Facing the unknown can be stressful, so if you’ve scheduled your first mammogram, you may be feeling a bit nervous about what to expect. We understand.
Knowing that new experiences can cause anxiety, we do all we can to make your mammogram appointment comfortable. Dr. James Lee and our team of caring medical professionals at Woodstock Family Practice & Urgent Care specialize in family medicine.
Our wide-ranging services include compassionate women’s health care, which focuses on issues unique to women.
One of the most important screening tests a woman can get is a mammogram, which helps us spot breast cancer early. If you’ve never had a mammogram, don’t worry. Here, our team walks you through the process so you know exactly what to expect.
What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is simply an X-ray of your breasts. We use it to detect early signs of breast cancer and evaluate any changes in your breast tissues. Mammograms are especially helpful in investigating suspicious lumps we might find during a physical exam or other imaging tests — or you may notice during a self-exam.
During the procedure, we place your breast between two plates and take an X-ray image. The compression ensures that all areas of your breast show up clearly in the image.
Why are mammograms important?
Mammograms are important because they can detect cancer in its earliest stages when it’s most treatable. Regular screenings can catch any abnormalities before they become more serious health issues.
Mammograms aren’t just for cancer detection, either; they often spot benign (noncancerous) conditions, such as cysts or fibroadenomas that may need further evaluation or treatment.
How to prepare for your first mammogram
Skip your daily application of deodorants, powders, perfumes, or lotions on your breasts or underarms before your mammogram. These products may show up on the X-ray images and interfere with our interpretation of the results.
If possible, try to schedule your appointment one week after your period ends, as breasts tend to be less tender at this time.
Finally, wear a two-piece outfit so you only have to remove your top for the procedure.
How to minimize discomfort during and after your mammogram
While mammograms aren’t painful, they can be uncomfortable for a few seconds when the compression plates squeeze your breast tissue. To minimize discomfort during your mammogram, take slow, deep breaths while each breast is being compressed to relax your muscles.
Afterward, you might experience some mild soreness in your breasts, but it should go away within a few hours.
How to reduce stress and anxiety about your mammogram
It’s normal to feel anxious before your first mammogram, so take some proactive steps to keep yourself calm.
Get a firsthand account
Talk with family members or friends who have had mammograms. Although some women like to joke about the experience, you learn during a heart-to-heart with a trusted female that there’s nothing to fear.
Our information here is a good starting point, but keep going. Read up on what happens during a mammogram, watch videos, and gather all the information you can.
Every woman has a different mammogram experience and has different concerns. Don’t be shy about asking questions. We love to discuss our procedures and want to address all of your concerns.
Some women feel better when they have a friend or family member with them, so go ahead and invite your mom or your bestie.
Relaxing is easier said than done, so you may have to practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, to calm your mind.
Finally, if you have any uncertainties about getting a mammogram or would like more information about them, please discuss them with us at Woodstock Family Practice & Urgent Care in Woodstock, Georgia.
Call or click to schedule an appointment — we’re here to make your first mammogram a positive experience.