Annual Mammograms

I had my first mammogram when I was 37 years old. I was surprised when my primary care doctor informed me about it. Apparently, they want to have a base reference on which to compare my future results in case one needs to be looked at closer. When I turned 40, I started having annual mammograms. My first experience was not uncomfortable nor painful. I was pleasantly surprised considering I've been hearing stories about painful mammograms. I can't say that about my last two exams though, it was so uncomfortable. There was even a point that I thought I was going to pass out. :( Good thing I didn't!

I read somewhere that you should schedule the test for a time when your breasts are least likely to be tender. They're often least tender during the week after your menstrual period. Your breasts are most likely to be tender the week before and the week during your period.
If you have breast implants, those can interfere with the image of a tumor. It You should have your mammogram at a facility that does a large number of these kind of examinations. It is best to have a radiologist that is experienced in reading mammograms from women with implants.

Along with the annual mammograms, women should also do a self-breast exam regularly. I'm ashamed to admit that I'm very bad at doing this. I know that I need and should do it but it just doesn't happen. Do you regularly check your breasts for lumps?

How To Prepare For A Mammogram:
*Don't apply deodorants, antiperspirants, powders, lotions, creams or perfumes
under your arms or on your breasts. Metallic particles in powders and deodorants
could be visible on your mammogram and cause confusion.

*Taking an over-the-counter pain medication, such as aspirin, acetaminophen
(Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), about an hour before your
mammogram might ease the discomfort of the test.

What can you expect during mammography?
At the testing facility, you're given a gown and asked to remove neck jewelry

and clothing from the waist up. It's a good idea to wear a two-piece outfit that day.

For the procedure itself, you stand in front of an X-ray machine specially designed for mammography. The technician places one of your breasts on a platform that holds the
X-ray film and raises or lowers the platform to match your height. The technician helps
you position your head, arms and torso to allow an unobstructed view of your breast.

Your breast is gradually pressed against the platform by a clear plastic plate. Pressure
is applied for a few seconds to spread out the breast tissue. The pressure isn't harmful,
but you may find it uncomfortable or even painful. If you have too much discomfort,
inform the technician.

Your breast must be compressed to even out its thickness and permit the X-rays to
penetrate the breast tissue. The pressure also holds your breast still to decrease
blurring from movement and minimizes the dose of radiation needed. During the
brief X-ray exposure, you'll be asked to stand still and hold your breath.

After images are made of both your breasts, you may be asked to wait while the
technician checks the quality of the images. If the views are inadequate for technical
reasons, you may have to repeat part of the test. The entire procedure usually takes
less than 30 minutes. Afterward, you may dress and resume normal activity.

Source: Mayo Clinic


  1. i have mine last march 29, it wasn't that uncomfortable in my left side and painful, but my leftside is painful. I said, aw.. hurt. Makita kaagad ngayon ang photo ng breast natin, but don't know what is the result of my mammograms. While taking shower mareng barb, you can do it that what my primary giving me a tip for self breast exam.

  2. Oo nga Mareng Lan, tamad lang kasi. I really should get in a habit of doing it. Malapit na ang alis ninyo, exciting! :)

  3. That's great ate you're compliant:) Aside from mammograms don't forget to have a Pap smear as well, especially in your 40's it is a must for women. Prevention's still the best. :)

  4. Hi Monica, yes, I do have annual papsmears also. It is something that nobody enjoys but is a MUST. :) Thanks for the comment.

  5. I've ben wanting to have mammogram coz we have a family history of this breast cancer but my gynecologist said that I'm still young,young?? Im almost 30 yrs old,sumasakit parati breasts ko at medyo may nakapaan akong parang umbok pero sabi naman daw nya ay mga glands kolang daw but I was never convinced talaga.
    Maybe next week ,we'll go to our generalist then ask for mammogram kasi gyne ko bwisit talaga!

    Hope I can have one before we move.

  6. Hello Amor, you should tell your physician about your family history of breast cancer. You're considered high-risk because of that so it is very important to do a self-breast exam. It's better to be safe than sorry. Good luck on the move. :)


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