Are Mammograms safe while breastfeeding?
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women of reproductive age. Although breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer, routine screenings are important in early detection and treatment. Recently, the recommendations for breast cancer screenings have changed and routine screenings (mammograms) are now recommended once yearly beginning at age 40 for all women. Insurances are required to cover these annual screening mammograms. With these changes to begin screenings at an earlier age, more women find themselves breastfeeding at the time when annual screenings begin.
Can you get a mammogram while breastfeeding? Yes, you can! Mammograms are safe to get while breastfeeding. You will need to nurse or pump immediately before the mammogram and you want to make sure the radiologist reading the mammogram is aware you are breastfeeding and as the lactating breast is more complex in structure.
Self breast exams are no longer recommended as a screening tool as they have not been shown to reduce breast cancer deaths, however, they are useful for you to learn what your breasts feel like and with regular use, you may notice changes. Self breast exams should never replace breast exams by your provider or annual screenings.
Links for breast cancer data: