Articles, Blog

Do Mammograms Hurt?

August 26, 2019

[Music] false positive results have been described as the most frequent harm associated with mammogram screening but actually it may be pain and there’s a wide variation both in the reported frequency of pain and in degree of pain felt by women during mammograms but there may be a little doubt that the majority of women feel some degree of pain during the procedure why is that just some type of x-ray and for those unfamiliar the breast is sandwiched between two plates and can a pancaked down instructions are typically like slowly apply compression until the breast feels talked with a force not exceeding 20 kilograms that’s 44 pounds it’s like the weight of a cinder block no wonder some women experience pain studies have attempted to quantify it are all over the place with the incidence of pain raging anywhere from 1% to 93 percent depending on how they defined it the discomfort is enough to keep a portion of women from not coming back the typical line you hear is that although the compression can be uncomfortable and even painful for some women it only lasts a few seconds a sentiment to which one woman replied you tell the doctor to come on over he’s got stuff that can be mashed too you know mammogram compression can cause bruising and has led to the rupture of breast implant cysts and blood vessels women with dense breasts are often advised to take painkillers or tranquilized to endure the procedure more comfortably yet you know pain is there for a reason I was trying to warn us about potential tissue damage there’s at least a theoretical concern that tissue inflammation couldn’t wake up dormant tumors but that’s sheer speculation at this point still and we could try to make them less painful the reason they do it is to reduce breast thickness purportedly decreasing the radiation dose and improving image quality but when it was put to the test and actually measured one study found the radiation dose increased at higher compression forces another study found that about order of women did not experience a difference in the thickness of their breasts when compression was eased back a bit implying that more compression was applied than necessary once minimum thickness is achieved then further compression only results in more pain with no benefit to image quality the bottom line is that pain of mammography is an issue to be taken seriously recognizing this and the tone and content of patient information advising on ways to deal with it which show greater respect for patients than just blanket reassurances the reason women aren’t more up in arms may be that the majority of women feel compelled by fear or duty to comply but this just helps the medical establishment push the pain issue to the margins [Music] you


  • Reply Ann February 9, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    my boobs are too small to get them lol

  • Reply Jennifer Butt February 9, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    After watching these last two videos on mammogram me I will never have one.

  • Reply D Master February 9, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    So current mammogram protocol may not be breast practice

  • Reply l m February 9, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    I know this isn't the kind of this that you talk about.. however i have been thinking about botox lately, and wanted to know whether there are any health concerns relating to it from its use?

  • Reply D Master February 9, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    Good to see Gregor keeping abreast of things but what's it got to do with nutrition?

  • Reply Sherri February 9, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    Yes, they hurt. Yes, there are too may false positives. Yes, they are a yearly stressor. Yes, with poor insurance they are expensive ($500!). Yes, there could probably be a less invasive and more accurate test invented! 😫😡😰

  • Reply J Mc February 9, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    Excruciating pain. Had one in my life. Hurt for a week after. I couldn't believe it. There's no history of BC in my family, so I think I'll just stick with manual examination. I can't speak for women with dense breasts. but OMG.

  • Reply 5x Disneyfans February 9, 2018 at 2:36 pm

    My friend passed away from breast cancer and blames having a mammogram for making her cancer spread from the extreme force placed on her breast with the tumours. She asked me to promise to never get one.

  • Reply Sunghee Lee February 9, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    Dr. Greger, what does the science say about nasal irrigation? My whole family is doing it including my little one.
    Ate there any side affects(in long term) we should concern about…? Thank you so much!

  • Reply Drea East Coast February 9, 2018 at 3:15 pm

    AND if your breasts are larger than a DDD, it is very, very hard for them to properly give you one. I am way larger than that size, so it's useless for me to get one because they cannot get it right.

  • Reply Vicky Manson February 9, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    Another great video, thank you Dr Greger for taking pain seriously! Can you please also make a series about pap smears? And the possible pain related to it, that many doctors dismiss. Many women are traumatized by extremely painful pap smear tests.

  • Reply MzClementine February 9, 2018 at 3:22 pm

    3D ultrasound is the way to go for this test! I wouldn’t even be able to get my breast to lay on that platform. They are too perky. What then. 3D ultrasound. Painless and less dangerous…

  • Reply Bumble Bee February 9, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    I'm so glad you're doing this series. My doc is insisting I get these yearly, and I don't want to have them any more.

  • Reply Vlatin Pudimir February 9, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    Hi Doc, when I stick to your "Daily dozen App" then I only get about 10g of Omega 6 fats. Do you know if that is bad when I dont reach the rda of 17g Omega 6 fats?

  • Reply meow0meow7 February 9, 2018 at 5:55 pm

    Yeah fuck it, I'm never getting one.

  • Reply Katelyn Ayling February 9, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    40 pounds?!

  • Reply Nicole Hamper February 9, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    I was guilted into having a mammogram. The last position they put me in was incredibly painful. I begged to have her release me from the machine! She would not! I was furious!! So, NO, I will NEVER have another one.

  • Reply Diane Hall February 9, 2018 at 7:27 pm

    Horribly painful! Since my breasts are so large, they take 2 X-rays per breast, and then they always repeat the X-rays. Every time–I get 8 mammogram X-rays done! Thus—talk about pain! At age 18, my breasts were so lumpy, a doctor told me I had to come in every 3 months! Now, that I’m 60 and who knows how many mammograms later, I swear I’ll NEVER have another one! And mind you, I’m an RN and I’ve seen how ugly breast cancer can be.

  • Reply Exotic Parallel February 9, 2018 at 8:34 pm

    Dr greger is the breast doctor ever!

  • Reply Kelley King February 9, 2018 at 11:18 pm

    A bit of discomfort.  Not painful.

  • Reply Kari B February 10, 2018 at 1:20 am

    I had a friend, who was Korean, living in the US. She was 40 years old and went in for a mammogram that was clear. Six months later she had a tumor, stageIV. She was in great shape, eight primarily a Korean diet, I’ll be at high in oil. No family history. Died a year later. She did mammo because told by dr and insurance paid for it.

  • Reply Who AreYou February 10, 2018 at 1:38 am

    I had one once, it was excruciating. Never again, if I can help it.

  • Reply Tech Tins February 10, 2018 at 1:42 am

    Someone should investigate how wealthy the companies are, that make these machines and the line of monetary transactions involved. The real truth is probably far worse than the pain it causes. The phrase huge medical Scam comes to mind.

  • Reply EnervatedSociety February 10, 2018 at 2:31 am

    Mammograms give my girl a boner. Her words, not mine.

  • Reply D Master February 10, 2018 at 3:37 am

    It's a good thing they don't use these sorts of machines to check for testicular cancer.

  • Reply Michael Martinussen February 10, 2018 at 4:26 am

    Why use a dumb question in the headline? Clickbait?

  • Reply Elham M February 10, 2018 at 5:25 am

    Hi Dr. Greger, would you please do a video about magnesium and the issues surrounding it? Like the best type of magnesium supplement and whether it should be taken with calcium? Also is it safe to take vitamin D3 supplement while being magnesium deficient? Thanks!

  • Reply Mi Amivo February 10, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Hi Dr. are there any study abt relation of longevity and internal feelings and thoughts. plz make video abt that. Love your voice.

  • Reply Neonoirite February 10, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    Glad you addressed this. Mammograms are barbaric and do more harm than (if any) good. Women shouldn't be pressured into having them or at least be clearly informed on what they entail beforehand.

  • Reply Poppy Manor February 10, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    That‘s the reason why I don‘t want to have it done. I cringe even at the thought.

  • Reply piam18 February 10, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    Nobody cares about mammograms. Where are your videos about fasting that you promised more than a year ago ?

  • Reply {Delete this} February 10, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    So glad i dont need these. I was terrified of having to do this in the future, since most women in my family have some form of cancer. But turns out its because our diet was killing us. I started eating a whole food, plant based diet and now im almost cancer proof! Even got rid of my early diabetes and chronic fatigue. 🙂

  • Reply Joshua Palardy February 11, 2018 at 1:04 am

    What the f*** is it with you and mammograms

  • Reply Tactical Lala February 12, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    It takes only a fraction of a second to kick someone in the groin so it can't be that bad.

  • Reply anthrogal19 February 14, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    Ugh, this is why we need more women in (positions of power in) science and medicine! These videos are showing the bind that we're in and making me feel a bit exasperated. We seriously need a better approach because breast cancer kills.

  • Reply Tea-Licious With Yulia February 16, 2018 at 8:51 am

    Wow, very insightful, as usual!! Yulia

  • Reply heymisterderp February 17, 2018 at 2:46 am

    In addition to the potential for harm in all cases and the pain felt in most cases, I have to presume there's some sexuo-sadistic stuff going on here in a minority of cases.

  • Reply heymisterderp February 17, 2018 at 2:58 am

    Men nationwide should endure a good ball scrunching if the sanctified drug dealers can get a clearer image. Men can leave the doctor's office proudly knowing that their balls were okay last year and phew, they're still okay this year too! Since balls are smaller than breasts, the compression force will be a lot less.
    In the meanwhile I'd like to see real doctors getting their breast exams on the public record just like we should insist they take the drugs they prescribe out in the open too. Let's see the doctors taking their own injections and swallowing their own pills and that'll go somewhere towards repairing my shattered belief system. What, what? Real doctors don't need pills? Yeeeah.

  • Reply Diana March 4, 2018 at 9:36 pm

    I guess I was lucky. I've had one mammogram and didn't feel any pain. And I'm not one who has a high pain tolerance, either.

  • Reply Mir Schultz April 14, 2018 at 12:33 pm

    I stopped having them. My last was around 2008. Doc keeps asking and I keep saying no. And yes, for some of us, they hurt like hell. My sister said hers don't. But I had fibrocystic breasts and mine are really big (G cup) and they hurt like the devil. Tears would spring from my eyes spontaneously. And I always had these little bruisings and red striations after. I did have surgery to remove "a mass" and it was benign–and that after my first mammo at 35. The stress and fear was awful. First time I saw my husband pale with anxiety and in tears over me. Awful.

  • Reply Grandmother Deb’s Way April 28, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    My last mammogram was so excruciating painful that tears were rolling down my face as I begged the technician to stop. She refused, of course. And I never had another mammogram and will never have another mammogram again. I was abused daily as a child and suffered even more if I complained about it. I can endure a lot of pain without saying anything. But never again. If men had to endure such a procedure to screen for cancer of the penis the test would be immediately banned. Because mammograms do more harm than good plus torture women, they should be banned, as well. Thank you for speaking out on this topic, Dr. Greger. Even sisters try to shame one another into getting mammograms. It's about time researchers such as yourself show them the many harms and inadequate possible benefits that come from such barbaric practices.

  • Reply Maris Apis August 5, 2018 at 2:49 am

    What in the hell is wrong with all of these women on here not wanting to check their breasts for cancer? mammography happens once a year. Watch someone you know die from breast cancer and I guarantee your ass you'll be getting mammos annually. Know this shit off. mammo saves lives and diagnoses even the earliest signs of breast cancer. Squeezing your breast and checking for lumps is not sufficient. Not all cancers come in lump form.

  • Reply TheRealEthanFisher August 13, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    If women ran the world… MANnogram.

    Stolen joke ✌🏼

  • Reply Yu Rui August 20, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Something called Smart Curve Breast Stabilisation System is way less pain

  • Reply Dustin Toland October 25, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Looking from the outside mammogram machine seems like a torture device. Why is this the best detection we've got?

  • Reply Sarah McCormick December 7, 2018 at 2:27 am

    Well this doesnt help me feel any better about my first mammogram tomorrow…

  • Reply LISA SMITA December 15, 2018 at 11:21 am

    Omg…… any man who can't relate, squeeze your "package" between your car door. Exactly!

  • Reply LittleMilkJug December 27, 2018 at 4:45 pm

    Do they hurt? Like a bitch…especially if you got extra rolls of fat on you.

  • Reply Silvia Ferrari December 30, 2018 at 2:25 am

    Yes, it hurts a lot. I have fallen to the floor after the exam, and never came back. Never will.

  • Reply phoenixshade3 February 20, 2019 at 9:40 pm

    All you anti-mammogram women are ridiculous. You will wish you had them when you are not diagnosed until after metastasis.

  • Reply Freya Adwin Heart April 28, 2019 at 2:29 am

    Idc I'm still never getting a mammogram so the doctor/ nurse doesnt get cussed out and have their lives threatened 😂😂

  • Reply Mari Nagel May 14, 2019 at 6:28 am

    Is this for real?

  • Reply Cathy Wood May 17, 2019 at 8:48 pm

    oh god get my first mammogram tomorrow and i’m only 16.,,.now i’m terrified gjekfkjs

  • Reply Kittykitty Katt June 21, 2019 at 12:57 am

    Many women intuitively believe that irradiating breasts every year is a terrible idea, and science has now proved them right. Even hard core mammogram pushers have backed off on their recommendations. Mammograms find cell changes that are labeled “cancer” when the abnormality found is actually meaningless health wise. But the woman still gets treated for cancer. She suffers all the risks of cancer treatment but receives no benefit, and cancer treatment itself can shorten lives. For non-biased commentary on this issue see

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