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  • Dr. Pragati Singhal
  • 16 April 2024

Mammograms are vital screenings for detecting early signs of breast cancer, but the fear of discomfort during the procedure can deter some women from scheduling this important test. Understanding what to expect regarding mammogram pain can alleviate anxiety and ensure women prioritize their breast health without hesitation.

What is a Mammogram?

A mammogram is a quick and efficient X-ray examination of the breast, typically lasting less than 10 minutes. During the procedure, you'll be asked to undress from the waist up and wear a gown. Your breast will be placed on a flat surface and compressed with a paddle to spread out breast tissue for clear imaging.

Mammogram Pain: What to Expect

While the exam itself is not painful, the compression of breast tissue can cause discomfort for some women. The sensation is often described as pressure akin to having an elbow pressed into the chest. This discomfort lasts only for a few seconds while the X-ray image is captured. Afterwards, the pressure is released, and you can relax.

After the Mammogram

After the mammogram, the images are reviewed by a radiologist.

If additional images are needed, they will be requested at this time. You'll then be free to leave, with results typically available within 3 days.

Alternative Procedures

Although there are alternative procedures like ultrasound, MRI, and thermography, mammograms remain the gold standard for breast cancer detection due to their effectiveness.

When to Schedule Your Mammogram

Timing your mammogram around your menstrual cycle can help minimize discomfort, with the week after your period being the ideal time. It's recommended that women of average risk begin discussing mammograms with their healthcare provider at age 40.

Post-Mammogram Pain

While some women may experience minor soreness or sensitivity after a mammogram, it's usually tolerable and shouldn't last long. Factors like breast shape, positioning during the exam, and personal pain tolerance contribute to individual experiences.

Other Considerations

Minor bruising may occur, especially for those on blood-thinning medication. Wearing a padded sports bra for the rest of the day can enhance comfort. Additionally, it's essential to note that a mammogram exposes you to a small amount of radiation, but the benefits of early breast cancer detection outweigh the minimal risk.


In conclusion, while mammogram pain is a valid concern, it's generally minimal and short-lived. Prioritising regular screenings is paramount for early detection and improved outcomes in breast cancer treatment. By understanding what to expect during and after a mammogram, women can approach this essential screening with confidence and peace of mind.

"With Compassion & Expertise, Dr. Pragati Singhal Guiding You Towards Recovery"


Breast Cancer Basics Women's Health Prevention and Wellness Mammogram