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Adrienne Dellwo

Getting a Mammogram With Fibromyalgia

By July 13, 2011

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For someone who's sensitive to pain and cold, the thoughts of having a delicate body part squeezed between two chilly pieces of metal is downright panic-inducing. Once you're over 40, though, a mammogram becomes an annual part of life. Ah, the joys of being a woman with fibromyalgia!

I went for my first mammogram about 18 months ago, when I was 39. My doctor wanted a baseline established before I was 40. I just went for my second one recently.

I was pretty nervous about my first one because I'd heard horror stories about how painful it was -- and those were from healthy women!† Much to my relief, my clinic uses nice soft pads (called MammoPads) on top of the metal plates. That means it's not cold. Whew -- one less thing to rattle my nerves!

Then the tech began to tighten the "vise." Again, relief came when she said to let her know when it was uncomfortable because they want it to stay within your personal pain tolerance. She stopped when I told her to, and while it began to hurt while she was getting pictures, it was a bearable pain level. (Of course, our pain tolerances vary and those of us with fibromyalgia have extremely low tolerance, so it could be more painful for you.)

Even so, my body did began to react on the way home. A web of pain started spreading through my abdomen and I felt my tension level climb precipitously. Whether it was more from the mammogram or my anxiety before it, I can't say. I'd suggest having someone drive you home from a mammogram -- or any medical procedure that could trigger symptoms -- as well as taking anything you may use for calming your nerves ahead of time. Also, call ahead to see if your facility uses the MammoPad.

I found some great advice on lowering mammogram pain in an article from my About.com colleague Tracee Cornforth, Guide to Women's Health.† She recommends having it done in the first 2 weeks of your menstrual cycle, since breasts are less tender then; cutting out caffeine the week before, since it can increase breast tenderness; and taking an over-the-counter pain reliever an hour or so before your appointment.

With my most recent mammogram, I encountered a problem many women with fibromyalgia face -- unclear results because of what's called fibrocystic breasts (especially lumpy breast tissue.) A few days after the procedure, I got a call that I needed to come back in for more pictures because the radiologist wanted a better look at one particular area. Of course, I was a little unsettled by this, but fortunately I knew about this issue and I didn't let myself get too worried. As expected, it was nothing to worry about. (Learn more about our lumpy tissues.)

What have your mammograms been like? Have you experienced any problems with them? Have other medical procedures caused problems for you? Leave your comments below!

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Comments
July 13, 2011 at 8:55 pm
(1) shondelle says:

i have been getting them for a year now and i must say its not bad at all sore yes hurt like hell no my breast dont hurt from fibro the collarbone area hurts all the time great infor

July 15, 2011 at 8:38 pm
(2) Isabel says:

I agree with Shondelle, I can put up with pain if I really HAVE to, but I get very sore in collarbone area too, and am wondering if I have arthritis there, as well as every other part of my poor old body!.

July 13, 2011 at 9:09 pm
(3) Ellum says:

There is one issue with Mammograms that I have never seen addressed. Most people are concerned with the pain, but what about the effect it has on the structure of delicate tissues?
Having someone take your breast in both hands and pull, pull and then pull some more, then down comes the vice to flatten everything out, does not sound like a good way to keep your skin and breast tissue in good shape.
The pain isnít a problem, I have endured far worse, itís the overstretching of a part of my body that I am trying to keep from stretching that is a problem for me.

July 14, 2011 at 7:51 am
(4) Nancy A. says:

With fibrocystic (lumpy) breasts, the radiologist will usually perform a breast sonogram in addition to the mammogram. The sonogram is a painless exam.

I’ve had fibromyalgia for 25 years. I’ll be 58 in October. Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. I had a left mastectomy and reconstructive surgery. The cancer was found by mammogram, sonogram, and biopsy. I had no lump or symptoms prior to diagnosis.

Please don’t let your fear of discomfort make you put off having a mammogram if you’re 40 or older. It’s that important!

As Adrienne said, modern mammogram equipment is usually more comfortable than in the past. You can tell the mammogram tech that you have fibromyalgia, and I’m sure she’ll try to be more gentle. It only takes a few minutes to do the whole exam.

I’d honestly rather have a mammogram than have my blood drawn since I have very small veins and I consider that torture! LOL!

There’s no prep before a mammogram and no anesthesia like you’d have for a colonoscopy, so it’s a relatively easy exam for us to prepare for and undergo. If you work, it would be best to schedule the exam when you have a day off, so you can rest afterwards if necessary.

July 14, 2011 at 8:58 am
(5) Trudiec says:

I am 48 and recently went for my first one. Oh the anxiety leading up to it. I was pleased that the pain was nothing like I had anticipated. However, not sure if it was due to my previous anxiety or what but I kept getting dizzy and nauseated during the procedure and had to sit down with a cold cloth on my forehead. Happened a few times and was over with once I was done. This will not deter me from having future tests.

July 14, 2011 at 12:56 pm
(6) Julie says:

I had to have my first mammogram (and only so far) about 2 years ago (I’m 35) when one of my Drs thought she felt something. After the first set of pictures they had me wait while the radiologist looked at them, then came back to get me because they wanted more pictures. They saw two “lumps” and I ended up going in for a biopsy (which was a whole new HELL for several reasons, mostly because of the Dr who did it). In the end, we discovered that I also have polycystic breasts. The good news is that we know that now well before I turn 40, and I’ve already got my baseline out of the way.

July 15, 2011 at 3:30 pm
(7) Kathleen says:

I have fibrocystic breast disorder too and when I had my last mammogram they had to do deep compression. I about passed out from the pain!
It was almost unbearable. I was nauseated and dizzy and the technician had to get a chair for me to sit down. I have had mammograms in the past but nothing compared to this last one.

July 15, 2011 at 3:38 pm
(8) Kathleen says:

That being said, I would also never forgo having a mammogram done as I know how important it is!

July 15, 2011 at 3:32 pm
(9) Mummylady says:

I am a 46 G bra size and mammograms are sheer hell because of having to reach and stretch and hold onto the various bars while they try and fit me on the machines. They try to be gentle and careful but I go home with sore ribs, sore collarbones and achy breasts. Some of it is caused by having to press against the machine or reach.
I have actually gotten bruises sometimes. I am 60 and have been having these things every year since I was 40. I’ve had good friends have breast cancer, the believe me, the mammogram is better than going through all of that.

July 15, 2011 at 3:51 pm
(10) Aimee says:

I have been lucky, I have been getting mammo’s since I was in my late 20′s due to fibroadenoma breast disease, which is similar to fibrocystic except my lumps are solid tissue. I had one lumpectomy in my late 20′s. I have been VERY upfront with the techs that I have fibro and that this is stress inducing. I have yet to have a tech who didn’t work to accomodate me to the best of their ability. I also take the precautions noted by Tracee, and found it does help. Because of the many lumps I have, my breasts are massive. And yes, it is hard to have to hold the bar to try to get everything into the picture and to also get the chest wall seen. But, it’s worth it. My mom had breast cancer and hers was early stages and small, but the treatment she had to manage was MUCH worse than the mammo’s. So ladies, take care of you boobies!!!

July 15, 2011 at 4:00 pm
(11) Kathy says:

My first mammogram was last summer. It will be my last. The pain was off the scale, even though I had taken a Tylenol 3 an hour before the test. I could not raise my arms to shoulder level for three days after. There has to be another way…there just has to. Any one have any other ideas?

July 15, 2011 at 4:19 pm
(12) Kara says:

I have heard that ultrasounds and/or sonograms can be just as effective as mammograms – and no squeezing (or radiation!) I avoid mammos like the plague – mostly because of the radiation exposure but also the extreme pain I end up in afterwards.

July 15, 2011 at 9:59 pm
(13) Jill says:

I am with you on this one. I almost pass out from the pain with a mammo and the last one I had I said NEVER AGAIN!! I could feel my knees buckle and had flashes of what would happen if I did pass out while my boob was compressed in that stupid machine. It was horrible for me and I would rather take my chances than go through that again. It really was SERIOUS pain for me.

July 22, 2011 at 3:51 pm
(14) Kathy says:

Thanks so much, I was sure I was the only woman who felt the same way I do. If my doc insists…I’ll tell him I’ll have an ultrasound instead. Oh, and by the way, my mother said that the cure for a mammogram is a good testigram…

July 30, 2011 at 7:13 pm
(15) Heather says:

Hi Kathy,
How about thermography?http://sunleitehealth.ca/breastthermography.html

July 30, 2011 at 9:20 pm
(16) Kathy says:

Wow! This is awesome… I didn’t know this existed. Thank you very much, Heather! I will check with my doctor on my next appointment.

August 10, 2011 at 6:25 pm
(17) leig says:

I DID pass out during my first mammogram last year, which was my baseline. I am tired of my doctor and others rolling their eyes and accusing me of exaggerating the pain level I felt. I have passed out twice during my 39 years and both were during sudden onset of extreme pain. I have already informed my doctor that I won’t have another without an alternative or pain management in place and she told me there is “no alternative.” Not every person’s pain level is the same and we as women should respect that and not scold each other for not “sucking it up.” There is no sucking it up. If the pain is so intense to cause fainting to occur, then there is something wrong. Support your sisters in this and don’t lecture about “man upping.”

August 10, 2011 at 10:16 pm
(18) Kathy says:

Leig,

There is only one answer to a doc who says “there is no alternative” A NEW DOCTOR! If nothing else find a pain management doc, and make him/her your primary. My mother had ultrasounds after her first mammo, and I am going to do the same. Passing out from the pain is not acceptable. Move on… I wish you well.

July 15, 2011 at 4:37 pm
(19) Nitalynn says:

Oh Lord thank you so much Adrienne. I have felt like warmed over crap all day today and could not figure out why and then stated feeling down and depressed because of the lack of control over my life it made me feel! I totally forgot about having my yearly mammogram done yesterday! No wonder! Ummm….yes, I do have a bit of fibro fog now and then, why do you ask? HaHa

July 23, 2011 at 2:43 pm
(20) geraldine wolverton says:

i have fibromyalgia also and i will never get another mammogram. The last time the female tech squeezed my breasts so hard that they were bruised and also pulled my shouulder i was sore for almost 2 weeks. I said never again.

July 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm
(21) LILLY says:

WHAT A HUGH AMOUNT OF FUSS OVER ONE OF THE EASIEST LIFE-SAVING TEST AVAILABLE. LISTEN UP OUT THERE, THE RISK OF BREAST CANCER NOT BEING CAUGHT EARLY WHEN ITS MOST CURABLE,IS A MUCH BIGGER RISK THAT ANY TINY RADIATION EXPOSURE DURING THE TEST! WITH ALL THE PAINFUL AND DANGEROUS MEDICAL TESTS THAT YOU COULD NEED SOMEDAY, A SIMPLE MAMOGRAM IS NOTHING! AND IF YOU ARE GETTING PANIC ATTACKS FROM THIS, THAT IS A WHOLE OTHER PROBLEM YOU NEED TO ADDRESS——

July 22, 2011 at 3:59 pm
(22) Kathy says:

Lilly,

Do you have Fibromyalgia? I bet not.

The pain from this simple lifesaving test incapacitated me for three days. I went in prepared, even took an opiate before the test, and the pain was off the scale. I am NOT a whiner. On a scale of one to ten, my daily pain averages about a seven. No one knows, because I suck it up and go to work with a smile every day.

Not asking for sympathy or anything, but a little more compassion for fellow humans that aren’t as healthy as you are would be appreciated.

July 15, 2011 at 5:03 pm
(23) LILLY says:

WHAT A HUGH AMOUNT OF FUSS OVER ONE OF THE EASIEST LIFE-SAVING TEST AVAILABLE. LISTEN UP OUT THERE, THE RISK OF BREAST CANCER NOT BEING CAUGHT EARLY WHEN ITS MOST CURABLE,IS A MUCH BIGGER RISK THAT ANY TINY RADIATION EXPOSURE DURING THE TEST! WITH ALL THE PAINFUL AND DANGEROUS MEDICAL TESTS THAT YOU COULD NEED SOMEDAY, A SIMPLE MAMOGRAM IS NOTHING! AND IF YOU ARE GETTING PANIC ATTACKS FROM THIS, THAT IS A WHOLE OTHER PROBLEM YOU NEED TO ADDRESS——

August 10, 2011 at 6:30 pm
(24) leigh says:

Lilly, stop judging. You do not walk in mine or any of these other women’s shoes. You have no idea what chronic pain is like. As someone who claims she is a member of the medical field, you certainly have a horrible bedside manner.

July 15, 2011 at 5:06 pm
(25) Kim says:

I’m 57 this year and I always believed that as we get older our breasts get less “perky” due to our yearly mammograms not our age. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!!

July 15, 2011 at 5:41 pm
(26) LILLY says:

KIM, I’M IN THE MEDICAL FIELD AND YOU COULDN’T BE MORE WRONG! 10 SECONDS OF COMPRESSING YOUR BREAST DOES NOTHING; EVERONE’S BREASTS SAG AS THEY GET OLDER BECAUSE BREAST TISSUE IS REPLACED WITH FAT AS WE AGE!

July 15, 2011 at 5:46 pm
(27) LILLY says:

KIM, YOU COULDN’T BE MORE WRONG! I’M IN THE MEDICAL FIELD AND THE REASON WOMEN’S BREAST SAG AS WE AGE IS BECAUSE BREAST TISSUE IS REPLACED WITH FATTY TISSUE, THE 2 SECONDS IT TAKES TO GET YOUR MAMMOGRAM DOES NOTHING TO THE FIRMNESS OF THE BREAST!

July 15, 2011 at 5:53 pm
(28) fibro-kel says:

Yes I agree even though with all the updates in radiological mammo’s it seems that you take a chance at having residual pain anyway. Sometimes not right away….such as in my case. I have been having mammo’s since the age of 18 due to breast cancer. However being DX with fibro 4 yrs agoi it makes this simple test a pain. Fibro is hard to deal with too many different symptoms and not everyone is the same…so we end up treating each symptom separately. We need better meds for this “curse” as I call it. Because any simple thing can trigger a horrible chain reaction leaving us with bad days, weeks and months. I call it the life stealing feeling. Even with all the supplements and neuro meds no t mention pain meds it never ends my search for my life back. I spend most of my time since christmas in my bed because even my CFS is worsen. I am frustrated I want my life back!

July 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm
(29) LILLY says:

TO FIBRO-KEL, U PUT MY THOUGHTS ON PAPER( OR SHOULD I SAY ONLINE!) THAT IS THE PERFECT DESCRIPTION OF CFS AND FIBRO, IT DOES STEAL YOUR LIFE! YOUR STILL ALIVE. BUT YOU CAN’T LIVE YOUR LIFE OR DO ANYTHING YOU WANT TO DO. IT IS A CURSE! GOOD LUCK!

July 15, 2011 at 6:19 pm
(30) Kaytee says:

I no longer get the “free” mammograms provided by my health insurance. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad, if they just took one set of x-rays, but the last several times have required “re-takes”. Turns out I have fibrocystic breast condition– not that they (Kaiser) ever bothered to tell me that, nor note it in my chart, let alone try to help me resolve it.

My last breast exam was a thermogram, which I paid for out of pocket. It was a bit chilly in the room, but the exam was not painful. And, the dr. explained the results right then, and made suggestions for alleviating the fibrocystic breast condition and estrogen dominance problem. No waiting 2 weeks for a postcard that says “normal” or whatever. And no post-procedure pain and bruising.

July 15, 2011 at 8:00 pm
(31) Lady Di says:

It is my understanding that there is no correlation between fibromyalgia and fibrocystic breast tissue. Two entirely different medical issues.
Breasts are made up of tissue rather than muscle, ligaments or tendons which is why there is no fibro pain in the actual breast tissue but certainly pain is experienced in the surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments.
Therefore the squeezing of a mammogram does not increase/create fibro pain in the breast tissue but in the surrounding muscles, tendons and ligaments. The pain resulting from a mammogram is insignificant compared to the pain of breast cancer, radiation or chemotherapy and continues to be one of the most effective means of diagnosing breast cancer.
So why people continue to make issues about this life saving diagnostic procedure without considering the negative impact they may be imposing on others leaves me confused and concerned.

July 23, 2011 at 12:55 am
(32) Kaytee says:

Lady Di said: “It is my understanding that there is no correlation between fibromyalgia and fibrocystic breast tissue. Two entirely different medical issues.”

Maybe they are “entirely different medical issues”, but that in no way means that co-morbidity isn’t possible. Furthermore, both are fairly common in peri/post-menopausal women.

And, with fibromyalgia, “pressure” is often interpreted by the “over reacting” neurons as *!PAIN!*. Add the tenderness of fibrocystic breasts to the fibromyalgia pain, and you get *#$!!PAIN!!$#*.

Thermograms are painless, and are as least as sensitive as mammograms, with no radiation (which can cause cancers) and no possible rupture of cysts or tumors (which can spread cancers).

July 15, 2011 at 9:06 pm
(33) Merle Walker says:

I have Fibromyalgia & have had all my life – 62. My father & grandmother had it & my daughter has been diagnosed with it – she is 39. I have Thermal Imaging done instead of mammograms. Less invasive (no rays) & they treat a wider or whole area of body – depending of what you want done. Not covered by our Medicare yet but hoping soon. I use vitamins & light exercise (when able – time factors) & (hopefully) good dietary factors to keep my symptoms in check.

July 15, 2011 at 9:06 pm
(34) Shawna says:

I, too, have fibrocystic breast tissue and the mammograms are uncomfortable but not terrible. I started getting them yearly at 38 because I had felt some suspicious lumps that seemingly appeared overnight. The first one scared the h*ll out of me because it was the size of a golf ball. It made my doctor nervous, I could see the worry on her face. Boy I bet she stinks at poker. THAT mammogram hurt but only on that one breast with the huge lump. They couldn’t tell what it was until after a sonogram and it turned out to be a fluid filled cyst. They drained it with a needle, also not terrible, just scary. After that, I have had cysts appear in both breasts and have to keep going through the whole ordeal again. I became used to the situation and was told they sometimes go away on their own so I pretty much ignored the last two and they did. Then my sister found a mass in her breast. I told her dont worry, its probably a cyst. Mom and Grandma get them too. She had a biopsy done and it was not a cyst. In fact, it was abnormal and it had to come out. Because she is very small breasted, she opted for a double mastectomy with reconstruction. And I raced to my doctor and insisted on a mammogram as soon as possible!!! My sister is fine, it was precancerous, they got it before it turned evil so she has nothing to worry about now except the building of her new breasts. GET YOUR MAMMOGRAMS LADIES!!

July 15, 2011 at 9:33 pm
(35) Julie says:

I had my first mammogram before I had FMS. It was very painful because the technician “accidentally” let the vise slip and it clamped my breast very hard. It was extremely painful. Also, because I am short, my arms are not as long as most and they pull and tug very hard on me to get my body into the right position. My second mammogram, I had FMS. When I made my appointment, I told them that I must have a technician who understands that women with FMS are more sensitive and they need to STOP clamping down on the breast when the woman says it hurts. It didn’t change a thing, and this technician also “accidentally” let the vise slip. (Different clinic even.) I won’t go for mammograms anymore. It makes me feel completely out of control and violated.

July 15, 2011 at 11:19 pm
(36) Linda says:

LILLY IN THE MEDICAL FIELD:
How dare you yell your opinions in capital letters to everyone else who is very polite on this forum? There are many different opinions about whether or not to have mammograms. They are not without faults. I have personal friends who have had them, been pronounced all clear and then been diagnosed with cancer 6 months later. Even the WHO (World Health Organisation) recommends beginning mammograms at age 50 because of breast density issues and the disfiguration and depession caused by the removal of some types of breast cancer that would never kill you anyway (plust the amount of radiation if you start having them every year very young). Here in Australia you can have an MRI performed at your own cost of about $300 which is far superior to a mammogram.
BTW You don’t have to post the same thing twice to get your arrogant message heard!!
Be nice – we are all pretty sensitive here (and I lost my only sister to breast cancer at age 52).

July 16, 2011 at 3:27 pm
(37) LILLY says:

HELLO LINDA, FIRST; I ALWAYS USE LARGER PRINT AND NEVER HAD ANYONE TAKE ISSUE WITH IT TILL U. SECOND, THERE ARE DEFINITELY OCCASIONS WHEN MAMO’S MISS SOMETHING; THIS ALMOST ALWAYS HAPPENS IN YOUNGER WOMEN WHO STILL HAVE A LOT OF BREAST TISSUE. ( AS I SAID, AS WE AGE BREAST TISSUE IS REPLACED BY FAT .) IT IS NOT A PERFECT TEST, BUT RIGHT NOW IT IS THE GOLD STANDARD FOR EARLY DETECTION OF BREAST CANCER, AND TO NOT GET ONE AT ALL BECAUSE THE TEST ISN’T PERFECT IS PLAYING RUSSIAN ROULETTE! 3RD, THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY REVISED THEIR RECOMMENDATION A FEW MONTHS AGO TO BEGIN SCREENING AT AGE 40 AND EVEN YOUNGER IF AN IMMEDIATE FAMILY MEMBER HAD THE DISEASE BEFORE AGE 40. AS FAR AS SUGGESTING TO WOMEN TO GET AN MRI IN PLACE OF A MAMO IS COMPLETLY IMPRACTICAL. IN THE U.S. THE COST OF BREAST MRI RUNS BETWEEN $800 AND $1200 DOLLARS; AND INSURANCE DOES NOT PAY FOR IT, SO UNLESS SOMEONE IS WEALTHY AN MRI WOULD BE OUT OF REACH FOR THEM. A MAMO COSTS BETWEEN $60 AND $80, AND INSURANCE WILL COVER IT. A BREAST MRI TAKES OVER AN HOUR TO PERFORM, WHILE YOU LAY FACE DOWN IN THE MACHINE WITH YOUR BREASTS HANGING DOWN THROUGHT 2 HOLES IN THE TABLE AND AN I.V. STUCK IN YOUR ARM! UNLESS THERE’S A SOUND MEDICAL REASON FOR SOMEONE TO GO THROUGH ALL THAT, A MAMOGRAM WOULD ALWAYS BE THE BETTER CHOICE. WHY WOULD I POST THE SAME THING TWICE?? IT’S CALLED A COMPUTER MALFUNCTION, I HIT THE BUTTON ONCE AND IT DIDN’T POST, SO I HIT IT AGAIN. AND LASTLY VERY, VERY SORRY TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR SISTER, BREAST CANCER HAS TOUCHED MY FAMILY AS WELL, MY MOTHER AT 70, WHO IS NOW FINE AT 88, AND MY STEPDAUGHTER WHO IS ONLY 37 WITH A 16 MONTH OLD CHILD, HAS STAGE 4 BREAST CANCER——————–

July 18, 2011 at 3:25 pm
(38) Suzi says:

Lilly- Anyone who has used the internet or texting for more than a day or two knows that CAPS equals SHOUTING in the real world. I hope you will understand, and comply with the common courtesy the rest are using.

BTW- I had my first painless mammogram this year, and I am 61, I have had lots of them. I also had to have a sonogram because there was a lump in a hard to reach area under my arm. In the past, I have had the kind of mammo that makes you dizzy and nauseous, so I was very happy to find that some techs out there have found the better technique to use.

July 16, 2011 at 1:09 am
(39) S says:

I Have had fibromyalgia for 16 years, have had mamograms thru my 30′s and 40′s due to family history. It’s no big deal
and nothing to be afraid of. Usually they do it so fast, I agree I’d rather have a mamogram than shots. I heard MRI’S r the most accurate, but also the most expensive. So they can’t do that for everyone. I’m not scared of mamograms, but I do wonder everytime what if the power goes out? Does it have a battery back up so u can get back out of it. But I have been reassured that won’t happen.

July 26, 2011 at 8:46 pm
(40) Jackie says:

I am sorry to tell you that I am the victim of a power outage mammogram, due to an electrical storm. To make matters worse the tech who was performing my mammogram went to find out what the problem was, while my breast was smashed between the freezing cold plates, where I remained trapped for over an half an hour, I was discovered by two maintenance men. The men apologized and started to leave and I told them to find someone who could get me out of this thing, as I had been there for over an half an hour, which they promptly did, Thank God. The young tech had went to lunch, to say the least it was one of the worst experiences of my life. That was in 1998 and my first experience of having a mammogram, I had my second one in 2006, at a different clinic and even though I was not trapped in it, that time, it was dreadful. I will have my third one tomorrow, as I turned 50 this year and have a family history of breast cancer on both sides of my family. The only reason I agree to a mammogram is because my doctor, mother and husband insist…if they weren’t here I would NEVER have another one. I believe mammograms may be the cause of breast cancer in many women, as my grandmother (who was a RN) always told me, bruising is what causes cancer in people, just like a bruised fruit rots, so does people who are too often bruised and I have horrible bruises everytime I have had a mammogram. I am sure it will be another 5 years before my fourth one. Each to their own, I just don’t believe they are the best thing, since sliced bread.

July 16, 2011 at 12:19 pm
(41) Shelly says:

I am 52, a 17 year fibromite and menopausal. I was diagnosed with fibrocystic breasts in my 30′s, so I have been having yearly mammograms for 22 years! At first it was very painful, the contraptions were designed to function and no real thought to comfort.
Now, my last mammogram was a breeze. More and more hospitals are recognizing that comfort plays a huge part in whether a woman will return annually or not.
I always mention that I have fibromyalgia, and they are extra careful co make it comfortable. They also read them before I leave, so in case one is “cloudy” due to the fibroid cysts, then can do it again right there.

July 16, 2011 at 5:59 pm
(42) Vicki K says:

I am 68 and had analog mammograms after 40, very painful, but I could handle it gritting my teeth. The one I had last year was DIGITAL, and I thought I would DIE it hurt so badly. I have fibromyalgia AND fibrocystic breasts that are VERY dense. I’m usually called back, too.

I actually wondered if my breasts were going to split! I asked the tech, and she said DIGITAL uses 60 POUNDS OF PRESSURE, where analog used less.

I told her I would NOT be back, my breasts for the next two weeks were BLUE and hurt so bad. Then I find out from my doctor that they “don’t use analog anymore”, so I guess I won’t be getting another mammogram. It hurt that bad, I am willing to risk cancer, and that’s pretty bad.

So people, it depends on whether you hav

August 19, 2011 at 4:58 am
(43) Pat says:

Vicki,
I have had stage 2 grade 2 breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy plus 2 more surgeries to remove more tissue which left me with almost half of that breast being removed.I went on to have 30 radiation treatments and am now on a breast cancer pill. I also have Fybroidmyalgia. I have been getting mammos regularly for the past 2 years, every 6 months. These mammos were never painful for me until the last one I had done 1 week ago. This technician was rough and pushed and pulled and just ‘dug’ me into that machine.It all hurt like never before and was fine when I went in. It has been a week and I am now in pain and so very sore and even have a bruise on my upper tummy rib. I had never had these mammos hurt like this before or leave me sore and aching. My report was normal and I got an A+ from my oncologist.
Now that being said…………I don’t know if it was the technician that caused so much pain or if they could possibly have new machines. I do know that after all I have been thru with the cancer, I still strongly urge all women to get their mammos on time. I went 7 years without getting a mammo of out fear of pain and a discovered a lump. I had been on hormone therapy for 7 years. If I had gone in for my mammos it could have been found earlier and would have spared me some of the grief and agony I have been thru. BUT………(I’m not yelling btw) the next mammo I have at my cancer center I will insist on a different tech to do it and will most definetely speak out about the discomfort. Ladies, if you get your mammos and they hurt, tell them about it.Do not hesitate because there are gentle techs out there.Out of all my mammos I have had done only this last one has caused pain.A week later I am still sore. It will pass I am sure but I will not keep quiet about it because I know from experience that they do not have to hurt. Blessings to all and seek out a mammo center that can perform these with compassion.

July 16, 2011 at 6:54 pm
(44) Jane says:

I, too, have had bad experiences with mammograms. When I had my first (and last) exam, My back went out about an hour after the exam. A few days later, I received a call letting me know I needed to come in again because of a few suspicious areas. I went for the 2nd exam,warning them about an old shoulder injury and my back going out on me after mammogram. They promised to be quick and careful, but they weren’t. I was ready to scream by the time it was over, even with my premedication of Advil . BTW, I wasn’t diagnosed with fibro or CFS at the time and have a history of cystic, tender breasts. I ended up having an Ultrasound because of one spot that remained questionable… it was a cyst. No surprise there. I know I should have them done, the good RN that I am, but I can’t bring myself to go back in. I have considered having thermograms, but this would be totally out of pocket. If men had to routinely endure this exam, it would be virtually painless!!

July 16, 2011 at 9:15 pm
(45) Kim Valente says:

I can tolorate an immense amount of pain I have to every moment of everyday However I have noticed that my last Mamo was so painful that IF there was a camera in that room they would have called in the people with the white coats & the special jackets on me – When I am hurt so badly especially by someone who shows no remorse I get VERY angry I must have looked like the Hulk when he changes from man to beast (yes there were sound effects too ) – I was trying to expell my anger without punching holes in the wall!! this person hurt me so badly and did NOT stop cranking that handle when I whinced in agony!!! Like many FMS sufferers who were very athletic/muscular I am infested with knots in every spot in my body including my breasts – I can NOT wear a bra for long periods of time without suffering – I was due for a Mamo a few months ago & I have not gone yet. That’s not like me but the thought of experiencing that torture again holds me back – I WILL go to a different place because we Must keep up on them. Just wanted to share my day of Angony !!!!!!

July 17, 2011 at 3:02 am
(46) Gloria says:

I also have fibrous tissue in my breasts which made the mammograms difficult.

I was very surprised to see that the fibrous tissue softened A LOT when I started on Iodoral (a high potency iodine supplement). My breasts became very soft within a week and I am no able to BSE which was pointless before since everything was “lumpy”.

July 17, 2011 at 9:31 am
(47) Carolyn says:

I also recently had a mammogram. I am now 60 and have been having them for many years. Had fibrous breasts for years and have been put under twice to have cysts removed. I’ve never had a painful mammo until this last one. I never understood the negative comments out there. The pain? Until now. My God I was in pain and had triggered migraines for three days straight. My neck was done in. This gal was nothing like the previous women I’ve had. And I don’t recall ever having to say I have a bad neck and fibro. I’ll have to from now on. I’ve never been squeezed as tight. Wow. I don’t want to go back but I understand why I will have to.

July 22, 2011 at 1:00 am
(48) Linda says:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mammography

Interesting link.

Lilly: Very sorry about your mother and your poor young step-daughter. I know that emotional pain and anguish can sometimes come out as anger. It used to happen with me alot until I got beaten down with FM and depression. Now I just cry alot.

July 23, 2011 at 5:16 pm
(49) LILLY says:

HELLO LINDA, THANK U, MY MOTHER IS NOW 88 AND HAD B. C. AT AGE 70, SO SHE IS FINE ON THAT FRONT. MY STEPDAUGHTER HOWEVER IS NOT AS FORTUNATE. THEY R TRYING 2 KEEP IT AT BAY WITH TREATMENTS, BUT SHE IS STAGE 4. THE ONLY THING I AM ANGRY ABOUT IS HEARING PEOPLE TALK ABOUT GETTING A MAMMOGRAM LIKE IT WAS MAJOR SURGERY; AND POSSIBLY MAKING SOMEONE AFRAID 2 GET ONE. IF THEY THINK A MAMMOGRAM HURTS, THEY SHOULD VISIT A CANCER WARD IN A HOSPITAL AND SEE WHAT REAL SUFFERING IS—————————-AND TO KATHY, I NOT ONLY HAVE FIBRO, I ALSO HAVE CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME, IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME, ACID REFLUX, AN IRREGULAR HEARTBEAT, MIGRAINES…… I AM SO ILL, I AM FOR THE MOST PART HOMEBOUND. MY BREASTS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN SO TENDER THAT EVEN A MANUAL EXAM BY MY M.D. HURTS LIKE HELL; BUT I WOULD NEVER RISK LETTING B.C. GO UNDETECTED BECAUSE A MAMMOGRAM HURTS! I JUST TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND KNOW IT IS SOMETHING THAT NEEDS 2 B DONE.

July 22, 2011 at 8:36 pm
(50) Spookiesmom says:

I do sporadic mamos. I’ll not be doing them ever again. Hurts too much, insensitive techs.

When a man allows his penis to be flattened, maybe I’ll reconsider. Because after that happens, it won’t hurt as bad

August 21, 2011 at 5:44 pm
(51) Heating Pad says:

Im with SpookiesMom, that sounds like a great idea!

July 23, 2011 at 11:47 am
(52) yes they hurt says:

I am 60 years old and almost everytime I get a mamogram, it hurts. Also the tighten the machine until I scream, it is a horrible experience and I hate it. They always find fibrocystic tissue and and to have more painful little clear paddles put on.

February 6, 2012 at 10:57 pm
(53) Lisa Syed says:

Please consider thermography as an early risk assessment. Breast Thermography is an imaging procedure where infrared images of the breast are analyzed and rated to determine the risk of developing breast cancer. Thermography is non-invasive, safe, and painless Ė no radiation or compression is used. Non-cancerous, non-malignant cysts do not create heat, making thermography a good test for women with fibromyalgia. I’m passionate about the benefits of breast thermography! There’s a lot of information available to you – both pro and con. Do the research for yourself.

March 9, 2012 at 9:34 am
(54) Karin says:

I’ve been reading the comments on this forum, and I appreciate every one of the ladies and their stories. I would like to know if anyone knows what to do about if/when there’s an ignorant, incompetent, and cruel tech, that clamps the breasts much tighter than she should, and also give a higher radiation dose on the mammo than she should. Different sizes breasts should not all be clamped together equally. Are there some rules and regulations for the level of tightness on different size breasts? And, a different # number to press that gives a higher or lower time and radiation, depending on the breast sizes? I’ve had lamps now, for about 14 yrs., and I’ve never had any pain or trouble w/any of my mamos, or w/any of the techs do far. Until I went to have my yearly mamo 5 days ago, and this tech was an older, (I must say it like it is) mean, abrupt, and nasty woman. She wouldn’t budge when I told her that she pressed the plates too tight on my breast: it’s almost as though she had a sadistic enjoyment in producing torture and pain on other women. It’s now been 5 days since the this mamo, and I’m STILL having major pain. I’ve never ever had this happen to me before. Could there be a possibility that this tech didn’t follow procedures, and clamped the plates more than she should have, and turned on the radiation too high? My biggest trouble is, the pain, the sensation of “burning” on especially one of my breasts. Unfortunately, NOT ALL techs are good techs, and if I got one that did something wrong, how can I prove it? It’s such a hassle. But, I’m concerned about this excruciating pain that came as a result of the mamo. I’m calling the radiologist of that clinic to let her know. But, does anyone have any other suggestions on how to go about & complain about this experience, other than not to take any more mamos. Thanks so much for your advise.

September 29, 2012 at 8:46 pm
(55) lisa says:

I had my first mamogram yesterday after prolonging it for so long. I have sentitive breast already so I was not to crazy about this procedure. the technician was very understanding and the procedure did hurt, but i got through it. The problem was after i left the office, I began t feel light headed and very dizzy. Like I was about to pass out! im not sure if it was due to the compression or what. I was exhausted and went home to lay down. later that evening the breast and chest area began to ach. I took some pain meds for this. I will say this. NEVER THE HECK AGAIN.Its a procedure that causes injury to a womans breast. How could that be life saving?
When they come up with a testigram” or something that compresses a mans testicles the same way they do us ladies with mamogram, Well , I think the attitude in the medical community will change.

September 7, 2013 at 3:43 am
(56) Wendy Forsyth says:

I had a mammogram 8 weeks ago. It was extremely uncomfortable. I was ‘called back’ last week for a repeat/check. Second lot of ‘torture’ wasn’t quite so bad. All is fine. BUT I told them that since the original mammogram I have had on-off pain in my right pectoral area. They didn’t seem to think that they caused it but it’s a real nuisance at night and is too co-incidental that I’ve got this problem just since I had the first mammogram. The whole experience is pretty damned awful.

February 14, 2014 at 4:04 pm
(57) Pamela says:

I am actually due for one – just need to schedule the appointment. I’ve had them done in the past, but my Fibro and other health issues weren’t as bad then as they are now. I’ve got lumpy breasts too…so I have no idea how this upcoming mammogram is going to go.

Wish me luck!

March 18, 2014 at 3:45 am
(58) Fay Ewalt says:

I haven’t had a mammogram in 25 years because it was such a bad experience.

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