What it’s like to get a Mammogram

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(This post was last updated on: 2/3/2024.) One of the great joys of turning 40 this year is that I have to start getting yearly mammograms. I know, you are totally jealous. I had no idea of what to expect and was worried that it was gonna hurt. But really, it wasn’t a big deal and only took about 10 mins. Here is what it’s like to get a mammogram.

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According to the Susan G. Komen website, 1 in 8 women and 1 in 100 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer. This is definitely a disease that has touched us all whether it’s you or someone you know that has had to battle it. Early detection is key! Do those self exams as often as possible, my doctor recommends trying to get in the routine of doing these in the shower. Then when you hit 40, yearly mammograms. Of course if your family has a significant history of breast cancer, you may need to start earlier. I would suggest talking with your family physician or OB-GYN about your risk and when to begin testing.

What it’s like to get a mammogram:

I wanted to take the mystery out of mammograms for you other newbies, so I will tell you about my experience last week. First, after I checked in, the receptionist pulled me aside to ask some more questions. And one was did I want a 2D or 3D picture taken. She said my insurance covers both so I said what’s the difference? She said the 3D testing detects up to 40% more cancer. So I said Duh, do the 3D then, why even ask?! Then I am taken to a room in the back where I was instructed to take off my shirt and bra, put all of my belongings into a basket, wipe off my deodorant then put on a short hospital gown/shirt. The woman then took me with basket in hand to the exam room.

The machine itself was a little intimidating, I had no idea how it worked. The technician told me to take my right arm out of the hospital top and she grabbed my right breast and plopped it down on the ledge of the machine, she obviously has done this a million times and is not shy at all. She pushes down on top of the breast then pushes the button for the top of the machine to come down and hold it in place. So far, not bad.

Then she hand cranks the machine a couple times to really smush the boob flatter. Ok, that did hurt a little, not gonna lie. The tech then ran over to her computer and pushed some buttons to get the machine to start taking pics, about 15 and you can’t move at all while it’s doing its thing. When the machine stopped, she came running over to lift the top of the machine up. Then she repositioned me for the machine to take a more vertical pic, hope my side boob was on point. Basically the same things happened only this time she and the machine flatted my right breast side to side instead of up and down. Another 15 pics, no moving or breathing heavy, and release. The process was the exact same for the left breast…..smush, 15 pics, smush, 15 pics.

Really the technician couldn’t have been nicer or more professional. And the process took about 10 mins start to finish. When I was done, I was led back to the changing room and offered deodorant. Then I was free to go. No out of pocket costs and most insurance plans cover this test, just call your insurance company or talk to your employer beforehand to make sure. In the end it was nothing to be scared of and this time next year, I will be a pro. So with October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this is the perfect time to get your mammogram. I know it will be easy for me to remember when I am due. Really, don’t put it off, it’s so easy, you will be glad to get it done and off your to-do list.

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