising you of your test results and any follow-up care you may need.

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