Mammography Day 2020 is on Saturday, October 17, 2020: mammography question Ladies?
Saturday, October 17, 2020 is Mammography Day 2020.
In brief -- a lot less uncomfortable than going to the dentist. And just as necessary!
Look for a hospital or center where mammograms/breast care is the main focus. Most of the time the caregivers are all women, and they know how to put you at ease. Even if it's your first time. Remember, they do this all day and they've seen every shape and size.
What usually happens is you strip to the waist and put on a gown that opens in front. Then you wait. Then you get called into a little room where the big machine is. They adjust it to your height and breast size. Mention to them if you have areas of concern or a freckle or mole that might confuse them when they look at the scan. Your breast gets "mashed" between two glass plates and you raise up your arms (handles to hold onto) while they zap each view. Usually two per breast -- horizontal and vertical. The whole thing is less than five minutes.
Yes, the "mashing" is a little uncomfortable. (Read Betty Rollin's FIRST YOU CRY for her experience.) But no worse than having your mouth wide open for the dentist. Aftereffects hardly exist. If you get a surly unsympathetic attendant, report him/her to the facility!
(By the way, check if you qualify for a low-income free mammogram. You don't have to bust your budget.)
Will mammography or mammogram procedure hurt?
Mammograms should not be painful. They can be uncomfortable for some women, and other women aren't at all bothered by the exam. If you are tender breasted, you might feel more discomfort. Make your appointment for after you have started your menstrual period, when the breasts are the least tender. Caffeine also makes tender breasts more tender for many women, so consider limiting your intake (coffee, tea, chocolate) for a few days prior to a mammogram.
Size of the breasts have nothing to do with the level of discomfort. Both small and large breasts can be tender. We don't compress the breasts to a magical number. A large breast might be compressed until the breast measures 6 cm thick. A small breast could be compressed until it measures 3 cm. So, in this case, size does not matter!
Now, lets assume that mammographic exams are VERY painful, for arguments sake. A routine, screening mammogram consists of 4 images....2 views on each breast. The total time of compression for those 4 images is about 45 seconds. I can do anything for 45 seconds, especially if those 45 seconds can greatly impact my future and my quality of life. Sounds like a small price to pay, doesn't it?
I get very upset with women who spread the misconception that mammograms are so extremely painful. They are scaring other women badly enough that some women are not having mammograms. I had a patient a few years ago, who came in for her first mammogram because she had a huge lump in her breast. You could tell, without the mammograms, that she had an advanced breast cancer. Her skin was red and nipple was inverted....her breast looked angry. She had known about this lump for over two years, but never went for a mammogram, because her "friends" had told her how painful they were. A day later, we did a CT scan of her head, chest, abdomen and pelvis, and her breast cancer had spread to her liver and brain. She was dead within a couple of weeks. I guarantee that pain was nothing what is experienced with a mammogram. With friends like that, who needs enemies, right?
I would like to become a mammography technician.?
Mammography is a subspecialty of radiography. A mammographer MUST be a radiologic technologist (x-ray tech) before she can take her mammography boards. You must take the certification/board exam before you are licensed to take mammographic images.
Most accredited schools of radiography are two year programs, either in a college setting or a hospital based program. You can get a list of schools in your state by going to your state's Department of Health website and searching for "radiologic technology programs."
I enjoyed doing mammography. I work in a smaller community, so I developed a rapport with my patients, who came in year after year. In addition to doing screening mammo exams, we also do specialized views (magnification, cone compression for example) and we assist the radiologist in wire localization procedures or ductograms.
I would say that if you were to get licensed and just exclusively do mammography, you might eventually get bored. For the most part, you are doing the same old two views on each breast, ALL DAY LONG! lol It would be like if you JUST took chest x-rays, and only chest x-rays. My most satisfying work experience was when I got to rotate: a week in x-ray, a week in CT, a week in mammo and a week in ultrasound. But, then again, some people like doing the same thing over and over again! To each their own.....Best wishes!
You can get a list of accredited radiography programs here: