Updated: August 26, 2011

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

  • Get a mammogram... during your period or the week after. Astudy published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institutefound that breasts become denser-or less fatty-during theearly part of your menstrual cycle due to hormonal fluctuations.Dense tissue appears opaque on X-rays, making itharder to detect small, early-stage tumors.
  • Get a colonoscopy... first thing in the morning. In 10 percentof cases, physicians are unable to complete a colonoscopybecause it's too uncomfortable for patients. But a new study inBMC Gastroenterology found that those who underwent thescreening in the a.m. were more likely to go through the fullprocedure (the entire colon is examined) than patients whohad one in the afternoon. Researchers say it's because the p.m.patients were less likely to adhere to the daylong fast, makingit harder for the doctor to navigate the colon.

  • Get a teeth cleaning... two weeks after your period. Yourteeth and gums become more sensitive the week before youmenstruate, according to Israeli researchers.

  • Have surgery... in the morning. Duke University researchersfound that medical mistakes during operations are mostfrequent between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. and least common between9 a.m. and noon, when surgeons are more likely to be alert.

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