Mammograms are the best mode of identifying breast cancer. By detecting a tumor before it produces symptoms, women are given a better chance to fight it at an earlier stage before it has progressed. One of the most common questions women ask prior to undergoing a mammogram is: “are mammograms painful?” In this article, we will discuss how mammograms work and answer the burning question about whether they hurt or not.
What is a mammogram?
A mammogram is the best imaging tool that healthcare providers can use to detect early signs of breast cancer. Early detection can make all the difference in successful cancer treatment. Receiving a mammogram for the first time may cause anxiety. It’s hard to know what to expect if you’ve never done it, but scheduling a mammogram is an important and proactive step in taking care of your health.
What happens during a mammogram?
During a mammogram, your radiology technician will place your breast on a plate. Another plastic plate will compress and flatten the breast to take increase the imaging quality, then an X-ray machine will produce images of the breast and the process is repeated.
When should I get a mammogram?
The American Cancer Society recommends that women of average risk for developing breast cancer begin getting mammograms at age 45. After age 45, you should get a mammogram at least once per year. If you are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer, you should speak with your doctor or radiologist about how early you should begin receiving mammograms.
The level of pain or discomfort is sometimes dependent on the woman. While some women may feel a bit of pain during a mammogram, others may not experience any pain at all. Still, in some rare cases, women will feel extreme pain or discomfort during the exam.
What does a mammogram feel like?
Most women describe the overall feeling of a mammogram as uncomfortable from the plates that are being used to compress the breasts. Some women may experience different levels of pain or discomfort with each mammogram. The feeling or level of pain of a mammogram can also be dependent on other factors including:
- the size of your breasts
- if the exam is during or before your menstrual cycle
While mammograms can be uncomfortable, they are still one of the most valuable tools we have to diagnose breast cancer early and treat it before it has spread or become more severe. If you need a mammogram in Manhattan, book your appointment today with the women’s imaging specialists at Rosetta Radiology.