Is Your “Mammogram Anxiety” Preventing You From Scheduling Your Routine Screening?
Do you feel an anxious flutter in your chest when you think about your next trip to the breast center?
Do the fears that you associate with a mammogram prevent you from scheduling your routine screening?
If so, you are not alone. It is very common for women to feel a heightened level of anxiety before, during and after a mammogram. In fact, fear is the number one reason why women delay their routine mammography screenings.
According to the American College of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging, there are several common fears that women associate with having a mammogram. These include, but are not limited to: anticipated feelings of pain/discomfort, fear of abnormal findings, and hesitancy to radiation exposure. Our compassionate patient care team at Little Silver Mammography and HerSpace take every action to diminish each patient’s fears, ensuring each patient remains at ease from the moment she walks into our office to the moment she receives her results from our on-site radiologist.
Have you let your “mammogram anxiety” prevent you from receiving this life-saving, yearly screening exam? Allow us to debunk the 3 most common fears that prevent women from scheduling a mammogram so that we can help you eliminate your “mammogram anxiety”.
Fear #1: Feelings of Pain/Discomfort
Many women perceive a mammogram as a dreadful procedure. Unfortunately, this bad rap has been passed down from generation to generation and has instilled a preconceived fear into women before they have personally experienced a mammogram for themselves.
While every woman can agree that a mammogram is not something to look forward to, your experience does not have to be an uncomfortable one.Your yearly trip to the breast center can be pleasant and rewarding. Contrary to popular belief, not all women experience pain/ discomfort during a mammogram, and any discomfort that may be felt is minor and brief.
If you have personally experienced a painful mammogram that has prevented you from continuing your annual exams, you will be happy to know that there are precautions that you can take to minimize your risk of experiencing pain, which include:
- Scheduling your mammogram opposite of your menstrual cycle schedule:
Women are advised to avoid scheduling a mammogram the week before or during their menstrual cycle. Scheduling your appointment accordingly will prevent you from having the exam when your breasts may be tender or swollen due to hormonal fluctuations related to your menstrual cycle.
- Cutting back on caffeine:
While not proven, research evidence has revealed that women who reduce caffeine intake 1 to 2 weeks prior to having a mammogram can reduce the possibility of pain and tenderness that are caused by fibrocystic breast changes.
- Consider Taking an NSAID Pain Reliever 1 Hour Prior to Your Appointment:
This may reduce inflammation that has the potential of increasing your likelihood of experiencing discomfort.
- Most Importantly, Communication with Your Technologist:
If you experience pain during your mammogram, never hesitate to let your technologist know. Our technologists at Little Silver Mammography & HerSpace are dedicated to maintaining clear communication with each patient, and are more than happy to work with you to ensure that you are comfortable every step of the way.
Little Silver Mammography & HerSpace utilizes the Hologic Genius 3D mammography machine. This machine was designed with patient comfort and satisfaction in mind, offering patients a maximum compression time of less than 4 seconds- which is the shortest compression time available- thus minimizing overall risk of discomfort.
Fear #2: Abnormal Findings: While it is normal to fear the discovery of an abnormal finding on your mammogram, never allow the fear of uncertainty to be the reason to discourage you from having a mammogram. Early detection is the best prevention. Should any abnormalities be discovered, the earlier that they are detected, the more treatable they will be.
Fear # 3: Hesitancy to Radiation Exposure: Many women are concerned with the risks of radiation exposure from a mammogram. While it is true that a 3D mammogram does expose you to a low dose of radiation, the exposure is so minuscule that the benefits of receiving the exam far outweigh the risks of exposure to radiation.
At Little Silver Mammography & HerSpace, our compassionate patient care team anticipates patient anxieties and takes every action to put patients at ease as each of our team members understands just how stressful a mammogram can be.
Every aspect of our spa-like facility has been designed with patient relaxation and comfort in mind to cultivate the most stress-free breast imaging experience possible. Our team desires each patient to leave our office feeling proud of herself for prioritizing her health, confident in the results of her exam, and with true satisfaction with the care that she received at our Breast Center.