Healthy Living: Preparing for a mammogram
A mammography is one of the best screening tools for breast cancer, and knowing how to prepare for one may not only reduce your fears, but some discomfort. Marcie Fraser reports.
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"Unfortunately, it’s not a symptom free procedure, it depends a little bit on their breast architecture," explained Dr. Arvind Mahatme, a breast surgeon oncologist.
If you have benign cysts or fibro-cystic breasts, the compression of a mammogram can be painful.
"This denser tissue is not as malleable and so if you have more engorgement of the breast, now you are pulling against something that is more static and may be getting more painful," said Dr. Mahatme.
Breast tenderness can be made worse by how much caffeine we drink.
"It doesn't mean you can never drink caffeine, it's not that you can’t have a cup of coffee on the weekend, but everything must be done in moderation," said Dr. Mahatme.
Maintaining ideal body weight will also help.
"Excess weight means excess adipose tissue, what that can translates to is greater estrogen stores within the body, so if you have that, you can be stimulating breast tissue, potentially causing more pain symptoms," said Dr. Mahatme.
According to the doctor, many women do not perform monthly self breasts exams, and if you do not get an annual mammography, these monthly exams could save your life.
"Even if they do a cursory breast assessment and if they do it on regular fashion so they know what changes are happening, and I have had enough patients find tumors that weren't seen on a mammogram, so I think it's important that one add that to one’s breast health," said Dr. Mahatme.