It's empowering to know all you can about your health, and regularly scheduled screening mammography, starting at age 45 or earlier, is a big part of maintaining your wellbeing as a woman. Although knowledge is power, it's still very common to have mammogram anxiety when the appointment reminder comes up on your calendar. Here we'll include the best advice from real women on getting through pre-mammogram nervousness, plus medical facts that can help you overcome anxiety about breast imaging.
Who Is Affected by Mammogram Anxiety?
Mammography unease is common for women at higher risk for breast cancer. Women (and men) who may have had cancer in the past, or those who are a close relative of a breast cancer survivor, are prone to mammogram anxiety. However, even women with no risk factors can be nervous about getting their routine mammograms. Mammography hesitation becomes dangerous, however, when it's severe enough to keep you from having regular mammograms.
There is another important group of people that may be affected by mammogram hesitation: those who love you and depend upon you. Your spouse, children, and other loved ones deserve to have a healthy you in their lives! Let this statistic motivate you: Mammography has helped bring US breast cancer mortality down by almost 40% over the past 30 years.
Why Hesitate to Schedule Your Mammogram?
These are common reasons given for delaying or skipping mammograms, and how women have overcome them:
- Busy life: It's crucial to make time for your health, including screening tests like mammograms, so that you enjoy the best possible quality of life. Those who love you will appreciate your efforts to make your health a priority!
- Prior cancer, experienced personally or with a close relative: It's even more urgent to have regular mammograms if you have been personally touched by the disease. Today's ever-better treatment options, combined with early diagnosis, mean the outlook is incredibly promising. Living with uncertainty is too stressful, and you can't fight back if you don't have accurate breast health information.
- Prior false positive: At our imaging center, we're able to minimize the chances that you might receive a call back for a re-test, due to the high level of experience and impeccable medical credentials of our mammography specialists. Among women called back for further testing, such as breast ultrasound imaging, the vast majority will not have cancer. If you should get a call, there's no reason for alarm.
- So many people are being diagnosed lately, it's unnerving: Although you'll hear more about breast cancer today than in the past, keep in mind that's inevitable--and a good thing. The fact that more people are being diagnosed early is actually great, because they can minimize the disease's effect on their lives. Since the medical community knows more about breast cancer today than ever before, and our society is more transparent and connected because of the Internet, it's inevitable that you'll hear more about diseases like cancer. Use all the press and media coverage you read as motivation to get your mammogram.
- I don't feel a lump, so everything is fine: Monthly breast self-exams are incredibly important, because you'll begin to know what is normal for you--and will be able to feel anything different (like a breast lump or thickening). Statistics vary, but some report that up to 40% of cancerous breast lumps are found through self-exam. However, your self-exam is no substitute for a mammogram. Mammography can locate breast tumors too small to be felt.
7 Tips to Deal with Pre-Mammogram Nervousness
At some point, you may feel anxious about an upcoming mammogram, or about getting called back after for additional imaging. Don't let your anxiety get in the way! Use these encouraging strategies instead:
- Remember statistics are overwhelmingly on your side. The majority of women having a screening mammogram at our imaging center will not have cancer. Up to 10% may be contacted for further testing after a screening mammogram. Of that ten percent, less than 1% will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Of all the breast tumors found through mammography, 80% are benign.
- Try to see your mammograms as a routine part of your life, like an annual physical exam or semi-annual dental cleaning/exam. Consider your mammogram to be a very normal, and necessary, part of your regularly-scheduled healthcare.
- Be sure to use the best, most experienced mammography facility possible. When you choose a central NJ imaging center with experience, expertise, and cutting-edge technology, you can be confident in your results, which can relieve your nervousness.
- Schedule something you enjoy after your mammogram. Reward yourself for prioritizing your health! Get a fancy coffee at your favorite shop, or schedule another type of self-care you might enjoy.
- Make a pact with a pal. Arrange with a friend to encourage each other (and hold each other accountable) to get screening mammograms on schedule.
- Let our staff know you're nervous. Our understanding and compassionate medical specialists will put you at ease. We have even designed our modern imaging center with calm and comfort for patients in mind.
- Push through your anxiety, because your health is worth it. Bring a friend to the waiting room with you if it helps, and/or read the next few pages of a great book on your phone. These strategies can distract you during your short wait time.
Why Choose RAI for Breast Imaging and Mammography in Central NJ?
RAI offers the most technologically advanced mammography options available today, including 3D mammography (breast tomosynthesis, and breast MRI. Your personal physician, in consultation with our radiology specialists, will recommend the best option for your needs. These procedures are non-invasive and painless.
RAI physicians are board-certified with subspecialties in women's diagnostic imaging and other advanced radiology specialties. The most well-respected regional hospitals count on us for reliable, high-tech medical imaging services. Our reputation for excellence is impeccable.
Remember that knowledge is power.
Take charge of your health with a screening mammogram or advanced breast diagnostic imaging at RAI in Central NJ. Contact us to schedule your mammography appointment today.