People talk about “fear of the unknown” but there is an even worse category: fear of things you think you know. A lot of women are paralyzed by things they think they know about mammograms, due to myths, rumors and exaggerations. Let’s alleviate some fears:
Fear that it will hurt
Actually, it’s just a short-lived discomfort. Yes, there is compression of the breast tissue, but did you know that only lasts a few seconds and improves the picture? How great a relief is that?
Fear that they will find something
The mortality rate on early diagnosis and treatment is getting lower with every medical advancement. If something is found, finding it today is better than finding it later.
Fear that cancer is not curable, thus making this hopeless
Cancer comes in many kinds - breast cancer itself is rated in five stages (Stage 0 is the easiest to treat, Stage 4 the most serious). Women have won the battle against cancer at any of those stages - unfortunately, not all women, but regardless, cancer is a challenge, and not necessarily the end of your life. In fact, discovering early stages of cancer can save your life.
Fear that my culture doesn’t approve
Some people are afraid that their culture sees mammograms as a sign of illness or weakness. This may be true of older generations, or that might be an assumption because it isn’t talked about. With every woman who gets a mammogram, her culture shifts to one of approval, and more importantly, good health. You can be part of positive change.
Fear that "I have to go through this alone"
When life gets tough, the tough... seek and use their resources. Some of those resources are human resources - actual people! If you are facing an unknown, like mammogram results, you don’t have to be alone! Bring your best friend, sister, boyfriend, husband, or another family member. It’s more than okay, it’s encouraged!
And now you have five fewer things to be fearful of when it comes to a mammogram. Doesn’t that feel better?
Originally published 4/18/13 on mammographykc.com.