Preparing For Your First Mammogram: Four Helpful Tips

Posted on: 10 November 2018

Regular mammograms can help spot breast cancer and other conditions early, making them an essential part of your women's health plan. If you've never had a mammogram before, here are some helpful tips you can use to prepare for this test and to make the experience as comfortable as possible.

Ask About Results

Depending on your doctor's approach, you may have different options available for receiving the results of your mammogram. Some facilities will let you wait after the test is complete to have the results read for you. However, your doctor may prefer to read and discuss the results with you at an appointment. When you schedule your mammogram, ask if there is an option to wait for the results in the office. A shorter wait can help ease your anxiety and give you the information you need to determine next steps if they are needed.

Bring Support

Even if you don't have a family history of breast cancer, the process of having a mammogram performed can be unsettling. If you are concerned about what the results might be, consider bringing a friend, family member, or life partner to accompany you. Having someone there in the event of bad news can provide an excellent source of support during a potentially difficult time.

Consider Over-The-Counter Pain Relievers

A traditional mammogram isn't typically painful, but some women do experience some minor pain and discomfort . If you are concerned about potential pain, consider taking over-the-counter pain relievers in advance of your visit. Your doctor can help you determine whether or not this is the right approach for you, and your doctor can also recommend the type and dosage to take before your mammogram.

Avoid Lotions And Deodorant

The equipment used to perform mammograms is sensitive, and it can pick up on minute particles. Lotions, perfumes, deodorants, creams, and other personal care items can contain the types of particles that might show up in a mammogram. To avoid a false result during your mammogram, shower before arriving and avoid deodorants and other skincare items. If you prefer, you can bring a bottle of your signature perfume and your daily deodorant with you to the appointment. After the mammogram is complete, you can apply them to feel more like yourself.

The hospital, doctor's office, or medical facility you schedule your mammogram at can help you determine which other things you should do in advance, such as filling out forms online or bringing a detailed medical history.