Sunday, October 2, 2011

Less Mammogram Stress

It's October and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Time to be thinking about scheduling that mammogram. Let's see what's worse...a mammogram or...actually it's hard to think of anything worse! Here to help you lessen your mammogram stress are 7 ideas for you to try.

1. Reduce the pain! Avoid caffeine (makes your breasts tender). Most women experience the least amount of breast tenderness during the first 2 weeks of the menstrual cycle so this a good time to schedule your next mammogram. An OTC painkiller such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen taken about an hour before your mammogram may help to reduce any pain or discomfort you may feel during the mammography procedure.

2. Book a morning appointment so you can get in and out quickly and minimize that stress in the waiting room.

3. Wear a comfy outfit.  If you wear a two-piece outfit you can strip from the waste up and keep on your regular clothes from the waist down.

4. The tech is trained to perform your mammogram not read the results. So don't think you can get an idea of whether anything is not right by reading her face.

5. Go to a facility that does a lot of mammogram screenings and is certified by the American College of Radiology. They’ll have high-quality technicians and radiologists on staff.  There’s a list of certified facilities on the website for the Food & Drug Administration, or you can call the National Cancer Institute at 800-422-6237.

6. If you’re switching mammogram centers, make sure your new center has copies of your previous mammograms so your radiologists has a better understanding of what's normal for you. That can help to reduce false-positive results.

7. Don’t wear perfume, antiperspirant/deodorant, talcum powder, or jewelry. They can interfere with the accuracy of the image.

8. Shake your arms to release tension before the technician sets you up for the test.

9.Look for your results in the mail. The Mammography Quality Standards Act of 1992 requires that centers send patients a written report within 30 days of the test. Suspicious results must be given even sooner.  Call and ask about your test results if you don’t receive a notice after about 10 days.

10. If you do receive an abnormal report, ask for a second review by a radiologist who reads at least 300 mammograms a month.

I've also read about something called the MammoPad. It cushions the breast and makes your mammogram much less painful. You might ask your technician about this or ask when scheduling your mammogram. The center where I go to get my mammogram didn't have it the last time I was there. When I call to schedule my next appt. you can be sure I'll ask about it!
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