Wednesday, August 19, 2015

So today

it was time to have my biennial mammogram. This is one of those I really wish I didn't have to do this but I'd be silly not to things - and unless you get some sort of perverse enjoyment in having a your sensitive part of your body wedged tightly between two boards I'm pretty sure it's something no woman look forward to. But like other preventive medical investigations I think it's worth enduring it.

Why? Well, in the last three years four women of my circle of family and friends have been diagnosed with breast cancer. If you widen it out to my acquaintances there are another five that I know of and there will be others who have yet to be diagnosed or don't even suspect they may have the disease. That's chilling, isn't it.

The good thing is that of those diagnosed all are surviving, largely due to early detection. It hasn't been plain sailing for them all, though. Some have complications caused by the treatment and none of them are yet past the five year cancer free mark when they are regarded as cured but at least they have a reasonable chance now.

Given these figures I think I'd be foolish not to have regular mammograms, especially as here in Australia all women fifty or over can have a free mammogram every two years at special facilities staffed by women radiographers. I won't deny it can hurt a bit - particularly if you are well-endowed. Still it's only for a few seconds and, compared to cancer and the treatment for involved, it's nothing so I'll be back again in two years time, grateful for the opportunity even if I'm gritting my teeth.


Jo said...

I didn't have mammograms for years because I was told it was like slamming your boob in a fridge door, or having them run over by a car. When I eventually ended up going, I wasn't sure what all the fuss was about after all. I have been several times over the years, but must admit I haven't been for a while now.

Helen V. said...

I think how painful it is depends on your boobs, Jo. Those who are well endowed and those with very small breasts suffer most according to the radiographer I was chatting to. I confess that these days I take a precautionary dose of a strong painkiller so it is tolerable. Before it was pretty excruciating.

Jo said...

I am certainly not underendowed Helen. I have read, not too long ago, that these exams are not as good as they are touted to be.

Helen V. said...

I guess we're all different in how we perceive pain, Jo.
I think the questions that have been raised about effectiveness are because they can pick up small abnormalities and there can be over treatment as a result. There are lots of follow ups here to confirm whether the lesions are in need of treatment. My sister-in-law and the three friends I mentioned definitely had a lot more investigations to find out how dangerous the lesions were after their mammograms and before their treatment plans were decided on.