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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.
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