Tips for Overcoming Mammogram Fears
Mammograms are an important health screening tool, recommended regularly for women over age 45 or younger if certain other risk factors are present. However, many women have fears about getting a mammogram for many different reasons. It’s important to identify these fears and learn some tips to deal with them in a healthy way so mammogram anxiety doesn’t get in the way of your health and wellbeing.
Common Fears About Mammograms
There are lots of reasons that some women put off their mammogram appointments and feel anxiety when they do go in for the screening. Here are some of the most common mammogram anxieties and fears:
- Concerns about pain or discomfort: One of the most common fears is simply that the procedure will hurt or be uncomfortable. Years of stereotypes have perpetuated this idea. However, the technology behind mammogram machines is constantly improving, and your technologist will do everything they can to minimize any discomfort.
- Fears over results: Others avoid mammograms or have intense fears going in because they are afraid of the test results, fearing that they may find out they have cancer. This fear is especially prominent in those with a family history of the disease or prior experience with cancer, either personally or with someone close to them. While this is a very real fear, it shouldn’t get in the way of scheduling your appointment because early detection can save lives.
- Previous false positives: For women who have had a mammogram before and received a false positive result, it can be extra stressful to go through the process again. While the alarm is completely normal, today’s mammogram technology keeps improving to lessen the chance of false positives. Highly trained technologists can also help alleviate this issue. It’s also important to note that a call back for further testing does not necessarily mean cancer. It just means that the technologist needs another look for confirmation.
- So many cancer diagnoses lately: If it feels like you hear more about cancer than ever before, you’re not alone. But this isn’t all bad, either. Part of this increase in cancer diagnoses means that more early cases are found in time to minimize the effects. Also, keep in mind that we are all more connected than ever, and so you’re bound to hear about more people dealing with cancer than you would have in years past. And finally, more media coverage of cancer cases serves as a great reminder to everyone to get the recommended screenings.
- Feeling healthy and thinking mammograms are unnecessary: Some women put off their regular mammograms because they feel fine and think mammograms are only necessary if you’ve already found a lump. While it’s always a good idea to perform self-examinations, mammograms are also necessary and can find lumps too small to feel. This early detection tool is vital and can help minimize the effects of cancer when it’s found early.
Tips to Overcome Pre-Mammogram Nerves
If you have any concerns or fears about getting your mammogram, you’re certainly not alone. It’s completely normal to feel a bit nervous. Thankfully, there are many ways to help ease your fears if you’re worried about mammograms. Try some of these tips to ease your stress:
- Try to see mammograms as part of your regular health routines: Consider your mammogram as a normal check-up type of appointment, just like a regular physical exam, dental cleaning or other routine health check-in. Maybe even try scheduling your mammogram to coincide with another health appointment so you can get them all accomplished in the same week and feel good about your overall health and wellness.
- Consider the statistics of mammography and breast cancer: Of course, it can seem scary when it seems like all you hear of is mammography callbacks and cancer diagnoses. But it may ease your fears to understand the actual numbers. Of all mammograms performed, only about 10% are called back for further testing. And of this 10%, less than 1% will actually be diagnosed with breast cancer. Furthermore, most of the cancers found with mammography are benign and not life-threatening.
- Attach a reward to your mammogram appointment: Make it a point to treat yourself when you get your mammogram, and you’ll be more likely to associate it with a positive experience. Prioritize self-care and schedule a massage, facial or manicure for the same day. Take yourself shopping or pick up your favorite coffee afterward. Even a small treat will help you feel good about taking care of your health.
- Use the buddy system: Talk to your closest friend or female relative and make a deal to schedule your mammograms together. Hold each other accountable to keep a regular schedule of important health appointments.
- Choose a mantra: Come up with some positive, empowering statements that can help you get through the stress of your mammogram appointment. It can be as simple as “You got this” or “I’m taking charge of my health.” Find something that resonates with you and repeat it in your head as often as needed. Go in with confidence and know that you have the power to overcome your anxieties.
- Go to the best mammography center in your area: Do your research and choose one of the best centers in your area for your appointment. This way, you’ll be confident that you’ve got the best technology and the expertise of well-trained and caring staff members in your corner. You’ll know you’re getting the best care possible and accurate results too. If you still have some mammogram anxiety, feel free to let the staff know when you book your appointment or when you arrive. A top-quality mammography center will do everything they can to alleviate your fears and make you feel more comfortable.
Request a Screening Mammogram at Health Images
At Health Images, we understand that many women are scared to get a mammogram, and we do everything we can to put you at ease. We offer the highest quality imaging services, along with exceptional patient care, so you’re sure to get the best experience when you request a screening mammogram with us. Our compassionate staff puts your comfort and health as a top priority and is attentive to your needs. Health Images offers several Denver-area locations for your convenience. Contact us today to request your screening mammogram.