How to Prepare for Your First Mammogram

Even though breast cancer awareness month is several months away, it’s always important to be talking about preventative measures. Unfortunately, many women are afraid of the most common and effective tool in the detection of early cancer: mammograms. Here at Rosetta Radiology, we want you to feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible; these are our top six tips and ways to prepare for your mammogram.

What Is A Mammogram?

While most women are familiar with the idea of a mammogram, not everyone knows what it entails. A mammogram is a basic imaging procedure that uses ionizing radiation (miniscule amounts) to visualize the internal structure of your breasts. A special x-ray machine will be used to take pictures that a radiologist can evaluate for abnormalities. 

In order to see all of the tissue clearly, your technician will likely need to manipulate your breasts so that they are as thin as possible. This can be uncomfortable for some women, but knowing what to expect in advance can help you manage your expectations.

Ways To Prepare For Your Mammogram

1 – Ask Questions

If you are armed with knowledge, your first mammogram can only go smoothly. Make sure to bring a list of all of your questions to your radiology consultation. Ask your doctor to explain the process, how it will feel, and what you can do to minimize pain during the procedure. Generally speaking, your breasts will be the least tender one week after your period is over. If you can schedule your mammogram around this time, you may not experience much pain.

2 – Avoid Cosmetic Products

Although it might seem awkward to go out of the house without deodorant or your favorite lotion, your skin has to be completely clean around your torso. Cosmetics and skincare products can cause shadows and image distortion; if you don’t want to come back for a repeat scan, ditch the deodorant for your mammogram.

3 – Avoid Caffeine

If you are one of many people who are sensitive to caffeine, you might want to skip your morning cup of joe for a few days. Caffeine tends to make the breast tissue more tender, which could be a problem while your ladies are getting squished. Try waking up with a cup of caffeine-free tea and treat yourself to a double-shot latte when the procedure is over.

4 – Take an OTC Pain Reliever Beforehand

A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) like ibuprofen (Advil) could help your procedure be less painful, too. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) might work, as well. Make sure you talk to your doctor before taking new medications if you already have some prescribed – this will help to avoid unwanted drug interactions.

5 – Wear Appropriate Clothing

You will be standing for the imaging procedure, unless you have physical limitations for standing for long periods. Wear comfortable shoes, and consider wearing an outfit that opens in the front fairly easily. If you have an old nursing bra or nursing shirt lying around from a previous pregnancy, now would be the time to rock it! Above all, dress comfortably; you’re going to thank us.

6 – Try Some Stress-Busters

If it’s your first time, you’re likely going to be nervous. Mammograms are notoriously an uncomfortable procedure, but they’re extremely necessary. If you’re feeling anxious, try some meditative techniques like breathing exercises or yoga the day or morning before your procedure. You could also try applying some lavender essential oil to the back of your neck to help you relax beforehand.

Mammogram In Manhattan, New York

If you need a mammogram and live in the Manhattan area, the team at Rosetta Radiology can help make your first experience a smooth one. To schedule an appointment with our radiology specialists, contact us today