Knowledge Is Key: Mammograms Are Nothing to Fear
The more you know, the less you fear. It’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (you probably noticed a lot of pink recently…) and we wanted share some knowledge with you.
As breast imaging doctors we talk and write about mammograms – a lot! But we think it’s equally important for people like you to share your enlightening experiences.
We recently learned of a study about mammograms mentioned on Twitter. Social media is an imperfect tool for health information, but positive messages and useful information can be found.
What were women saying in this particular study? Some pretty awesome things!
- “It wasn’t nearly as bad/uncomfortable as I’d expected!”
There are many jokes that exaggerate the pain from mammograms, but honestly, compression only lasts seconds and is typically far less uncomfortable than it’s trumped up to be. This is something we hear every day – it’s really not so bad! Why was I so worried? Why indeed!
- Waiting for results isn’t fun; getting them is quite a relief!
This is why we work to get your results to you ASAP. Our clinics give results to you and do any necessary additional work up before you leave the building!
- Access to exams is a (solvable) problem.
Sometimes it’s a cost barrier, but most insurances cover screenings, and more are covering 3D screenings! Access is a big reason we have brought mobile mammography back to the KC metro… we’re closer to you than ever before!
- Support from friends is important to you.
You don’t have to go alone …bring a friend, offer to go with a friend, share your experience with those you love.
- Lastly, women who got their annual screening mammograms recommend that others do as well! And really, would you tell your besties to do something you wouldn’t do yourself?
Here are a few other things we’d add to the list of things not to fear- we’ve tweeted about these before, but it bears repeating:
- Oh my goodness! I think I found a lump!
Don’t rush to thinking the worst and worrying – get in to see your doctor. Your doctor may send you for a diagnostic mammogram. Most times even when you are feeling a lump your workup will show a benign, non-cancerous finding.
- Oh my goodness! They wanted additional imaging!
Occasionally extra information is needed. This may mean a few more mammographic images or could mean an ultrasound. Most of the time when additional imaging is needed, the findings are solved with the additional information and nothing else is needed. Do not assume the worst!
- Oh my goodness! It could be cancer!
Unfortunately this is true for many women – 1 in 8 will face breast cancer in her lifetime. But we have very, very good news for you: Early detection saves lives. Mammograms can catch cancer at its earliest stages, before you even feel it – the survival stats for early cancer are almost 100%. If cancer is not found until late in the game, survival stats plummet to 26%. No one wants to have breast cancer, but if you do, you want to catch it early.
Between the experiences of women who’ve “been there, done that” and doctors like us who are also “here and doing that” – good news abounds and we’re happy to share. The more you know, the less you fear. Celebrate your best possible health and get your annual screening mammogram!
Image Credit: Pink Ribbon Key Blanks by Gerald Geronimo via Flickr, Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)