Will a mammogram hurt?

A mammogram should not be painful, but it will be uncomfortable for some women depending on your breast tissue type. Some exams may be more uncomfortable for some and for others it does not bother them at all.

A mammogram exam in its entirety will typically only take 10-15 minutes for a routine screening exam. This consists of the technologist taking the standard four view routine; this consists of two different projections of each breast. Compression only lasts as long as the exposure is being made; once exposure is done the compression paddle automatically releases you out of compression.

Remember that if your breasts are tender during the time of your mammogram it may typically be a little more uncomfortable for you, so when scheduling your mammogram please remember to schedule your appointment when your breasts are the least tender.

How should you prepare for a mammogram?

To prepare for a mammogram you should:

  1. Try to schedule your mammogram at a time when your breasts are least tender or 10 days after the onset of your menstrual cycle.
  2. Do not wear deodorant, powder, or cream in your underarms or underneath your breasts as these products can interfere with testing.
  3. Be prepared to change from the waist up off. Try not to wear a dress to your mammography exam.

Remember that you are doing something important for your health. A mammogram can detect a growth in your breast before you do. The earlier an abnormality is spotted, the better it is for you!



Why do I need a mammogram?

The American Cancer Society recommends that a woman has her baseline mammogram between the ages of 35-40. Women over the age of 40 should have a mammogram annually. A mammogram is an x-ray exam of the breasts, which is used in detection and diagnosis of breast disease. Mammography is the most effective method of detecting breast cancer, but there are other methods including self breast exams and clinical breast exams, which are done by your provider. Mammography is able to detect cancer at its earliest stages.

Breast cancer affects 1 in 8 women; with the use of mammography we can find cancer at its earliest stages before it spreads. A mammogram can detect a growth in your breast before you do. The earlier an abnormality is spotted the better it is for you.

Learn more at ministryhealth.org/breastcare



No Women Left Behind: The Angel Fund at Saint Michael’s Foundation

A few months ago, Susan walked into our Walk In Wednesday Clinic for a mammogram. She had not had a mammogram for over two years and her best friend had been encouraging her to go in. Susan was busy – three kids, a full-time job and she spent three of the four week day nights carting kids to/from practices or school activities. It created a very busy schedule that was not conducive to schedule her own medical appointments. Susan’s best friend was persistent. In fact, she became a bit of a nag. But, what she didn’t know is that Susan was unable to afford a mammogram as well. She simply did not have the insurance coverage to cover it.

After finally confessing this to her friend, her friend let Susan know that Saint Michael’s Foundation had the Angel Fund to help women just like her. The next Wednesday, Susan walked through the doors.

The Breast Care Center at Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital wants to ensure that every woman receives an annual screening for their breast care. Early detection can help save a life. Amanda and Kerrie, our Breast Care Navigators, are absolutely terrific! They can help you, your mom, your sister – or your best friend – navigate different programs that are available for women in our community, and they will discuss the qualifications for each of the programs with you, answering any questions you may have.

These programs are available for patients:

  • Who do not have insurance or
  • Have insurance that does not pay for breast care or mammograms, or
  • Have a deductible or medical expense you cannot afford.

The Angel Fund at Saint Michael’s Foundation helps to serve patients by providing prevention, detection and screening services for breast cancer. This Fund ensures that every woman has the opportunity to obtain an annual breast cancer screening and early detection. Please don’t let your finances or your lack of insurance be a barrier to you scheduling an annual breast exam.

Call 715.342.7733 to find out if you qualify for the Angel Fund or one of the other programs the Breast Care Center at Ministry Saint Michael’s Hospital offers. We encourage you to please call and make an appointment for your annual screening today or to remind your family and friend to make an appointment today. Be a nag if you have to; but join us to ensure that no woman gets left behind in our fight to ensure that every woman gets an annual screening for their breast care.

Angie Heuck is the Director of the Saint Michael's Hospital Foundation

Angie Heuck, Saint Michael’s Foundation Director

Angie Heuck, Director of the Saint Michael’s Foundation

What is a Certified Breast Care Nurse?

Kerrie Treutel, RN and Amanda Friese, RN are Certified Breast Care Nurses (CBCN). Currently, there are 851 CBCN-certified nurses in the country. These registered nurses consist of staff nurses, clinicians, educators, and managers in breast care nursing. CBCN is the only nationally accredited breast care certification that is available exclusively to registered nurses, and validates the specialized knowledge necessary for breast care nursing practice.

The CBCN examination tests the knowledge necessary for the nurse to practice competently within the specialty of breast care nursing, from prevention/detection, to diagnosis, treatment, survivorship, and end of life care.

If you or a family member has questions for our Certified Breast Care Nurses, please call them directly at 715-342-7733.

Breast Care Navigators_Treutel_Friese

Kerrie Treutel, RN and Amanda Friese, RN


Breast Health

“Know Thyself” – The cornerstone of breast health is to be aware of your risk factors and your body. Knowing your family health history helps you assess your health risks. Ask your family about cancers in the family, specifically breast cancers, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancers and colon cancers. Make sure your primary care provider knows your family history. Also, know your body. Perform monthly self breast exams. Report new or worrisome findings to your clinician.

“Get Screened” – Talk to your primary care physician about breast cancer screening. Most women are recommended to start mammograms yearly at age 40. There are other radiologic studies that can add information if you have a strong family history, feel a lump, or have dense breasts.

“Share” – Many women have had difficulty with mammograms, felt breast lumps, or even been treated for breast cancer. Talk to friends and family about your worries and fears surrounding breast health. That support will go a long way in ensuring you follow through with your clinicians breast health recommendations.

Christopher W. Swiecki, MD

By Christopher Swiecki, MD, Ministry Medical Group

Breast Cancer Misconceptions and Facts

Misconception: Young Women (under 35) do not get breast cancer.

Fact: Breast Cancer is more likely to occur in women 35 years of age and older, however, breast cancer can occur in very young women. Any lump or breast concern found at any age needs evaluation by a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner.


Misconception: Women with high risk factors such as family history are usually the ones who will have breast cancer.

Fact: 76 percent of women who have breast cancer did not have risk factors. Being female is the highest risk factor. All women are at risk.


Misconception: Breast cancer is not painful; fibrocystic breast condition is what causes the pain.

Fact: Breast cancer is usually not associated with pain. However, 11 percent of women with breast cancer experienced pain as a symptom. Any breast pain needs evaluation by a physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner.

The above information was supplied from COPE Library, EduCare, Inc. 2014.