October is officially over and so is Breast Cancer Awareness month, but that doesn’t mean that our commitment to taking care of our bodies should also come to an end.
I have to share this with you… I went for my first mammogram last week. Reading the terrible news about my friend Giuliana Rancic and her breast cancer diagnosis prompted me to make my appointment. The big 40 means it’s that time as well as so many statistics that encourage us to have regular mammograms and give our bodies every advantage against breast cancer.
I arrived early, spent five minutes filling out my paperwork and was escorted into an exam room. I saw this Sheryl Crow flyer on the counter. Yes, I had some anxiety and the expected fear of what could be discovered in my appointment but I also felt a sense of responsibility knowing that I was taking care of myself by doing what is recommended.
I undressed from the waist up and changed into a gown, then headed to the photography room where a technician took about 10 pictures of my breasts. The positions were awkward, but not painful like I had heard. We finished in less than 10 minutes.
“That wasn’t bad at all,” I said to the nurse. “What’s the big deal?”
She laughed and said, “That’s what I want to know!”
“Maybe it’s fear or anxiety of the unknown,” she went on. “It’s not painful for most women, but many cannot relax through the experience.”
Five minutes later, the doctor came in with my results. He had already read them.
“Everything looks great,” he said.
“That’s it?” I asked. “What is all the hype about having a mammogram? This was the easiest doctor appointment I’ve ever had.”
“I really hope you tell a lot of people that,” he said. “See you next year.” And that was it.
Seriously, the entire appointment took 30 minutes. It was painless, awkward at best, but basically easy breezy. And now I don’t have to worry about what might be happening in my body. God forbid if something were wrong, I always want to know about it so I can deal with it.
Breast cancer is so much more treatable if detected early. According to the National Cancer Institute, mammograms can detect tumors before they can even be felt – and the five-year survival rates for breast cancer when it is detected in the first stage is more than 90%.
So if you are 40, consult your doctor and schedule your mammogram!