Tips to Make Your First Mammogram a Positive Experience


What you need to know

Mammography does not always need to be a painful experience. With updated technology, you can now feel comfortable during the examination. Many women tend to avoid mammography, citing pain as the major reason. Here’s what you need to understand and a further source for more information can be found here

Mammography screening involves X-ray examination of women’s chests to detect breast cancer. You need to get screening done as soon as you reach late 30’s. Cancer cells are too small to be felt as lumps. It is performed on women who don’t have symptoms of breast diseases. By getting screening done, you have the chance to detect early cancer and prevent fatal consequences.

Ladies should get screening done before cancer can be felt as a lump. Getting screening done at an early stage improves your chances of treating cancer and reducing the likelihood of death.

BreastScreen, Australia, offers a screening mammogram session without charge to women over 40 and without breast diseases. Screening mammography has the greatest potential of reducing the likelihood of death for women aged between 50 – 69 years. For women in the age group 45 – 69 and without breast diseases, BreastScreen Aotearoa offers free mammogram screening.

Before getting screening done, inform the radiology department whether you have had implants so that a longer session could be scheduled for you. Avoid wearing powder, deodorants, or moisturizers on the day of your mammogram because they show up as shadows on screen.

During the examination, you might feel pain due to compression but it lasts only a few seconds. Usually, there are no after-effects. There are only a few cases reporting redness after compression but there is no harm to the body. Screening mammogram lasts around 15 minutes. X-rays may have to be repeated if the results are not clear.

Now that you know about the benefits, here’s how you could have a positive mammogram experience.

  • Avoid applying anything on your skin – powder, lotion, fragrances and other cosmetics as they cause images to appear with shadows. This will only make you more nervous.
  • Schedule an appointment when your breasts are the least tender, which is before and during your menstrual cycle, or when your hormones are unstable. Compression is already painful and if you get the test done while your hormones are fluctuating, it would get highly uncomfortable for you. Depending on the facility that you go to, you may be provided with a pain reliever 45 minutes prior to examination.
  • When it gets painful, inform the doctor. Cooperate with your doctor and he’ll be happy to make it a comfortable experience for you. You’ll be asked to stay in a certain position only for a few minutes. The compression of tissues is now less painful than it used to be.
  • Try to relax. Do what makes you feel better before the mammography session. Exercising can help activate positive emotions and help you relax. When you are calm, your doctor would be able to get better results without prolonging the examination.


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