Getting a mammogram isn’t going to really feel like a soothing spa remedy. However ought to mammograms be painful? No. Thankfully, there are a number of methods to make the check much less bodily and emotionally uncomfortable.
Irrespective of how nervous and even anxious you could really feel about getting a mammogram, the screening is crucial for the early detection of breast most cancers, says radiologist Dana Bonaminio, MD, who focuses on breast imaging and image-guided procedures. “One in eight ladies can be identified with breast most cancers in her lifetime. Routine exams can scale back the mortality price of breast most cancers by 40 p.c1, and might 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 price of breast most cancers by 40 p.c.” —Dana Bonaminio, MD
She says that early detection of breast most cancers not solely improves survival charges, however it will possibly additionally make remedy simpler and cheaper. Annual mammograms are one of the best ways to remain on prime 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 information everybody with breasts ought to know, in addition to her greatest ideas that may assist make mammograms much less painful—each bodily and mentally.
What must you anticipate from a mammogram?
A part of the mammogram nervousness that many individuals expertise has to do with merely not figuring out what to anticipate. So Dr. Bonaminio walked us by means of the steps of a typical mammogram examination.
- 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 photos doable.
- Your breasts can be uncovered one by one to take two photos with the mammography system. One picture can be of the highest and backside of the breast and the second backward and forward.
- In case you are getting a 3D mammography examination, the machine will transfer in an arc over your breasts, and you could be requested to carry your breath throughout this a part of the examination.
“You’ll probably 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 in case you have by no means had one earlier than, the entire course of may 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 photos and be in contact with outcomes inside just a few days, both by telephone or mail.
“Getting referred to as again for added views is pretty widespread, particularly after your first or baseline mammogram,” says Dr. Bonaminio. “Your radiologist may additionally ship you a report about your breast density. In the event you uncover that you’ve got dense breasts, you should definitely 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 range 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 units don’t at all times provide a uniform compression throughout the breast, which can result in ache and pinching.”
Thankfully, mammogram gear has superior considerably—and these developments have made the examination snug for most girls. “Lots of right this moment’s programs function curved compression paddles product of acrylic that contour to the breast to assist scale back pinching,” says Dr. Bonaminio. “Actually, these curved breast paddles have been proven to enhance consolation in 93 p.c of sufferers who beforehand reported reasonable to extreme discomfort utilizing customary mammography compression know-how.”
She provides that some sufferers could really feel discomfort throughout 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 photos of your breasts throughout the examination.
“Don’t hesitate to inform your mammography technologist if one thing feels uncomfortable throughout an examination,” says Dr. Bonaminio. “They can alter 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 fulfillment. Listed here are Dr. Bonaminio’s greatest ideas:
- Put on a two-piece outfit (slightly than a gown or jumpsuit) since you’ll have to take away your prime and bra for the examination.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your technologist any questions you’ve gotten throughout your examination. The mammogram tech might help clarify the entire steps of the process and stroll you thru what is going to occur subsequent.
- Schedule your mammogram one to 2 weeks after your interval as a result of the breasts are usually 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 minimize down on the pinching and discomfort.
- Ask for a breast cushion. The pad can minimize 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 should you’re experiencing discomfort. They can alter compression ranges and assist place you in a approach that’s extra snug.
- Take into account scheduling your mammogram examination across the similar time as a buddy’s so that you just each have a built-in assist system and might help maintain one another accountable.
What to do should 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 as a result of a household historical past of breast most cancers, dense breast tissue, or different elements,” she says. The vital factor is to not let nerves preserve you from making the appointment.
“Attempt to view your mammogram as a daily well being checkup, like a dental cleansing or annual bodily. The examination is a vital instrument for enhancing your well being in the long term,” says Dr. Bonaminio. “You can too create an inventory of inquiries to ask your healthcare skilled or mammography technologist to remove a number of the unknowns concerning the examination.”
Merely put, early screening saves lives. “Annual screening mammography stays our greatest instrument within the combat towards breast most cancers,” says Dr. Bonaminio. “Being your personal advocate and taking an lively function in your breast well being is empowering!”
Properly+Good articles reference scientific, dependable, latest, 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 Ladies at Common Threat: Replace from the ACR and Society of Breast Imaging.” Journal of the American Faculty 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