Ever since I turned 40 years old, I have been getting my yearly mammogram because that’s what the guidelines say I should do. Every year I run in and get it and don’t think twice about it.
This last time was different. I almost skipped it because of the hustle and bustle going on in my life at the time. I was already a month late. I only decided to get it because I pay through the nose for health insurance and I wanted to, at least, get the things done that the insurance pays 100% for. I didn’t have an appointment, so I used my physician privilege to get added to the schedule on an afternoon when I finished early in the office.
The day after my mammogram, I got a phone call to come back for additional images. I wasn’t worried. Ninety five percent of things found on mammogram are not cancer. Nothing to be concerned about. So I planned to quickly run in and get the films done and then dash off to my lunch date with my good girlfriend.
Little did I know, that I was in that five percent of women with mammogram findings that are very suspicious. When I saw the additional images, my heart sank. I know what breast cancer looks like on mammogram. I have seen it too many times at work. In the span of 1 year, my completely normal mammogram now showed a mass almost 2cm large. My quick appointment for more films turned into 3 hours of imaging, followed by a biopsy. Three days later, my friend confirmed what I already knew to be true. I had breast cancer.
I hate to think what would have happened if I skipped my mammogram. My cancer was still small and had not spread outside the breast. If I had skipped my mammogram, my cancer could have been much larger and could have spread to other parts of my body. I’m so thankful that I followed the guidelines. My cancer was found while it was still curable.
Not all cancers are seen on mammogram. So it’s important to have a breast exam done by your gynecologist or family doctor every year as well.
Mammograms are important. Don’t minimize them because you have been going for years and they have always been normal. Get you mammogram every year. Make sure you tell your sister, your mother and your friends to go get their mammogram. You just may save somebody’s life, If not your own.
– Mammograms save lives.