Get a Mammogram for You & Your Future #BreastCancerAwareness

I just realized yesterday, it is Breast cancer awareness month. So this post is actually very fitting time-wise. I want to share my experience with you all in hopes that anyone who is on the fence about getting checked, will go. It is fast and easy and painless.

I recently turned 40 in the summer and part of this next chapter, is me taking better care of myself. I do not have a family Dr, but heard something on the radio about a free breast cancer screening clinic. In my area it said anyone over the age of 40 could make an appointment and get screened even without a Dr’s referral.

I called and was unable to make an appt.

Turns out even if you do not need a referral, they do need someone to send your results to.

Waiting for a mammogram #routine #thisis40 #health #women #breastcancerawareness

A photo posted by Gingermommy (@rantingginger) on

So I went to the walk in clinic and the Dr there agreed to accept my results and follow up with me, this was in July. I called back and made my appointment for a mammogram. My screening was yesterday and it was so quick and easy! I expected it to be more of a pain (in every sense of the word) but it was not.

See, 15 years ago I did find a small lump. I had been nursing for years and having babies. So my breasts were a bit on the lumpy side naturally. To be cautious my doctor at the time sent me in for a screening. Everything was fine but the experience was a lot different than yesterday. It is amazing how much technology has changed over the years for the better.

Mammograms can be used to check for breast cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease. This type of mammogram is called a screening mammogram. Screening mammograms usually involve two x-ray pictures, or images, of each breast. The x-ray images make it possible to detect tumors that cannot be felt. Screening mammograms can also find microcalcifications (tiny deposits of calcium) that sometimes indicate the presence of breast cancer.

Mammograms can also be used to check for breast cancer after a lump or other sign or symptom of the disease has been found. This type of mammogram is called a diagnostic mammogram. Besides a lump, signs of breast cancer can include breast pain, thickening of the skin of the breast, nipple discharge, or a change in breast size or shape; however, these signs may also be signs of benign conditions. A diagnostic mammogram can also be used to evaluate changes found during a screening mammogram or to view breast tissue when it is difficult to obtain a screening mammogram because of special circumstances, such as the presence of breast implants.

I went in yesterday and was greeted by a very kind woman. The office was located int he hospital as was the one years ago. It was easy to get to and very private. I was asked to change into a gown that actually fit and have it open side in the front. There was one lady before me and my wait time was maybe 20 minutes. While I waited I filled out a quick survey about my health, family and gave permission to be contacted int eh future.

When you go in for a screening you need to be perfume and lotion free. I assumed this was for scent sensitivities, however I had to wipe off my deodorant as it would show on the x ray.

mammogram-instagram-breast-cancer-awareness-reminders-ecards-someecards

The process

I was asked to walk up to the machine and place one breast on the table. The technician then adjusted as needed and the machine slowly closed down squeezing my breast. This did not hurt at all! While the picture was being taken I was asked to hold my breath. Then it released and the next side was done.

The second part of the screening was a bit different and a little tricky.

The machine turned over and the technician asked me to hold a bar at the back of it while I leaned in with my side. This was able to get the side of my breast and my arm pit area on the screen. The experience was a good one as everyone was kind and helpful. I was in and out quick and told results would be sent to my Dr in 2 weeks. In my case the walk in clinic doctor.

My understanding is this was a screening. If something was found I will be called in for more images. If I found a lump or my Dr had requested a mammogram, it would have been a Diagnostic mammogram. I do not know all the scientific facts so I will just continue with my experience.

The technician allowed me to see the images as well and pointed out the Lymph nodes. It was really interesting to see this part of my body in a way I have never seen it before.

80% of women who develop breast cancer have no family history at all

How do you get screened?

If you have a family Dr talk to them about a screening. Check yourself with a self exam and if you find a lump talk to a Dr. If you are like me and do not have a family Dr or your Dr will not send you in to get screened, Google ‘Breast cancer screening (province)’ I quickly looked and Ontario. British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia and Manitoba offer this. I assume every province does so take a look.

What I did find was these no referral needed clinics depend on area for requirements. Some say 40 years or older, some 45 and some 50.

mammography

I know this is scary and many people do not talk about it. But if something is there this screening will see it before you can feel it. I asked when I should have another and was told if everything was okay and I have no history within my family (mother, sister, daughter) 2 years was my next. If there is history then they suggest every year.

The screening is free to all residents in Canada. I had to give my health card number when booking along with my contact info. 

It is scary thinking about ‘What if” but early detection increases our chances of survival. I urge everyone of you ladies to talk to your Dr, get screened and do self exams. Gentlemen, talk to your ladies and make sure they are doing what they need to for their future. We all know somebody who has been affected by this and it is obvious, this disease does not discriminate.

**Cell phones were not allowed in the examination room or I would have snapped a pic of the machine for you all **

Wishing you all a healthy future!

 

Comments

  1. I really think it is unfortunate that the provinces differ in age requirements for mammograms. 10 years is a large difference in age and the chance for early detection. I had my first one in BC where the age was 40, I then moved to Manitoba where the age requirement is 50 unless there is a history to warrant it sooner.

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