Topic: Do Mammograms Hurt? What You Need to Know
Why mammograms matter
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.
Getting 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.
Being prepared for the mammogram may help ease your mind as you get ready for your exam. Keep reading to learn more about the procedure and what to expect in terms of pain.
Will it hurt?
Everyone experiences mammograms differently. Some women may feel pain during the procedure, and others may not feel anything at all.
Most women feel some discomfort during the actual X-ray process. The pressure against your breasts from the testing equipment can cause pain or discomfort, and that’s normal.
This part of the process should only last for a few minutes. Still, other women feel extreme pain during the exam. Your pain level may vary with every mammogram you receive depending on:
- the size of your breasts
- the timing of the exam in relation to your menstrual cycle
- the variations in positioning for the mammogram
- When to schedule your mammogram
When scheduling your mammogram, take your menstrual cycle into account. The week after your period ends tends to be the ideal time to get a mammogram. Avoid scheduling your exam for the week before your period. That’s when your breasts will be most tender.
The American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends that women of average risk for developing breast cancer risk between the ages of 40-49 should speak to their healthcare provider about whether to start getting mammograms before age 50.
The American Cancer Society (ACS)Trusted Source recommends that women of average risk for developing breast cancer schedule their first mammogram by age 45, with the option to start at age 40.
After age 45, you should get a mammogram at least once per year with the option to switch to every other year at age 55.
While the ACP and ACS recommendations vary slightly, the decision when and how often to get mammograms should be a decision between you and your healthcare provider.
If you’re of average risk for developing breast cancer, you should begin talking to your healthcare provider about mammograms at age 40.
If you do have a family history of breast cancer, especially early breast cancer, tell your healthcare provider. They may recommend more frequent mammograms.
Topic Discussed: Do Mammograms Hurt? What You Need to Know
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