Tips to Have a Painless Mammogram

woman smilingAre you avoiding getting a mammogram because you’re afraid it will hurt? About 25-45% of women who don’t get mammograms cite pain as the biggest factor.

Avoidance is not the answer. Mammograms are a vital part of taking care of your breast health. If you’re putting it off because you experienced pain in the past or you've never had a mammogram, follow the tips below to ensure better results.

What Is a Mammogram?

A mammogram is an x-ray of breast tissue used to detect masses, lumps, or other abnormalities that could be breast cancer. Mammograms are the single most useful tool doctors have for the early detection of breast cancer. Mammograms can detect abnormalities up to three years before you or your doctor can feel them during a physical exam. Catching cancer early leads to better long-term outcomes for a full recovery along with less invasive treatment options.

What Happens During a Mammogram?

During your exam, a technician will place your breast on flat surface and compress it with a plastic paddle to make it as flat and uniform as possible. The x-ray machine records images during this compression, which takes only a few seconds. Each breast is compressed and imaged twice during your exam to get a complete picture of your breast tissue. A radiologist will then interpret the x-rays and send the results to your primary doctor.

How Can I Experience a Painless Mammogram?

Although you might not be able to avoid some mild discomfort during your exam, a mammogram should not be overly painful. If you’ve had a painful mammogram in the past, tell your technician about your experience before the exam. Your technician will work with you to reduce any discomfort. Keep in mind that mammogram machinery has advanced over the years to help alleviate painful screenings. Try the following steps to further ease the possible discomfort of mammograms:

  • Schedule your mammogram for at least a week after the end of your period when your breasts are the least tender
  • Take a dose of Tylenol or Advil about an hour before your mammogram
  • Keep your feet and trunk facing the machine to avoid pain caused by twisting Twisting increases the chance that your breast tissue will overlap or pull, causing pain. Twisting can also lead to back pain
  • Let your technician know immediately if you’re uncomfortable. She will help adjust your positioning to alleviate pain
  • If you’re anxious, focus on taking deep, even breaths during the exam to keep your mind occupied
  • Expect additional imaging if you have breast implants. These “displacement” views are necessary to expose more natural breast tissue while also examining the condition of the implants

How Else Can I Prepare for a Painless Mammogram?

Follow these steps to help your mammogram experience go as quickly and smoothly as possible:

  • Don’t wear deodorant or powder to your appointment as these substances can contain tiny metallic ingredients that obscure x-rays
  • Wear a two-piece outfit so that you only have to remove your top before your exam
  • Choose a certified mammogram imaging center

Where Can I Get a Mammogram on Long Island?

PURE Mammography is Long Island’s top certified mammography center specializing in state-of-the-art 3D imaging. Our main goal at PURE is to offer the highest quality breast imaging in a relaxing atmosphere designed to put you at ease. Our spa-like facility offers amenities like warm robes and snacks before your exam in addition to relaxing exam rooms designed to give you the best mammogram experience possible. Contact us today for an appointment or to learn more information about our facility.

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