Tips to Prepare for Your Mammogram

Tips to Prepare for Your Mammogram

According to the American Cancer Society, about 1 in 8 U.S. women (about 12%) will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. Breast cancer screening tests such as mammograms can find breast cancer before a person notices any physical symptoms. Early detection can prevent having to undergo invasive treatments while providing better outcomes. 

While there isn’t much prep work needed for a mammogram, there are still some things you should be aware of to make sure your results are accurate and your experience is as comfortable as possible.

  • Deodorant and skincare

Deodorant, perfume, lotion, creams, and any other substance on and around your breasts can show up in the mammogram screenings as white spots, causing inaccurate readings. Please refrain from applying these on areas surrounding your breasts, including under your arms. Feel free to bring these items with you to apply after the exam. If you forget and apply deodorant before the exam, no need to worry. The imaging staff will ask you to wipe it off prior to the mammogram. Other breast imaging exams such as breast MRI or breast ultrasound may also require you not to apply these products.

  • One-piece outfits

In the standard type of mammogram, each breast is pressed between 2 plates in an x-ray machine and an image is made. It is best to wear two pieces (pants/skirt with a top) that are easy to remove so you can keep your bottoms on during the exam. Clothes such as dresses, rompers, and jumpsuits will require you to strip down more than is necessary for this type of exam.

  • Examinations during menstrual cycle

During your period, your breasts may be more tender/swollen around this time, which can cause extra discomfort during the mammogram. If you’re pre-menopausal, doctors suggest that the best time to go is about a week after your period.

  • Caffeine 

Caffeine products such as coffee or chocolate should not be injected from several days to up to two weeks before your appointment. Although caffeine will not affect your mammogram results (so no worries if you do accidentally have some), it could cause breast tenderness for women who are sensitive to it.

  • Additional questions or concerns

Everyone involved in your scan wants to give you the best experience possible. At any point before or after your breast cancer exam, do not hesitate to bring up concerns you may have. Whether you’re curious about other types of mammograms such as 3D mammograms, or the likelihood of developing other types of cancers (cervical cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer), it is important to feel comfortable enough with your team to talk about these matters. Screening to find cancer may be intimidating and your team understands that.

  • Anxiety

Although some women may feel some pain during a mammogram screening, most should only feel a slight discomfort. Remember to discuss your concerns with your primary care physician, specialist, or technician. This is a judgment-free zone. 

Screening mammograms are recommended for all women without breast symptoms over the age of 40 on a yearly basis. It is also recommended that women perform a monthly breast self-exam and undergo a clinical breast exam by their physician annually. The risk of breast cancer is different for every individual which is why it is important to talk to your doctor about questions and concerns regarding breast cancer

To book a scan, visit us at Medmo helps people schedule radiology imaging tests – such as MRI, CT scans, PET, and more – at nearby accredited centers and identify the payment solution that works best for them.


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