What You Need to Know Before Your First Mammogram

No one wants her breast smashed in a vice, but it's not that bad. Yes, everyone’s busy. Do it anyway. Screening saves lives. If you’ve never had a mammogram, here’s what to expect: The prep On the day of your exam, skip the deodorant because it can interfere with the results of your images. Yes, you might be nervous and sweaty. Maybe you’ll even smell like the locker of your favorite football team after an overtime game in the tropics. So what? It’s better than cancer. The exam doesn’t take very long, and when it’s over, you can have all the girly soap and antiperspirant you want. You’ll be asked to disrobe from the waist up, so be sure to wear a skirt or pants instead of a dress to your appointment. That way, you’ll only be naked on the top part of your body. The look Your clinic will give you a fabulous gown to wear while your own clothes languish on a hook. Spoiler alert: these gown are not like the sequinned, off-the-shoulder numbers you see on Oscar night. Usually, they’re pale blue or some other unflattering color, made from a horrible piece of fabric, and they tie loosely in the front so that if you move a muscle, you’ll expose yourself to everybody in sight. No worries. The people around you are all either there for the same reason, or they’re working to make sure you stay cancer-free. MORE: How to get a good night's sleep after a cancer diagnosis The wait While you wait for your turn, you’ll get to catch up on all the magazines you wanted to read but haven’t had time for. You may even find a recipe to tear out and t
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5 comments

  1. Great article! You might want to follow up with this article and ask – What to do after you have a mammogram? It is critically important that women read their ENTIRE mammography reporting results – in 31 states legislators passed laws to protect women with dense breast tissue from delayed and advanced breast cancer – as dense breast tissue hides cancer on 2d and 3d mammograms – Read your report and look for information about you breast tissue composition – if there is nothing about this in your report, call your breast center and ask if you have dense tissue – if you do, talk to your docs about added screening beyond the mammogram. For more information and a patient friendly guide to screening women with dense breasts http://www.areyoudenseadvocacy.org

    • Nancy Brier says:

      A few years ago, if you told me I’d be discussing my breasts on the internet, I never would have believed it. But the fact is that I have dense breast tissue, and there’s no such thing as TMI when it comes to preventing cancer. Thanks for a great suggestion – I’ll follow up.

      • Thanks Nancy – yes me too – average risk woman and NEVER missed my mammogram – stage 3C – the culprit was dense tissue & never knew I had it nor should be concerned even though it was in peer reviewed research for decades!

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