Why Can’t I Wear Deodorant for My Mammography?

via flickr

Have you ever wondered why they tell you not to wear deodorant (and perfumes, powders, lotions, etc) for your mammograms?

Is that really necessary? I mean, c’mon – this is TEXAS, it’s 150 degrees outside!! The answer is YES, it’s really necessary. Here’s why:

  1. Most deodorants/antiperspirants contain aluminum. This aluminum shows up on the mammogram and looks very similar to microcalcifications that are sometimes an early indication of breast cancer.
  2. Powders, perfumes, and lotions may contain ingredients like glitter that also show up as artifact.
  3. Lotions make the breast slippery and may affect the compression of the mammogram. If the compression quality is poor, the radiologist could miss an abnormal finding.

So now you see why it’s so important. If the radiologist reading your exam is not absolutely sure that an abnormality is actually artifact from deodorant, you may be called to come back for additional imaging. If you absolutely CANNOT go without your deodorant, etc., bring along some cleansing wipes to cleanse your armpit area before your exam. Many facilities now provide these for their patients. You can also bring your deodorant with you to put on when your exam is complete.