Fibromyalgia is more often seen in women, and can cause great pain and tenderness throughout the body. And, some women shy away from the thought of mammograms because the compression can cause severe pain.
One doctor has recognized this and put together a list of tips for women who suffer in chronic pain and fear mammograms. His name is Dr. Stephen Rose, and he’s the chief medical officer at Solis Mammography, which has offices in several states.
- Women may find it more comfortable to schedule their annual mammogram one week after their menstrual cycle has ended as breasts seem to be less tender. It is important to note that a woman’s menstrual cycle does not impact the mammogram image in any way whatsoever.
- Women need to communicate their health issues and concerns, beginning with scheduling their mammogram appointment all the way through to the mammography technologist (the one who explains the procedure, positions a woman for the mammogram, and monitors the images). A well-trained technologist who is a specialist in breast imaging will work to obtain a high-quality image while limiting any discomfort/pain. As evidence, 89 percent of Solis Mammography patients (more than 150,000 women last year) reported that they experienced “little to no discomfort” during their mammogram.
- The low temperature of the mammogram screening rooms may be a concern. When scheduling the mammogram appointment, ask if a robe or a dressing cape can be provided. If not, a woman can bring one from home (but be sure it has no metal of any kind). Also, patients will only need to remove their top, so a two-piece outfit is recommended.
- If they think it will help in their comfort, women can ask to be seated during their mammogram.
- If the mammography technologist’s hands are chilly, ask her to wear gloves or use hand warmers like the technologists at Solis Mammography.
- Explain to the technologist that longer than normal breaks may be needed between compressions to recover.
- Stress can be an insidious culprit to fibromyalgia triggers. Try to relax, taking deep breaths, and think about the peace of mind that will come following the mammogram. Remember, accurate information empowers women.
- Most women find the atmosphere to be a key factor in their stress level, so be sure to choose a non-clinical, warm and welcoming center for your mammogram screening.
- And finally, bring a friend – or better yet, have the friend get her mammogram too. It is almost always more comforting and can often offer a meaningful distraction.
Let’s face it, no one wants to get their annual mammogram. What they want is peace of mind – either by knowing they are all clear for another year or by finding any concerns at the earliest possible stage to offer the best treatment options possible.