Mammograms: A Few Minutes That Can Save Your Life
Here’s how to make them more effective and less painful
A mammogram isn't on anyone's Top 10 list of fun things to do, admits Denise Logan, radiology manager at Bryan Medical Center. It can be uncomfortable – even painful – for a few seconds each time the compression occurs.
But, she says, by the time you’re dressed, those seconds of pain are a distant memory, replaced by the knowledge that you did something important to take care of yourself.
“As a woman who’s worked in this field for many years, I am amazed at the advances made that make mammograms better for women – 3D technology so doctors can see the very smallest details, less radiation to improve safety and much more. It’s important to share this information so women can get the most out of this life-saving exam.”
Here are some of Denise’s top tips and information to help you get the most – and make the most – out of your next mammogram.
When Should I Get a Mammogram?
In recent years, several organizations have issued differing guidelines of when women should get their first mammogram and ongoing mammograms. It’s confusing, given that these are credible organizations. How do you know what is right for you?
The answer, Denise says, is: it depends. It depends on your personal health history, your family health history, and many other factors. The best way to decide what is best for you is to talk to your doctor. With your health history in mind, your doctor will help you make the right decision.
Learn more about this topic by listening to the podcast: “Mammograms: Understanding the Latest Recommendations” featuring radiologist Dr. Jeff Matthes.
What Can I Do to Make My Mammogram Less Painful?
Schedule your mammogram at a time of month when your breasts are not tender.
- Lower your caffeine intake for a few days before your mammogram.
- Dress in a comfortable two-piece outfit since you will be asked to undress from the waist up and remove any jewelry that might get in the way.
- Do not wear deodorant as this can interfere with the mammogram results (At Bryan, we provide deodorant packets for you after your exam).
- Do not use talcum powder, ointment or cream on your breasts or underarms, as this can interfere with the mammogram results.
- Consider taking Advil, Tylenol or other over-the-counter medication you normally take for pain or discomfort before and/or after your exam.
“An optional service we offer at Bryan for a small fee is comfort pads,” Denise adds. “These pads can help make a mammogram more comfortable.”
What’s Next for You?
If it’s time to schedule your mammogram, Bryan Health offers four convenient locations. To learn more, visit bryanhealth.org/mammogram.