It’s true that mammograms save lives, but there are a lot of misconceptions
people take as “truths” about getting one. We asked one of
our imaging pros to answer a few of the top googled mammogram questions.
Do I have to fully undress for a mammogram?
No, but if you wear a dress, you will be almost fully undressed! It’s
best to wear a skirt and shirt or pants and shirt – that way you
will just have to slip your top on and off.
What should I expect when I go to get my mammogram?
The entire process takes about 20 minutes. After going through a brief
questionnaire with the radiology technologist, you’ll stand next
to the x-ray machine. Two flat surfaces will slowly squeeze together and
compress each breast for a few seconds. That’s it!
Can I use deodorant before a mammogram?
Avoid using deodorants, perfumes, or lotions from the waist up the day
of your mammogram. Metallic ingredients in some products can show up on
a mammogram. If you forget, they should have wipes on hand for you to use.
Are mammograms painful?
You may be worried that a mammogram will be painful. Basically, we’re
compressing your breasts so we can see any lumps or irregularities clearly.
But, the reality is that while some women say it’s a little uncomfortable,
you shouldn’t feel any pain during a mammogram. And there are certain
situations that make breasts more tender than usual. If you do feel pain, tell the technician right away! The machine could
be at the wrong height.
When should I get a mammogram?
It’s recommended that you start getting an annual mammogram at age
40. If you’re at a higher risk of breast cancer, meaning you have
a family history of breast cancer, you should consult your doctor about
beginning annual mammograms even earlier. And of course if you feel a
lump in your breast, or anything else out of the ordinary, call your doctor
immediately, no matter your age or if you’re due for your annual
What if I have breast implants?
You should still follow the recommended guidelines for mammography. Special
mammographic views must be taken of both the breast tissue and the implant,
but your radiology tech will know how to position your breast to get the
optimal image while minimizing the risk of injuring your implant.