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Before You Schedule Your Doctor's Appointment, Read This...

If your main criterion for a doctor's visit is squeezing it in between
lunch and a 2 o'clock meeting, you may be compromising your
care. Research shows that when you get certain procedures can
affect their accuracy-and your level of comfort.

  • Get a mammogram... during your period or the week after. A
    study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute
    found that breasts become denser-or less fatty-during the
    early part of your menstrual cycle due to hormonal fluctuations.
    Dense tissue appears opaque on X-rays, making it
    harder to detect small, early-stage tumors.
  • Get a colonoscopy... first thing in the morning. In 10 percent
    of cases, physicians are unable to complete a colonoscopy
    because it's too uncomfortable for patients. But a new study in
    BMC Gastroenterology found that those who underwent the
    screening in the a.m. were more likely to go through the full
    procedure (the entire colon is examined) than patients who
    had one in the afternoon. Researchers say it's because the p.m.
    patients were less likely to adhere to the daylong fast, making
    it harder for the doctor to navigate the colon.
  • Get a teeth cleaning... two weeks after your period. Your
    teeth and gums become more sensitive the week before you
    menstruate, according to Israeli researchers.
  • Have surgery... in the morning. Duke University researchers
    found that medical mistakes during operations are most
    frequent between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. and least common between
    9 a.m. and noon, when surgeons are more likely to be alert.