While many of us are aware that mammograms play a key role in early breast cancer detection, we are also aware of the pain and discomfort that can be associated with this important exam.
But despite the discomfort, we know mammograms are important, and we are supposed to get them anyway, no questions asked. We learned during a recent HealthyWomen survey—supported by Siemens Healthineers—that 61 percent of 1,194 respondents of women 40 years and older think mammograms are necessary. But just because women understand a mammogram is a necessary part of early cancer detection, it doesn't mean they enjoy them. Fifty-two percent said the mammogram experience is uncomfortable and 25 percent said mammograms are painful. Nearly 1 in 6 women report that discomfort has deterred them from getting a mammogram as recommended: 12 percent of women reported postponing a mammogram due to discomfort, and 3 percent said they would not get them anymore because of it.
But with new mammogram system options available, are mammograms unnecessarily painful?
If you're scratching your head wondering why you're unaware of mammography systems that are designed to maximize comfort, you're not alone. HealthyWomen's survey showed that 59 percent of women are not aware of the availability of different mammogram system options. But 54 percent of women said they would be very motivated to get regular mammograms if they were aware that some medical practices provide a more comfortable and tailored mammogram experience. Forty-nine percent said they would be very likely to seek out practices where more comfortable and tailored mammogram experiences are available.
Knowing there are women who skip receiving a mammogram altogether because they are worried it will be unpleasant or hurt (32 percent of respondents told us that's why they skipped their mammogram) shows an even greater need for women to be aware of their options.
We're happy to let you know there are options. Systems designed to be more patient friendly with features like personalized compression and soft breast paddles—even soft mood lighting to help you relax during your mammogram—do exist!
The next time you find yourself speaking to your health care provider about getting your mammogram, make sure to ask them about all of your options.
This resource was created with support from Siemens Healthineers, a leader in medical technology and diagnostic imaging.