Mammograms are incredibly important when it comes to early detection of breast cancer, which leads to more successful treatment.
Unfortunately, they also create a lot of anxiety.
Some women are worried about the radiation involved. Others fear the procedure will hurt. Many simply have concerns about taking the time for any medical appointment.
And then there is the anxiety around what the mammogram could discover.
EHE Health has some suggestions for getting past these fears and getting the mammograms you need.
1. Positive Coping Statements
When your brain is screaming at you to put on the brakes, overcome the negative thought patterns with positive coping statements.
You might tell yourself:
- This is an opportunity to overcome my fears
- Anxiety cannot hurt me and getting screened will benefit me
- I am confident that I can overcome my anxiety to better my health
These statements can override the negative thoughts impeding your ability to pick up the phone and dial. Once you make your appointment, you can rely on these positive coping statements to get you through the visit. Just keep repeating them to yourself to keep anxiety at bay.
2. Offer Yourself Immediate Rewards
Reward yourself for both making your mammogram appointment and completing the breast cancer screening process in full. With immediate rewards awaiting you on the other side of those challenging tasks, it will be much easier to commit to completing the process.
Any reward that speaks to you will do from a full manicure and pedicure to supplies for your favorite hobby. Just make sure to give yourself the rewards right away to give your brain the positive feedback it needs.
3. Talk to Friends and Family
Your loved ones can be a great resource. Whether you simply need distraction or want to learn about their own mammogram experiences. Your group can even potentially schedule your screening visits together to provide full support.
4. Educate Yourself and Set Expectations
Information can kill fear. The more you know about what to expect at your appointment, the better.
It may sound simple, but just knowing more about the doctor (if new) or facility where you’ll have your mammogram, learning about false positives, and preparing any questions you have once you get there can go a long way toward reducing your anxiety.
Mammograms are not perfect. Understanding their limitations is crucial. But they can also save your life, so do what you can to be examined when it’s time.