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Your first mammogram: what to expect

Preparing mentally and physically for your first mammogram appointment can be nerve-racking. Missing a mammogram is not an option, or you run the risk of not detecting breast cancer early when it is most treatable.

“Two keys to finding breast cancer are manual breast exams and mammograms,” said Dr. Melvin Schursky, general surgeon at Gloucester’s Riverside Walter Reed Hospital. “Mammograms can detect cancer before it grows big enough to be noticed by women checking at home or by a provider during an annual checkup. The earlier we find breast cancer, the better the outcome for our patients.”

Riverside Health System has provided the following tips to help women feel more comfortable going to their first mammogram appointment.


You will need to put a gown on, so wearing a top and bottom to the appointment, rather than a one-piece outfit, is helpful. Do not use deodorant, powder, perfume, ointment, or cream on your breasts or underarms. These can create white spots on ...

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