Know Before You Go: Preparing for Your First Mammogram

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Yearly mammogram screenings are a necessary step in maintaining your women’s health, especially if you’re at risk for breast cancer or are over forty. Early detection of breast cancer from mammogram screenings can reduce the risk of life-threatening cancer by 25%-30%. If you think you might be at risk or are at the age that annual screenings would make sense for you, know before you go, and read on as Oohvie answers your most asked questions about what to expect from your first mammogram. Connect with your doctor from your HealthLynked profile to speak about adding breast cancer screenings into your health plan.

  1. Are Mammograms Uncomfortable?

A mammogram is an x-ray of the breasts in which each is placed between plates and compressed from above. Most women report pressure and discomfort, but there are steps you can take for a smoother experience. For instance, schedule your test about a week after your period when your breasts are less tender and take Tylenol or similar OTC pain medicines before the scan (CDC, 2020).

  1. How Long Does A Mammogram Take? 

The average time for the x-ray is about twenty minutes. It may take longer in some cases, depending on the woman’s body type and medical history. Breast implants or large breasts can require additional images, thus more time. Wear flat, comfortable shoes to your mammogram, so you can easily stand still and lean as necessary without losing your balance.

  1. Can I Wear deodorant? 

No. Don’t wear deodorant, perfume, powder, lotions, or creams of any kind on your upper body. They interfere with the x-ray and, at best, can cause you to schedule additional appointments to rescan, or worse, be mistaken for serious conditions. Leave jewelry at home for the same reasons. Also, be sure to wear a two-piece outfit so you can still be clothed from the waist down during your scan (American Cancer Society, 2019).

  1. Should I Fast Before My Mammogram? 

Not at all. Eat, exercise, take any medications as you usually would. The only caveat is you may want to pass on the morning coffee. There’s research that caffeine increases breast sensitivity—the last thing you want before a mammogram. Reduce your coffee, tea, and chocolate intake three or four days before the test limit your discomfort.

  1. Are There Any Risks From A Mammogram?

All x-rays involve exposure to low doses of radiation, but there’s no danger from a mammogram. Don’t worry! The most discomfort you’ll experience is some pressure and maybe a slight tenderness in the hours after the x-ray. The dangers of not having a mammogram far outweigh the minor inconveniences of the scan itself. Connect with your provider on your HealthLynked profile today if you think it’s time for screenings.

 

References

“Tips for Getting a Mammogram: Prepare for Mammogram.” American Cancer Society, 3 Oct. 2019, www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/screening-tests-and-early-detection/mammograms/mammograms-what-to-know-before-you-go.html.

“What Is a Mammogram?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 Sept. 2020, www.cdc.gov/cancer/breast/basic_info/mammograms.htm.

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