How you prepare

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, request to have any prior mammograms placed on a CD. Bring the CD with you to your appointment so that the radiologist can compare past mammograms 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, 2016
References
  1. Breast cancer screening (PDQ). National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/types/breast/hp/breast-screening-pdq. Accessed June 3, 2016.
  2. Mammography. RadiologyInfo.org. http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=mammo. Accessed June 3, 2016.
  3. Adam A, et al. The breast. In: Grainger & Allison's Diagnostic Radiology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2015. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed May 10, 2016.
  4. Smith RA, et al. Cancer screening in the United States, 2016: A review of current American Cancer Society guidelines and current issues in cancer screening. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2016;66:95.
  5. Screening for breast cancer. U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2016;164:279.
  6. Consumer information (MQSA). U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/MammographyQualityStandardsActandProgram/ConsumerInformation/default.htm. Accessed June 3, 2016.
  7. Pruthi S (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 15, 2016.
  8. Slanetz PJ. MRI of the breast and emerging technologies. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 3, 2016.
  9. Souza FH, et al. Is full-field digital mammography more accurate than screen-film mammography in overall population screening? A systematic review and meta-analysis. The Breast. 2013;22:217.
  10. Green VL. Mammographic breast density and breast cancer risk: Implications of the breast density legislation for health care practitioners. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2016;59:419.