The Importance of Getting Your Mammogram – Dedicated to My Little Sister
Have you been putting off getting a mammogram? Or maybe feel like you should get one, but you don’t meet the age requirements? Current guidelines recommend an annual mammogram for women beginning at age 40.
I am a firm believer in intuition. If you are younger than 40, and just have a nagging feeling – or a family history, you should not wait until you hit that “magic age”. You know your body. Set your mind at ease.
Mammography is the only screening method that is consistently proven to reduce breast cancer deaths. In fact, it is the major reason breast cancer deaths have declined by 30% since 1990, when screening guidelines were enforced in the U.S. In addition, early detection through mammography gives women more treatment options with reduced surgery, better cosmetic outcomes, and often eliminates the need for harsh therapies. And since breast cancer found in women under age 50 is often more aggressive, it’s imperative to schedule your mammography every 12 months. — Touchstone Medical Imaging
My sister was only 38 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Two years younger than the recommended guideline for getting a mammogram. This week marks the 5th anniversary of when my three nephews lost their mom. She was 41 – and just barely missed all of her sons’ birthdays. Her youngest turned 9 a week later.
Would Debbie have lived to see her kids grow up and get married if the guideline age was 30 or 35? Maybe. Maybe not.
What I do know – is that mammography is too important as a tool for early detection to not go in for your annual exams. Before I had my first mammogram, I heard all kinds of horror stories of how painful the procedure was. How scary the machine was. How I should take aspirin before my appointment.
What a load of crap! I would much prefer to have a mammogram over a dental cleaning or my blood taken. Granted, you do have a technician moving your breast around and compressing it for photos, but there is no real pain to speak of AND the entire thing is over within minutes.
Mammography is the process of using low-energy X-rays to examine the human breast, which is used as a diagnostic and screening tool. The goal of mammography is the early detection of breast cancer, ideally as early as two years before a lump can be felt. Digital mammography has become the gold-standard for breast cancer screening and is one of the most recent advances for breast cancer detection.
My experience with mammograms has always been very positive. I’ve had them in Michigan and I’ve had them in Colorado. Regardless of the facility, the staff has always been extremely compassionate, friendly and professional. Like – you must be a special breed of nice to work in medical imaging.
This year, I was so preoccupied that I didn’t even realize my appointment was during Breast Cancer Awareness Month until I walked in on all the pink.
Not only did Touchstone Medical Imaging have gifts and a robe giveaway, but they also offer 3D Mammography for the same price as a traditional mammogram during the month of October. (Every year more insurance companies are fully covering 3D imaging, but they are not all there yet!)
3D mammography, also referred to as Breast Tomosynthesis, is the newest technology for earlier detection of breast cancer. With this FDA approved digital technology, radiologists are able to detect smaller tumors sooner; up to 2 years before the tumor is large enough to be felt. Through early detection, a woman’s chances of survival increase significantly and she may have more treatment options available. 3D technology is particularly beneficial for women with a family history of breast cancer and women that have Dense Breast Tissue, frequent mammogram callbacks or fibrocystic changes.
I opted for the 3D, and was pleasantly surprised that my insurance fully covered the cost. The dressing and waiting rooms are very clean and comfortable at Touchstone Imaging. The main waiting room – before you go to the procedure area – even has cookies, coffee & water.
Thirty minutes from the time I arrived until I left. And that included the minute it took me to load up on mints and fill out what I hope will be the winning entry for what looks to be a very comfy pink robe! Have you been squeezed lately??