Getting a mammogram isn’t going to really feel like a calming spa remedy. However ought to mammograms be painful? No. Luckily, there are a number of methods to make the check much less bodily and emotionally uncomfortable.
Regardless of how nervous and even anxious you might really feel about getting a mammogram, the screening is important for the early detection of breast cancer, says radiologist Dana Bonaminio, MD, who makes a speciality of breast imaging and image-guided procedures. “One in eight women shall be identified with breast most cancers in her lifetime. Routine exams can reduce the mortality rate of breast cancer by 40 percent1, and may detect the illness earlier than it’s giant sufficient to really feel or trigger signs,” explains Dr. Bonaminio.
“Routine exams can scale back the mortality fee of breast most cancers by 40 %.” —Dana Bonaminio, MD
She says that early detection of breast most cancers not solely improves survival charges, however it may additionally make remedy simpler and cheaper. Annual mammograms are one of the best ways to remain on high of tumor progress in order that they don’t go undetected and advance into later phases, making remedy extra invasive.
Consultants In This Article
- Dana Bonaminio, MD, radiologist specializing in breast imaging and image-guided procedures
To maintain us all from shying away from the examination, right here she shares the mammogram data everybody with breasts ought to know, in addition to her greatest suggestions that may assist make mammograms much less painful—each bodily and mentally.
What do you have to anticipate from a mammogram?
A part of the mammogram nervousness that many individuals expertise has to do with merely not realizing what to anticipate. So Dr. Bonaminio walked us by means of the steps of a typical mammogram exam.
- Once you get to the examination room, a mammography technologist will information you into place on the machine to make sure that it captures one of the best pictures attainable.
- Your breasts shall be uncovered one after the other to take two pictures with the mammography system. One picture shall be of the highest and backside of the breast and the second back and forth.
- In case you are getting a 3D mammography examination, the machine will transfer in an arc over your breasts, and you might be requested to carry your breath throughout this a part of the examination.
“You’ll doubtless bear compression about 4 instances at a number of totally different positions and angles,” provides Dr. Bonaminio. “It’s possible you’ll really feel some discomfort throughout this, however the examination shouldn’t be painful.”
Dr. Bonaminio says that whereas a mammogram could seem intimidating, particularly if in case you have by no means had one earlier than, the entire course of could be very short-lived. “Mammograms are fast—a typical screening examination lasts about 20 minutes, with precise breast compression lasting about 10 to fifteen seconds for every picture,” says Dr. Bonaminio.
After your mammogram, a radiologist will assessment your pictures and be in contact with outcomes inside a couple of days, both by telephone or mail.
“Getting referred to as again for extra views is pretty widespread, particularly after your first or baseline mammogram,” says Dr. Bonaminio. “Your radiologist might also ship you a report about your breast density. If you happen to uncover that you’ve got dense breasts, you’ll want to ask for a 3D mammogram or tomosynthesis, which permits for higher most cancers detection in dense tissue than a 2D mammogram.”
Ought to mammograms be painful?
Whereas discomfort throughout a mammogram will differ from affected person to affected person, Dr. Bonaminio says that some ladies could discover the compression and breast paddles used for a mammogram to be uncomfortable.
“Conventional compression paddles had been designed to put flat and weren’t inherently versatile, which means that they didn’t observe the pure form of the breasts,” explains Dr. Bonaminio. “Moreover, these gadgets don’t all the time supply a uniform compression throughout the breast, which can result in ache and pinching.”
Luckily, mammogram tools has superior considerably—and these developments have made the examination snug for most girls. “Lots of at this time’s programs characteristic curved compression paddles fabricated from acrylic that contour to the breast to assist scale back pinching,” says Dr. Bonaminio. “In reality, these curved breast paddles have been proven to enhance consolation in 93 percent of patients who beforehand reported average to extreme discomfort utilizing customary mammography compression expertise.”
She provides that some sufferers could really feel discomfort through the mammogram when the technologist strikes you thru totally different positions and angles. A few of these actions could not really feel pure, however Dr. Bonaminio says the assorted positions are essential to seize one of the best pictures of your breasts through the examination.
“Don’t hesitate to inform your mammography technologist if one thing feels uncomfortable throughout an examination,” says Dr. Bonaminio. “They can modify your place and the machine’s compression to enhance your expertise.”
8 methods to make mammograms extra snug
One key to having a constructive mammogram examination expertise is setting your self up for achievement. Listed here are Dr. Bonaminio’s greatest suggestions:
- Put on a two-piece outfit (reasonably than a gown or jumpsuit) since you’ll must take away your high and bra for the examination.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your technologist any questions you might have throughout your examination. The mammogram tech might help clarify all the steps of the process and stroll you thru what’s going to occur subsequent.
- Schedule your mammogram one to 2 weeks after your interval as a result of the breasts are typically most tender the week earlier than and through menstruation.
- Take an over-the-counter ache drugs like acetaminophen or ibuprofen an hour earlier than your mammogram to assist scale back discomfort.
- Ask your technologist to make use of a curved breast compression paddle (if obtainable), which may lower down on the pinching and discomfort.
- Ask for a breast cushion. The pad can lower down on compression ache as a result of it will likely be positioned between your breasts and the underside plate of the machine.
- Inform your technologist in the event you’re experiencing discomfort. They can modify compression ranges and assist place you in a method that’s extra snug.
- Think about scheduling your mammogram examination across the similar time as a pal’s so that you just each have a built-in assist system and might help maintain one another accountable.
What to do in the event you’re anxious about getting a mammogram
Whereas these at common danger will start annual mammograms at age 40, everybody with breasts ought to begin speaking to their healthcare supplier about screening by age 25, suggests Dr. Bonaminio. “Some sufferers could also be thought-about high-risk resulting from a household historical past of breast most cancers, dense breast tissue, or different components,” she says. The necessary factor is to not let nerves preserve you from making the appointment.
“Attempt to view your mammogram as an everyday well being checkup, like a dental cleansing or annual bodily. The examination is an important device for enhancing your well being in the long term,” says Dr. Bonaminio. “You may as well create an inventory of inquiries to ask your healthcare skilled or mammography technologist to remove among the unknowns in regards to the examination.”
Merely put, early screening saves lives. “Annual screening mammography stays our greatest device within the struggle in opposition to breast most cancers,” says Dr. Bonaminio. “Being your personal advocate and taking an energetic position in your breast well being is empowering!”
Nicely+Good articles reference scientific, dependable, current, strong research to again up the data we share. You may belief us alongside your wellness journey.
- Monticicciolo, Debra L. et al “Breast Most cancers Screening Suggestions Inclusive of All Girls at Common Danger: Replace from the ACR and Society of Breast Imaging.” Journal of the American School of Radiology, vol. 18, no. 9, 2021, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jacr.2021.04.021.
- Friedewald, Sarah M et al. “Breast most cancers screening utilizing tomosynthesis together with digital mammography.” JAMA vol. 311,24 (2014): 2499-507. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.6095
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