I did this to stress how important it is for every woman to see her doctor yearly for a well-woman exam. I’ve done it since I was in college. And, when you get to a certain age (40ish) or have a family history of breast cancer, that should include a mammogram, too.
I’ve been getting mammograms for almost 10 years now, and have never really minded them, mainly because the technicians I’ve had over the years have always been top-notch. They seem to have a special knack for getting your mind off the fact they have their hands on your girls and are going to squish them between two pieces of glass. The technician, who saw I was from Wisconsin, totally surprised me today when she said she really wasn’t a Dallas Cowboys fan — her boy is Houston Texan (and former Wisconsin Badger) J.J. Watt. But the Texans just can’t seem to get much going, she lamented, and at least the Cowboys made the playoffs. Even if the Packers did beat them. We talked a bit about the weather, too, and she confirmed that Texans don’t know how to drive in ice storms. (I told her Wisconsinites don’t either.)
Then, before I knew it, the mammogram was done, she was wishing the Packers good luck and I was out the door! Seemed like it was over before it had even started, which I’m guessing was the goal.
The bottom line is this: If you’re older than 40 and putting off a mammogram because you think it will be awkward and/or uncomfortable, don’t be stupid. Many (if not most) insurance companies pay for them as part of preventive care. Get it scheduled. It’s too important to let it go. One in eight woman will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. It’s the second leading cause of death among women. But the death rate from breast cancer has been declining since 1990, in part because of screening and early detection (i.e. mammograms and self-breast exams), increased awareness and better treatment options.
Give your girls every chance possible. They deserve it. And so do you.