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Preparing for your first mammogram

How to prepare – and what to expect – before your first mammogram

You might feel nervous before going in for your first mammogram – in fact, many women do. Knowing what to expect can help soothe those nerves before going in.

The mammogram uses X-rays (low-dose radiation) to see the inside of your breast. Compression (flattening) of the breast tissue is needed to get the highest quality image. Compression is not dangerous to your breast. Any mild discomfort should be temporary. A mammogram is performed by a radiology technologist or mammography technologist, then the images are analyzed by a doctor who specializes in evaluating X-rays (radiologist).

Know before you go:

  • Schedule the test for a time when your breasts are least likely to be tender. If you haven’t gone through menopause, that’s usually during the week after your menstrual period. Your breasts are most likely to be tender the week before and the week during your period.
  • Don’t use deodorant before your mammogram. Avoid using deodorants, antiperspirants, powders, lotions, creams or perfumes under your arms or on your breasts. Metallic particles in powder and deodorants could be visible on your mammogram and cause confusion. All of our locations provide wipes if you forget.
  • Consider an over-the-counter pain medication if you find that having a mammogram is uncomfortable. Taking aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, etc.) about an hour before your mammogram might ease the discomfort of the test.

Your comfort and peace of mind are priority number one for our expert clinicians. If it’s time for your first mammogram, schedule your appointment today:

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