How To Prepare for a Single Breast Mammogram After A Mastectomy and Moving

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The worst part is over.  You’ve had your single breast mastectomy and maybe some reconstruction.  You’ve made your move to another location, perhaps to another state.  You’ve set up an appointment with your new oncologist and got a referral for your first mammogram in your new town. You know that the radiologist doesn’t have your previous mammogram history.  You wonder how they will know what to look for.  Take these steps to ease your mind and make the mammography procedure easier for all involved.

You will Need: A Laboratory Request for a mammogram from your oncologist if required by your state or insurance, preparation instructions for a mammogram from your oncologist, appointment book or calendar with your previous surgery and mammography appointments, an information Release Form from your radiologist, business cards from all your previous doctors who were involved in the surgeries and mammographies and business cards from your current primary care physician and oncologist

When you visit your new oncologist, let the doctor know that you need a referral for a single breast mammogram. Your oncologist will fill out a Laboratory Request for a diagnostic mammogram.  You will also get instructions for how to prepare for the mammogram.  Refrain from applying deodorant, powder, cream or perfume on the day of the mammogram.  Those products will interfere with the outcome of the mammogram and may read as a false positive.

At the radiology lab, on the day of your mammogram, you will be asked to fill out paperwork pertaining to your previous health. You will need information from your appointment book or calendar to answer the following questions.  When was your last mammogram?  When did you have your single breast mastectomy?   List your previous surgeries and the dates that you had them.

The radiologist will escort you to the mammogram room and let you change into a waist length hospital gown. She will tell you where to stand, position your remaining breast in the mammography machine and adjust the plates to compress it.  Be prepared to hold your breath when she asks you hold still.  The machine will release your breast as soon as your mammogram is completed.

The radiologist will ask you to fill out an Information Release Form. Take the information from your former physician’s business cards to write on the form.  Some states will ask for your primary doctor’s name, address, phone and fax numbers.  Other states may want that information from your oncologist or radiologist.  Be prepared and take a business card from all of the doctors involved in your surgeries and follow up care.  These physicians will fax your medical history, including prior mammograms for comparison, to your new radiologist.

The radiologist will ask you what doctor you want the mammogram information sent to. Use the business cards from your primary doctor and your oncologist to provide her with that information.

Tips to make this easy: If you carry a pocket calendar, paper clip your care team’s business cards to the back page of it for easy referencing.  You will receive a letter from your radiologist telling you that your mammogram was normal or that you need to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss the mammogram results.

Thing to be aware of: Make sure you wear a clean shirt or blouse to your mammogram.  One that has been worn will have traces of deodorant in the armpits that may adhere to your body and influence the outcome of the test.

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