Real Thoughts Real Women Had About Their Mammograms

“Is this fun? NOPE. Is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY.”


Starting from age 40, guidelines indicate women undergo mammography exams annually – and sometimes starting even earlier for patients at risk[1]. Evidence shows that finding breast cancer early reduces a woman’s risk of dying from the disease by 25-30 percent or more[2]. Yet one in four women still avoid getting a mammogram because of the fear and anxiety from the potential result and exam discomfort[3].

The Pulse asked women around the world for real thoughts they have before, during and after a mammogram. What’s really going through their minds? How can the experience be better?

Here are real thoughts from real women.

1. “The slightly uncomfortable feeling that occurs for a total of two or so minutes during the exam far outweighs the knowledge gained from the results.”

-Kansas, United States


2. “If they screened for testicular cancer the same way they do mammograms, we'd very quickly have a better method.”

-Wisconsin, United States


3. “Please don’t let there be cancer. These tiny breasts can’t disappoint me any more than they already have.”

-Wisconsin, United States

4. “My boobs are so small. How is that logistically going to work?!”

-Wisconsin, United States


5. “I was really fearful. When I saw the machine, I thought, "My goodness! What are you going to do to me, with this machine?" But after I went through the experience, I thought it was okay. It is not painful and there was nothing to fear.”



6. “This lady has to handle boobs all day! Ok… this is slightly uncomfortable, but not that bad."

-Arizona, United States


7. “I know early detection is key, so I am very lucky to be able to have mammograms regardless of the discomfort and stress it may bring.”

-Illinois, United States

8. “Anything that can be done to reduce the pervasive anxiety is critical. The comfort in that exam, the environment, the care and empathy of the care team become paramount. Everyone is “inconvenient”, everyone makes me worry for days before if this is the one that tells the definitive news.”

-Budapest, Hungary


9. “Is this fun? NOPE. Is it worth it? ABSOLUTELY.”

-Moscow, Russia


10. “Cold. It’s cold.”

-New Zealand


11. “Any discomfort is momentary (after all, it does involve the obviously unnatural event of having your breasts compressed!) and I’ve NEVER had any pain or discomfort afterward. The bonus? I leave knowing that I’ve done something important for my health.”

-Ohio, United States


12. I hope this process is fast and the results will be ok. I feel like I’m striking a pose like a fashion model, hold it…”Click”… Yes! They got the picture. Wow, that was fast! That hurt less than wearing heels! Now I wait.”

-California, United States


13. “They have to come up with a way to scan a six-foot plus woman's breasts without her assuming “chair pose’.”

-Illinois, United States

14. “I'm usually the only man in the waiting room when I go for my annual mammogram. But I'm as anxious as any of the women present about preventing a recurrence of my breast cancer or at least catching a recurrence early. I always recall how fortunate I was to have good insurance and great support from friends and family. And then I wonder what other patients do who have neither.”

-Ohio, United States


15. “As I am currently deciding when to go and have recently weaned my child from breastfeeding, I wonder: Am I going to spray milk all over that torture machine?”

-California, United States


16. “They don't find it amusing when I say, "Hulk smash boobs now." I always want pancakes after.”

-Wisconsin, United States


17. “Before: Hope this goes ok. During: This is awkward. After: Wow, that was the most action I've gotten lately.”

-Washington, D.C.


18. “Being in the waiting room is humbling. You are there with many other women, sometimes men, who are there for various breast tissue related reasons. You may have the first-time patient, the person that has been coming for their annual mammograms and understands the routine, and the person who may be discovering that they have cancer for the first time.”

-Massachusetts, United States

19. “Ugh that time of year again… I hope I can get in and out quickly.”

-Indiana, United States

20. “I used to think that a regular mammogram scan was not important but having done my first recently, it got me thinking that this is a good way to take care of myself and seeing the results put my mind at ease that everything is okay.”



A team of female engineers, designers, marketers and managers used their unique insights as women to design the Senographe Pristina – a new, more comfortable mammography system they would want to be scanned on.

Every breast is different, and there are different tests for different breasts. For women with dense breasts, the Automated Breast Ultrasound offers a curved transducer to pick up enhanced breast coverage and provide added patient comfort.


Senographe Pristina generates digital mammographic images that can be used for screening and in the diagnosis of breast cancer. The Senographe Pristina 3D Digital Breast Tomosynthesis system is indicated for acquisition of multiple projection views to produce 3D digital mammography images suitable to be used in screening and diagnosis of breast cancer. The Invenia ABUS is indicated as an adjunct to mammography or breast cancer screening in asymptomatic women for whom screening mammography findings are normal or benign (BI-RADS® Assessment Category 1 or 2), with dense breast parenchyma (BI-RADS Composition/Density C or D), and have not had previous clinical breast intervention. The device is intended to increase breast cancer detection in the described patient population. The Invenia ABUS may also be used for diagnostic ultrasound imaging of the breast in symptomatic women.

Senographe Pristina and Invenia ABUS are prescription medical devices limited to sale, distribution, or use, to or on the order of a physician. Medical device imaging is not without risk, please discuss the risks and benefits associated with mammography with your healthcare professional.


[3] Aro, A., de Koning, H., Absetz, P., Schreck, M. (2001). Two distinct groups of non-attendees in an organized screening mammography program. Breast Cancer Research and Treatment. 70(2):145-153.

20. “Ugh that time of year again… I hope I can get in and out quickly.”