Painful Mammograms

I have always found mammograms horrendously painful, even before I was diagnosed with BC.

The radiographers always think I’m over-reacting and aren’t all that sympathetic.

Does anyone else have this problem and/or have any advice?

I find them really painful too. Think its cos I have small boobs so there isn’t much to squash in the machine. I had my first year mammo a couple of weeks ago and took some painkillers about an hour before it. Still hurt though, sorry! It was over relatively quickly though. The woman who did my mammo was very nice though and coped with my tears! Good luck with yours.

I don’t cry but I must confess I actually SWORE last time when crushed by the dreaded plates - didn’t go down too well, but I couldn’t help it!:slight_smile:

I found the ones I had when I discovered my lump were really painful, definitely brought a tear to my eye, and the same when I had another one when I got called back for a biopsy when I was originally diagnosed.

But when I went for my first annual check up last October, it wasn’t anywhere near as painful. Now whether that was because they were more sympathetic knowing that I had been through chemo, surgery and radio by then or whether they were just a bit less heavy handed I don’t know.

I did mention that I was worried about the pain because I had found previous ones painful and that was before any scars etc so I don’t know whether that made a difference, but it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it was going to be.

I’m inclined to think it’s either down to the competence of the operator or the type of machine (or both).

My next one is due very soon - I’m going to see if I can talk to someone in charge beforehand, because the women who actually operate the machines don’t seem to listen to a word I say.

What really amazes me is that the leaflet that they send out says that the procedure ‘may be slightly uncomfortable, a bit like getting your blood pressure taken’

Yea, right - obviously written by someone who has never had one.:frowning:

…or the comments were written by a man…lol.

that said , my surgeon and senior oncologist are men and they are both excellent;so maybe it IS just down to staff you have on the day.

I have my next mammo on 29th feb and my boobs are still very sore due to cellulitis and RT on top of this;I am expecting this to be an uncomfortable experience.

what do they look for on your yearly check ups? is it to see if the C has gone ? Or what?




A friend of mine just had her first mammogram and said the first shot they took was really painful because the radiographer had set the machine on automatic. After my friend saying it hurt (she has extremely small breasts, which didn’t make the situation easier) the radiographer squeezed the plates together under manual control, which was a bit better.
I hadn’t realised that they can set it on automatic, but that explains why when I’ve ended up in tears with the pain, the following ones haven’t been as bad.

I must admit, the one I had when I found my lump was pretty excruciating as I thought the lump was about to burst and it made me feel nauseous. I also found the first on post lumpectomy/ANC very uncomfortable.

However, a couple of years ago my clinic got a new mammo machine which seems much more comfortable - the plates don’t seem to squeeze you so hard, so it’s less like being gripped in a vice. It also has a colour changing mood panel at the back which is very soothing and takes your mind off things a bit. I do tend to feel uncomfortable for a couple of day after though.

Hi All
I think the experience is like all the others it depends on the person in charge.
Last one I had was done by B888h from hell. It was my fifth year and she seemed to have no clue about the significanc of getting an all clear or how much it can hurt. I find the breast I’ve had surgery on particularly painful. I stood talking to her with tears dripping off my nose and she didn’t even offer a tissue.
I do think they should all have it done as part of their training just so they can empathis at least.
This is my first year without one though and I feel a little uneasy.
Fingers crossed.

Hi All,

I had three completely painless mammograms until 2010 when the one to my left breast was very painful - that was 14 months before I found the lump there. When I had the mammo at the Breast Clinic on day of diagnosis it too was sore on the left side.

At first I wondered if the 2010 mammo had somehow caused the cancer but I now wonder if it was the lump causing the pain and it was too small to detect at that time. Was 33mm when removed in October 2011.

I would welcome your comments on this as it is puzzling me and my BCN told me they would automatically check the mammo although I haven’t asked about the outcome.

Take care all, Liz.


Well I had mine today and it was nothing like the previous ones - just a small squeeze and over in a couple of seconds.

I put it all down to getting an operator who knew what she was doing for a change. She was nice to me as well, which is another first for staff in that department.

Had my 1 year on mammo today and I can honestly say it only hurt half as much as last year… but then I do have half as many boobs now… chin up to us all x

Dont understand the comments on here. Mammograms nothing at all; couldnt even describe it as uncomfortable.
So easy, unbeleivable. What is all the fuss about?

I must admit I am really worried about this. I have very painful lymphoedema in my breast. It hurts all the time and just pressing on the breast tissue with my hand hurts. I dread to think how bad a mammogram would be. I also worry about whether it would make the lymphoedema worse. I recently had an echocardiogram on that side and though I dosed myself with tramadol, paracetamol and naproxen before hand it was still very painful for days afterwards. Luckily I have until June before I have my first one. I just hope the lymphoedema improves enough by then.


Hi A, a lady I talk to who has lynphodema had mammogram recently and said it want that bad ,you have awhile for thing too improves too .Im dreading my first post treatment one.

Kitty63,have you had surgery and radiotherapy your breast ?

The lady I speak to who has breast lymphodema didn’t find the mammogram as bad as she thought it would be.Maybe take some painkillers beforehand?

Unfortunately I had the most awful mammogram this morning. Wasn’t expecting it so had only taken the naproxen I usually take for the lymphoedema, rather than the tramadol I usually take for my nerve damage in my legs. When the mammogram lady saw the extent of the lymphoedema she moved me to a different machine. She couldn’t have been nicer and did it all manually. Fine on my non lymph side -wasn’t even uncomfortable -a smear test is worse. I can understand why some women find this a breeze. But when she did my lymph side initially I felt like I was going to be sick and when she did it under my armpit I nearly fainted. She had to quickly get me off and lying down. She said I had gone as white as a sheet. I knew it was going to be painful but I didn’t realise it was going to be that bad. She said it is because of where the lymphoedema is, but it didn’t help that I have acute pain in my rib cage (radiotherapy damage) and the plate was jabbing into the area where it hurts the most. I am still in considerable pain now -it was agony driving home. I had to sit in the car for a bit to wait for when I felt safe to drive. My hands wouldn’t stop shaking. I wish I had had someone with me. I have taken a couple of tramadol and I intend to have a lie down. Dreading my echocardiogram on Monday -I hope things have settled down a bit before then as the last one was very painful because of where they have to put the ultrasound thing. It would be so great if they could invent something to replace mammogram s because for ladies like me who have constant pain and inflammation in the breast and ribcage it is just unbearable. At least I have a whole 12 months for things to settle down now before the next one. 


Amero x

Oh you poor thing,sounds awful.I have mine in about 6 weeks and my ribs are still very painful too,I will dose myself up with painkillers .

My treated boob is still quite tender and I can’t put much pressure on it but my Mammogram wasn’t painful bizarrely, she was lovely and rushed around to get the picture and take the pressure off as quickly as possible!