Prepping for your mammogram

Archive, Month, October

A few simple preparations can make a mammogram appointment more comfortable.

It’s time for another mammogram.

The appointment is made and there’s no question that this screening has been proven to save lives through its ability to detect breast cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages.

That fact aside, the screening itself can leave women feeling slightly vulnerable and perhaps a little bit uncomfortable.

But a few simple preparations can make the process go smoother and easier for the patient.

OK to skip the deodorant

Deodorants, powders, creams, lotions and perfumes have particles that might show up on the screening and cause some confusion in the mammogram images.


Leave jewelry at home

Any jewelry would have to be removed so it won’t interfere with the scan, so it might as well be left at home to avoid being misplaced.


Pain relief medicine is OK

If previous mammograms have been physically uncomfortable, it’s OK to take a mild, over-the-counter pain reliever about an hour before your appointment.


Wear a top and bottom

While nurses will provide patients with a gown to wear when disrobing, it’s a good idea to wear a top that’s easy to remove with bottoms that can remain on during the procedure to avoid feeling more exposed.


Wear comfortable shoes

Flats, sneakers and even flip-flops are more comfortable than other shoe options when the mammogram technician asks patients to move, lean and hold a position.


Take all your meds

Some procedures require patients to cease taking any meds before their appointment. Mammograms are not the case — it’s OK to take all prescribed medications on the day of the appointment.


Taper the caffeine

Caffeine can make some women’s breasts more tender, and if this is the case, it’s advisable to consume less caffeine beginning a few days before the screening.


Bring breast history

At every appointment, especially one at a new location, it’s beneficial to the clinical staff to see past mammograms and any noted developments and/or changes in breast health since the last mammogram.