Mammograms Can Be More Stressful Than Cancer
Stresses Over Mammography Plague Breast Cancer Survivors
WebMD News Archive
Taking the Stress Out of Mammograms
The study also found that support from doctors, friends, and
family plays an important role in mediating the stress women feel about
Strong support from their doctor reduced stress among women who
never had cancer, but increased stress levels among women with a history of
breast cancer. Researchers say that association doesn't necessarily mean that
the doctors caused their patients' symptoms, but the patients' distress may
have stimulated the doctors' concern.
Mason says that finding underscores the point that open
communication between the doctor and patient is critical to easing women's
fears about breast cancer screening.
Cheryl Perkins, MD, senior clinical advisor at the Komen
Foundation says asking questions at the time a mammogram is scheduled can help
allay women's fears up front. Those questions should include:
- What can you expect during the procedure itself?
- What is the follow-up plan?
- How much time is required to receive your results?
- How accurate are those results likely to be? What is the risk of a
- What would be done depending on those results?
For family and friends of women who are fearful about a
mammogram, Parker says it's important to listen and remind them of the positive
side of breast cancer screening.
"Try to validate her feelings and tell her that most women
feel the way she does," Parker tells WebMD. "It's just something to get
through, and she'll have that peace of mind on the other side of it."
For fact sheets and other information on what to expect from a
mammogram and other breast cancer issues, contact the toll-free helpline at the
Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation at (800) I'M AWARE or the Y-ME hotline
at (800) 221-2141.