Preparing for a Mammogram: What to Expect from Your Screening

Getting a mammogram may make you feel nervous. However, knowing what to expect from this procedure can help soothe the nerves and ensure the process goes smoothly. Keep reading to find out more about what you can do before a mammogram and how to have a more comfortable experience. 

Things to Do Before a Mammogram

If you are around forty years old, your doctor may have begun talking to you about getting you a screening mammogram. If you are younger and have a high risk of having breast cancer, speak with your doctor about your issues. They may assess you to know when you must start getting your screening. 

Although a mammogram can be scheduled at any time, the best day to have the procedure done is when your breasts may not be tender. Often, this is during the week following your menstrual period. 

If you do not want to take a bath the morning of the procedure, ensure your arms, neck, underarms, and chest are free of beauty products like deodorant, creams, and lotions. The ingredients of some products can affect the results of the screening. 

What to Expect During Your Screening

A mammogram technologist will make the screening process comfortable. While you stand before a mammogram machine, your breast will be positioned on it, so the machine can take photos of your breast’s inside. Breast tissue flattening is necessary to get a high-quality image. Often, getting the screening done takes around twenty minutes. 

What Happens After a Mammogram

Once images are taken, you can usually get dressed and leave. Although rare, you may experience soreness following the screening. When this happens, you can just take a pain medication. Also, you should consider using a padded sports bra instead of an underwire bra until the soreness heals. 

After a mammogram, a radiologist will examine the images. You will usually get the results of the screening within a few days of the test. Results from a diagnostic mammogram are often available before you leave the appointment. 


The radiologist may call you back following a screening mammogram to take more images of your breasts. This can happen when the images show abnormal findings or false positives. In this case, you may need to get more tests and procedures done. However, this does not mean you are positive for breast cancer. The doctor will make a final diagnosis after several tests. If the reports of the doctor do not show signs of cancer, you may be asked to continue to get screening mammograms in the future.  

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