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First Mammogram Tips

I am due up for my first mammogram and I am dreading it. Anyone have any tips for overcoming the fear and pain involved? Can you take pain medicine before hand? Do they keep you in the vise grip for long? How long does the procedure last? Any tips will be much appreciated.

Amy from USA


First Mammogram Tips

Relax it is not as bad as you are anticipating. They only keep you in the grip hold long enough to take the needed pictures. Only 30 - 45 seconds per picture. They take 4 pictures total unless one does not come out clear they will take and extra one. You do not need any pain meds. The total time it takes is about 15 minutes from set up to finish. Then they read the x-rays and tell you the results. I have had 2 in the last 9 months and have had no problems with them.


By Debra

First Mammogram Tips

I, too, had my 1st mammogram a year ago and I had the same concerns since I am a large-breasted woman. I am also an X-ray Technologist (not the ones who do the mammograms) so I had the rudiments of training during my own schooling. I must tell you that it wasn't nearly as bad as I had built it up in my mind.


Here are some important concepts to keep in mind.

  1. Maximum compression is extremely necessary. If the tissue is not compressed enough important pathology could be missed. Just remind yourself that this must be done to make sure you have healthy breasts.
  2. While the compression does keep you very still be sure that when the Tech tells you to hold your breath and not move that you don't breath, move or squirm. Motion on an x-ray is like taking a picture of a moving object. It's blurry and you can't see fine details. Cancer can be extremely small (and that means potentially more curable if it's found at that time). Our Radiologists, and I'm sure those everywhere, use a large magnifying glass to examine the x-rays. That's how tiny cancer can be.

  3. Be sure not to use deodorant or powder on the breast or armpit areas on the day of your exam. If you're going after work you can use it and they should supply you with towelettes in the changing area to wipe any off with. Or do what I did and actually bring a washcloth and step into the restroom to give yourself a thorough cleaning. Powder/Deodorant residue will show up on an x-ray and can look like pathology.
  4. If you don't get your results the day of your exam don't be surprised if you get a "call-back" for further pictures. My technologist told me about this and still I mentally freaked out when I got the call. The reason for this is because mammogram films are always compared to previous films if they are available. If something is suspicious on a 1st mammogram they have no other films to compare to. In my case it was a pea-sized cyst. They were very certain that's all it was but they had me come back, put me in compression and then ultra-sounded the area to be sure. Even this second time being compressed was not at all bad.

Hope this helps you. Best of luck. (09/18/2006)

By Rav4girl

First Mammogram Tips

I am 54 years old have been having these things since i was around 36. When they first started them I have to admit they hurt. Advances in the machine has changed all that. They have what is called a soft mammogram and it doesn't hurt at all. The little discomfort you will feel is well worth the knowledge that you don't have cancer, believe me. Good luck, stay calm. God bless you. (09/19/2006)

By Madeline

First Mammogram Tips

I had my second one this week and it wasn't bad. They had a "soft pad" so there was no exposure to a cold machine. I am overweight and they had to put a sticker on the nipples this time but they are no problem to pull off after the x-rays. Just relax and it'll be over before you know it. (09/19/2006)


By hwalz.

First Mammogram Tips

I will soon be 65 so I have had many mammograms. I have had some that did not hurt at all. The ones that did 'hurt', the pain lasted just a few seconds, and you forget it, like you forget labor pains. I am in a motorized chair, and with my last mammogram, the technician was able to lower the machine so I did not have to get out of my chair. It is hard for me to stand for more than a few seconds, so this was a big help to me. (09/20/2006)

By Linda from Illinois

First Mammogram Tips

I didn't know it was supposed to be painful and I didn't have any trouble with it. If you expect to have pain, you may have it. (10/24/2006)

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