#HealthyMe: Mammogram Misgivings? Make Your Appointment Today

Julie Bitely

| 3 min read

I’m a bit of a worrier.
So, when I notice unusual changes in my body, I’m quick to go see the doctor.
I recently made an appointment to take care of what was determined to be a fungal infection spreading across my stomach, chest, and back. It was itchy and uncomfortable and I was also noticing some tingling and slight pain in my breasts.
The prescriptions for the infection were easy, but when my doctor recommended a mammogram for the chest discomfort, I was a little surprised. He hadn’t noticed anything unusual during a manual breast exam, but as a precaution he ordered the procedure. Despite me being five years away from turning 40, the recommended age for routine mammograms, he still urged me to have the procedure.
I kind of knew what to expect, but wondered how uncomfortable the procedure really was. I’d put it on par with the same type of discomfort and embarrassment factor that a yearly visit to your gynecologist involves. It’s not the greatest thing in the world and you’re happy when it’s over.
Still, the card I received in the mail letting me know there was no indication of cancer let me breathe a huge sigh of relief. Now that the infection is cleared up, I’m no longer experiencing the tingling or painful sensations, which makes me think that was likely the cause in the first place.
Still, the minor discomfort of having the mammogram – and trust me, it’s not that bad – was absolutely worth it.
Today is National Mammography Day. The American College of Radiology has the following stats on their website to drive home the point of why regular mammograms save women’s lives:
  • Mammography has helped reduce breast cancer mortality in the United States by nearly 1/3 since 1990.
  • The ten-year risk for breast cancer in a 40-year-old woman is one in 69.
  • One in six breast cancers occur in women aged 40-49.
  • Three-quarters of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease and are not considered high risk.
Annual mammograms can catch cancer early when your options for treatment and survival are greater. It’s recommended that women receive annual mammograms starting at age 40. Not sure what to expect when you go for that first appointment? Here’s a great breakdown from the Mayo Clinic.
Like I said, getting a mammogram might not be your idea of a great time, but it just might save your life, so if you’re 40 or older, make that appointment today. I know I’ll be setting up my annual appointment when I hit the big 4-0.
Photo credit: Kristie Wells

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