Ok ladies, I don’t know about you, but I am a bit confused about when I am actually supposed to have my first mammogram. When I was in my 20s, people said you could get one in your mid 30s. When I was in my mid 30s, people started talking about 40s.
My doctor hasn’t mentioned a mammogram since I was in my 30s, except to say, you can wait for a while yet. So, I decided, since I am 40, it is time. Am I looking forward to the experience? No, not at all. Everyone on Facebook is trying to reassure me that it will be no big deal. Well, I don’t know about that. The idea of having my breasts squished in a machine really doesn’t sound fun. But then again, we women have to have some pretty crazy tests, and I’ve been through worse.
Anyway, the guidelines are outright contradictory. Some medical professionals are even saying you can wait until you are 50. The Mayo Clinic though says you should start when you are 40. And if I am going to trust a medical group in regard to what kind of screening I should have, I am going to trust the Mayo Clinic. The National Cancer Institute also wants women to start the screening in their 40s.
If you have a history of breast cancer in your family, you might even want to start sooner than 40. Regardless, please check with your doctor, consider your own history, and decide what works best for you.
Breast cancer is such a devastating disease, and if a bit of discomfort can help me catch something sooner rather than later, I’d rather go through it. I know mammograms are not perfect, but right now they are what we have.
Oh, and gentlemen, this is the machine. They so nicely call it breast compression. What that means is they put the breasts in between two plates and squeeze. Fun, right? That’s ok. I understand you guys get to have some fun tests too.