On Tuesday I had my very first mammogram.
Last year my doctor told me once I was 40 I should have a mammogram within a year after. Once I turned 40 I started getting reminders in the mail about scheduling the appointment.
I recently had a new patient/new doctor visit after we moved. We talked about me having a mammogram. Because of my history and family history it was my decision whether or not to start the baseline process now.
So many women I know have had breast cancer. Women a little older than me, my age and much younger than me.
So I decided I should start the baseline now at age 40.
I was a little nervous to have the mammogram done. I mean, you hear things and see movies …
The experience was as pleasant as having your breast handled, pulled and smashed between two plates in a machine while you hold still and don’t breathe can be.
My technician, Sharon, was kind and explained everything that would happen.
And really, the experience was a lot better than I thought. It was better than having a pap smear … But not better than having your favorite flavor of ice cream.
According to the National Cancer Institute, a mammogram is an X-ray picture of the breast. Screening mammograms are used to check for breast cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease. Diagnostic mammograms are used to check for breast cancer after a lump or other sign or symptom of the disease has been found.
Mammograms can often show a breast lump before it can be felt, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. They also can show tiny clusters of calcium called microcalcifications. Lumps or specks can be caused by cancer, fatty cells, or other conditions like cysts. Further tests are needed to find out if abnormal cells are present.
The National Cancer Institute also said, screening mammography can help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer among women ages 40 to 74.
I know medical appointments can be scary, especially if they are new and you don’t know what to expect. But preventative appointments are the best way to go. And it’s always best to find cancer (or disease) early.
And good news, I received results from my mammogram just two days after I had the X-rays and all is normal.
So if it is time for you to book your first or your annual mammogram, do me a favor and book it.