Breast cancer is a scary diagnosis and one you hope never to have to hear after your regular mammogram screening. But a mammogram can save your life by catching cancer in its early stages when it’s most treatable.
Although mammograms are lifesavers, they're not the most comfortable procedure. Learn how to cope with the discomfort of a mammogram so you can maintain your health and well-being.
Dr. John Paul Roberts is an experienced OB/GYN who offers regular in-office mammogram screenings for women at his practice in Plano, Texas. In this post, Dr. Roberts and our team provide some tips to make your mammogram experience a bit more comfortable.
What happens during a mammogram?
A mammogram can detect changes in your breast that may indicate cancer years before you experience symptoms. It's vital to your preventive health care routine, but it isn't always the most comfortable test.
During a mammogram, a technician places your breasts, one at a time, between two plates. One of the plates helps hold your breast in place while the other takes an image of your breast tissue.
To see clearly into your breast tissue, the machine compresses your breasts, which can be quite uncomfortable. The technician takes several images of each breast.
The machine's compression allows the radiographer to see a more clean and detailed image. This image can show changes in your breast that may indicate early breast cancer.
Discomfort isn't uncommon
It's not uncommon to feel pain or discomfort during a mammogram. Your pain tolerance and the size and density of your breasts are among the factors that affect your comfort during a mammogram.
The skill of the mammogram technician also plays a role in your overall comfort, so take the time to do your research when scheduling a mammogram. You can trust our team to be very careful and make the screening as comfortable as possible.
Tips for a more comfortable mammogram
You may not look forward to having an annual mammogram, but you can improve your comfort level by following these tips.
Schedule around your period
When scheduling your mammogram, check your calendar to determine when you'll get your period. The week before your period, your breasts are more tender, so schedule your exam for a week or two after it ends for optimal comfort.
Stay still during the procedure
Mammograms are sometimes awkward, and holding still isn't always easy. But moving during the mammogram may mean we have to take more images, which takes a toll on your breast tissue, causing more pain and discomfort.
Take slow, deep breaths
Before your mammogram, take a few slow deep breaths to let out any tension you may be holding in. Deep breathing not only eliminates tension pain, but it can also help you hold still for a better image and quicker procedure.
Reduce caffeine intake
Reducing caffeine intake a few days before your mammogram can lessen the pain you feel during and after the test.
Premedicate for relief
If you're worried about discomfort during your mammogram, take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications a few hours beforehand to ease your pain.
Do you want to learn more about making your mammogram more comfortable? Call us today at our Plano, Texas, office to schedule your mammogram appointment, or book a consultation with Dr. Roberts through this website.