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Lidocaine Gel Eases Mammography Pain

Armen Hareyan's picture

Lidocaine gel can significantly ease mammography pain and discomfort when applied an hour before the screening.

A team of researchers from St. Luke's Mountain States Tumor Institute in Boise, Idaho examined 418 women aged from 32 to 89 who were preparing to receive mammogram screening. Women were randomly given to pre-mammography acetaminophen, ibuprofen, a topical 4 percent lidocaine gel, or placebo an hour before test.

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Women, who applied lidocaine gel to breast, reported less pain than others. Also, mammography image was not disturbed by the gel.

According to American Cancer Society recommendations, every woman over 40 should receive regular mammogram screening to identify breast cancer as early as possible. Early detection of the disease makes it curable. For example, women with breast tumors detected before they spread to to lymph nodes, 5 year survival rate is 98%, but when it is spread, 5 year survival rate is only 27%.

Most women know that mammogram screenings are very important, but more than half of them avoid screening, because of pain and discomfort they experience after the test. It is very important to have a good working technology that will easy adverse effects of the screening and make sure that women feel comfortable after he test.

Dr. Julia Smith, director of Breast Cancer Screening and Prevention Program at the New York University Lynne Cohen Breast Cancer Preventive Care Program, doesn't really agree with this finding, because she says, that women experienced less pain, but they didn't report high satisfaction. Besides, a larger study is needed to make sure that the gel doesn't interfere with mammogram image and doesn't affect its quality. However, she says, that the study urges the need of making mammography process comfortable and painless.