How you prepare

By Mayo Clinic Staff

To prepare for your mammogram:

  • Choose a certified mammogram facility. Ask whether the mammogram facility is certified by the Food and Drug Administration. This certification will ensure that the facility meets certain standards.
  • Schedule the test for a time when your breasts are least likely to be tender. If you haven't gone through menopause, that's usually during the week after your menstrual period. Your breasts are most likely to be tender the week before and the week during your period.
  • Bring your prior mammogram images. If you're going to a new facility for your mammogram, gather any prior mammograms and bring them with you to your appointment so that the radiologist can compare them with your new images.
  • Don't use deodorant before your mammogram. Avoid using 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.
  • Consider an over-the-counter pain medication if you find that having a mammogram is uncomfortable. Taking an over-the-counter pain medication, such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others), about an hour before your mammogram might ease the discomfort of the test.
Aug. 20, 2013