Did you know that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with Breast Cancer in their lifetime?
This statistic is staggering and terrifying – and why booking your Mammogram today is so important. My mother in law is currently battling Stage 4 Breast Cancer and the thought of breast cancer is with me every day.
I just went for my annual Mammogram this week and I’m very happy to check this MUST DO off my list.
If you’ve never had a mammogram, I promise you it’s simple, easy, and painless. There’s often a fear of getting your 1st Mammogram as people worry it will be painful, too uncomfortable, or that they will just feel awkward getting studies of their breasts done at the hospital. Truly, getting a mammogram is so easy, it’s hard to believe that something so simple is the most important thing we can do for early detection of breast cancer.
If you’d do it for your daughter, do it for yourself!
Here’s a few of my thoughts in my Mammogram Monologue:
Photos of a Mammogram Machine: The Inside Scoop on What it Feels like to Get a Mammogram
Before I had a mammogram for the 1st time, I was nervous about exactly what would happen. Seeing the machine makes it easier to understand so here are some photos. Basically, each breast is filmed one at a time. Your breast will be placed on a table – for lack of a better word – and then at various angles, depending on the film they are taking, the other portion of the machine will come up flush against your breasts to press them tightly.
Sure, this part is slightly uncomfortable and it definitely feels a bit tight as the top part of the machine squishes against you, but that’s it.
Minor discomfort. Well worth it for early detection! The most uncomfortable part for me was pressing my face tight against the machine to get up close to it so they could quickly capture the film – which took under 5 seconds anyhow! Seriously, no big deal!
The hardest part for a busy Mom is honestly carving out the time in your hectic schedule to book the Mammogram. The procedure where they actual have you in the Radiology room will probably only take about 5-10 minutes depending on how many films – or specific photos – they take of your breasts based on your history and even the size of your breasts.
Here’s a few more photos of the Mammogram machine so you can get a feel for it.
At times it will be turned and come toward you at an angle as well as viewing your breasts in different directions enable them to see everything. For me, I have a lump that is an enlarged lymph node under my left armpit and basically by my breast so they always try to squeeze this bit into the machine.
Relief Post Mammogram
After your mammogram, most likely you will be filled with a tremendous relief that your test is done and most likely you’ll get your results within days or if you have any concerns or lumps, you’ll get results immediately from the radiologist literally after your test ends.
The waiting is always the hardest part.
Sometimes a mammogram gives the results you need, but if there are areas of uncertainty or a mass found, you’ll require more studies – like either an ultrasound or a biopsy depending on what your studies uncover. So even if these things happen, and are very stressful, it’s also still very likely you’ll have a happy outcome. The reason these tests are so thorough is to insure early detection. So a little stress is worth it to be certain our health is fine.
I’ve definitely been there before as I had a lumpectomy when I was only 32 years old and little Kyle was a newborn – only 7 weeks old! There was no way to know if my mass was benign or cancerous until they took it out and then biopsied it. Very scary. I was beyond lucky though and my tumor ended up being benign – so my life when back on track with me being the Mom of 2 kids 2 and under.
Ever since, I need to get annual mammograms as I guess I’m now considered higher risk although no one in my family has breast cancer.
In this past mammogram I had about 30 minutes of SERIOUS STRESS after my initial round of films were taken. When I was waiting for my results, I was called back to take 3 more films on my right breast where they found an area of concern. This made me VERY stressed as you can imagine – especially as this is the same breast where my lumpectomy had been performed 5 years ago. Luckily, it all turned out okay – although when they called me into another fancy “office” and told me that 2 doctors would be in to speak with me I was definitely terrified that I’d be getting bad news as I sat there waiting at a round table with nothing on it but a box of tissues!
Thank heavens it turned out everything was fine! Apparently they just needed to get a better view with some close up shots, but they felt confident that I was okay and I can just come back in 1 year for my annual mammogram.
Beyond enormous relief and a giant reminder that getting my mammogram done was really the MOST IMPORTANT thing I needed to schedule compared to whatever else I thought was more important as I struggled to squeeze this routine test into my hectic life with the kids and work.
Tips for Getting Your Mammogram
1. Bring your old films with you if you are getting tested at a different facility. If you do not, it is considered an incomplete Mammogram. Since I was switching hospitals for this test I had to bring all my old records with me on a CD as they compare Mammogram to Mammogram to determine what they see.
2. Relax! The test is quick and everyone who is working with you does this job all day and they try to make you as comfortable as possible during the procedure.
3.Go every year! Get your baseline when you are 35 and then every year once you turn 40 or sooner if you have family history. Or in a case like mine, where you have your own history, start getting mammograms annually as that is the recommendation from the medical community regardless of your age.
You might hear various recommendations on how often to get them or at what age, but in my opinion, I’d rather be more careful given that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
National Breast Cancer Foundation National Mammography Program
The NBCF, offers a National Mammography Program, where they provide mammograms for women who are uninsured or cannot afford them. When I had my Mammogram done this week at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia it was free since it was done at their facility via their program so I could highlight this incredible offering they provide to women. Amazing!
You can learn more about the NBCF’s National Mammography program here.
Early detection is critical and why you need to book that Mammogram appointment NOW.
I teamed up with Hanes to create this Mammogram Monologue and encourage others to BOOK A MAMMOGRAM now.
It’s Breast Cancer Awareness month and there is no better time to remind yourself to book what might be a life-saving appointment.
Hanes is donating $50,000 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation to help more women get life-saving mammograms. I’m thrilled to partner with Hanes and a handful of other bloggers to share my experience about getting a Mammogram. For my efforts, Hanes is making an additional $1,000 donation in my name to the NBCF. Awesome as this is a wonderful way to honor those I love who have been impacted by this disease.
So, have we convinced you to get a Mammogram or at least start thinking about booking your appointment?
Join the conversation on Hanes Facebook page here.