Tips for a Mammogram Newbie


There are a number of health screenings that can be daunting your first time and getting a mammograms is one of them. It can be easy to fall into mom mode and push off our yearly mammogram, putting everyone else’s health needs ahead of our own. But honestly, taking care of ourselves is taking care of our family too. So let’s collectively pinky swear that we will prioritize ourselves and our health, and schedule these appointments we’ve been putting off… starting with a mammogram. And if you are a mammogram newbie, here are some helpful tips!

First, let’s start by clearing the air about how mammograms aren’t as painful as you have probably heard. Uncomfortable? Yes. But truly not very painful. To help reduce discomfort, Hoag shared that women should avoid scheduling your mammogram when your breasts may be tender which is likely the week prior to your menstrual cycle. That might seem like an obvious tip but I honestly hadn’t thought about it when scheduling and I’m so glad they mentioned it!

Next I want to walk you through the appointment itself so you know what to expect. The team at the Hoag Breast Center in Irvine was amazing and ensured that I was comfortable during each step. When I checked into my appointment, they first had me fill out a questionnaire on an iPad to go over my medical history and breast cancer risk. Then they brought me back to a changing room where I put on a robe, only removing my bra and shirt. Once properly dressed, I was led to the exam room where I had a short consult with the Technologist. The imaging itself happened next and it was quick and comfortable. When the exam was over I got to choose from a special Breast Cancer Awareness Month prize (not going to lie, that was a perk for sure!) and was given a cute little sticker saying that ‘I had my mammogram’. The staff truly made the whole experience a breeze.

Once your mammogram is complete, a highly specialized Hoag breast radiologist will interpret the results, typically the next business day. Soon after, your report will be available in the electronic medical record system as well as a mailed letter. Hoag offers nine breast imaging locations in Orange County, including three comprehensive Hoag Breast Centers in Huntington Beach, Irvine, and Newport Beach, that feature state-of-the-art technology and imaging expertise and experience with more than 80,000 breast imaging exams performed each year. Personally, I get quite a bit of anxiety over health screenings, but knowing that they are a leader in breast care gave me so much peace of mind throughout this experience.

Lastly, I want you to pretend that we are having coffee mom-to-mom. It is vital that you take care of yourself because you are so valuable and important. Scheduling your mammogram may seem like a small, unimportant task but it isn’t. Those ‘seemingly small’ tasks (eating well, working out, scheduling appointments, etc) add up and make a massive difference in our women’s health journey. Let’s show our kids that investing in our health is also an investment into the people we love. I hope these tips helped put your mind at ease as a mammogram newbie. Us moms must stick together. You got this!


Thanks to Hoag for working with us on this article!