5 ways to make your mammogram better

October is breast cancer awareness month, and my message is get your mammograms!  Mammograms are important and are the most effective tool we have for early detection of breast cancer.  Breast cancer affects 1 in 7 women in the US, and is the second most common cancer in women. Mammograms save lives!

My sister hates her mammogram and dreads this every year.  She hates the process, the sterility and the invasiveness of it.  Fortunately, her insurance raises her premium if she does not get it.  For those of you who are in similar situations and just really don't like your mammogram for whatever reason, here are some tips to make it more enjoyable:

  • Develop a relationship with your doctor and try to schedule your mammogram in conjunction with your doctor's visit. I try to have my patients see me in the office immediately after their mammogram, so I can do an exam and review the images with them. This allows for a truly focused visit on breast health.
  • If you are truly afraid, bring a friend or schedule them together. My sister Kerry and her friend have scheduled appointments in a row and are making a day of it. While rules may be different with COVID, having a reassuring person around can help those of you with anxiety over mammograms.
  • Treat yourself after.  Go to lunch with that friend, go on a hike, get a massage or whatever you love to do.
  • Listen to calming music while waiting or practice meditation.
  • Be prepared.  Remember to not wear deodorant, leave extra time in case more pictures are needed.

Although the world may be crazy right now, remember your own health!