Do Mammograms Hurt?

woman getting a mammogramAs the single most effective tool in the early detection of breast cancer, mammograms can be a lifesaver. Mammograms pinpoint tiny masses and abnormalities well before a woman notices any symptoms. If you’re older than 40, which is the age most doctors and cancer organizations recommend beginning yearly mammograms, you might be delaying your first screening because you’re afraid it will hurt. Rest assured that painless mammography is possible for most women.

Will My Mammogram Hurt?

Although most women experience painless mammography, women report different levels of discomfort during the procedure. Many women report some minor discomfort when the breasts are compressed between the clear plastic paddles during imaging; however, as soon as the pressure is released the pain goes away. Tell your technician if you are highly uncomfortable during your test. The technician can help you by repositioning your breasts to find a more comfortable position.

The following factors can affect the amount of pain you feel during a mammogram:

  • Your breast size
  • Where you are in your menstrual cycle when you schedule your screening
  • The experience of your technician

When Should I Schedule My Mammogram?

Painless mammography is possible when you take steps to schedule your mammogram at the most optimal time. For most women, the best time is anytime in the first week after the end of your menstrual cycle. If possible, don’t schedule your screening the week before your cycle because that’s when breasts are most tender and susceptible to pain.

As a reminder, the American Cancer Association recommends women begin scheduling a mammogram each year starting at age 40. If you have a family history of breast cancer, you and your doctor may decide to start your screening earlier and more frequently.

What Should I Expect During My Mammogram?

When you check in at your facility, expect to answer questions about any prior mammograms you’ve had and your family history of breast and other cancer. Before your exam, you’ll be given a gown and will be asked to remove all articles of clothing and jewelry from the waist up.

During the exam, the technician will place your breast between two clear plastic paddles. The paddles will flatten the breast to an even thickness to expose the most tissue as possible for imaging. The technician will take images from several different angles and then repeat the procedure on the other breast.

You should expect to receive your mammogram results within a few business days, but call your facility if you haven’t gotten your results after 30 days. If any abnormalities are detected, you’ll follow up with your doctor to decide on the next steps.

To increase the chances of a painless screening, take a dose of Tylenol or Advil before your mammogram.

Will I Experience Pain After My Mammogram?

Painless mammography is the norm for most women. Some women may report lingering pain after the screening, but this is rare. Breast tenderness and pain tolerance levels are unique to each woman. Inform your technician if you are highly sensitive so that they can make the procedure as painless as possible.

Why Should I Choose PURE Mammography for my Screening?

At PURE, painless mammography and compassionate care are our top goals. Our technicians are highly trained in performing mammograms and will listen to ensure your exam is as painless and stress-free as possible.

PURE is the only mammogram facility on Long Island that’s conveniently located inside a shopping mall. No appointment is necessary, so you can drop in anytime. Call us today at 631-652-3424 or visit us online for more information.

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