Dressing up when we know we would be asked to take our clothes off is something we women do well. Don’t ask me why.
I have had a tough time convincing my female patients to kill two birds with one stone by getting an overdue pap smear done during a routine clinic visit because they did not feel groomed for the undress.
My “get the pap done today” cajoling gets refuted with variants of “I can’t get my pap done today because I did not shave my legs” or “let’s do the pap next time because I did not shower before coming in today”.
Mammograms (the waffle maker for breasts) have a different rule however. Grooming gets in the way of getting your mammogram done correctly.
Yes, you can take a shower. Yes, you can shave your armpits but please do not use deodorants before your mammogram!
The aluminum content of the deodorant does not play well with the mammogram films. Being that the armpit is in close proximity to the breast, particles from the deodorant could easily cause what is known as “artifacts” on the mammogram films making the reading of your mammogram troublesome for the radiologists.
This in turn leads to the dreaded call backs to get the mammogram repeated or even worse, requests for more invasive tests like needle biopsy. You think mammograms are painful or uncomfortable at the best; breast needle biopsies are even worse.
I can’t imagine going without using deodorant on the long-term. You probably feel the same but we all can put up with going deodorant-free the day of our mammogram appointment.