Time for a Mammogram

There are a number of reasons why someone might not want to get a mammogram. 

It's uncomfortable—let's face it, this is about showing skin and moving in uncomfortable positions all over an awfully cramped device, just for the sake of some photos - but does anyone really want strange people looking at their own body?

Or then there's paranoia. After all, people do get diagnosed with breast cancer every day- especially when we're being exposed to environmental pollution without even realizing it! 

However, everyone has different risk factors in terms of their chances of getting this diagnosis; so at least you can rest easy knowing that your family hasn't been hit by this disease before-right? Wrong again: cancer cases are becoming more common in families than ever before now. 

So despite all the reasons you have for avoiding a mammogram...you actually still do them anyway. You've avoided doing so for a while now. It's finally time. 

schedule your mammogram

Making an appointment for your mammogram.

As a woman, you might find yourself making many phone calls to schedule important appointments. One such call would be to book an appointment for your yearly mammogram and ultrasound. 

The person who answers the phone tells you they have plenty of openings! You can get one at any time that works with your schedule - even if it's during your lunch break, which will make things go much quicker than usual.

After all these years of having my annual mammograms and ultrasounds; this is what I've learned about mine: I have complicated breasts (cysts/fibroids) - and lots of harmless growths inside them that need constant supervision from medical professionals.

Mammogram Day.

The day of your mammogram, you get dressed thinking about it. It’s cold outside, and you’re not looking forward to that heavy, white approximation of fabric they call a “gown.”

When you arrive at you don’t have to wait in line to register, and the person who takes your information does so kindly. When you find your way into the actual clinic, the woman behind the desk greets you cheerily. She compliments on you on your earrings, and then you’re getting called back.

The person who calls you escorts you through the door with the kind of care and attention you honestly don’t get anywhere else. “I’ll be taking care of you today,” she says. It’s the same line you might hear when you’re getting a mani-pedi or sitting down at a fancy restaurant. But it’s not what you expect from a hospital visit.

You remember the drill – a private stall where you change into the white gown, then the dim room where the machine waits. All is quiet, calm, clean. The technician washes her hands and it’s time to get down to business.

Magical 3D Mammography.

I went to Wesley Breast Clinic for my Mammogram, because I have dense breast tissue and needed the precision provided by a 3D mammogram. In addition, the clinic offers an ultrasound service and any other follow on procedures if they become necessary. 

The reasons were two-fold; firstly, because there was always the risk of finding something undetectable before through traditional screenings (due to density), and secondly because it felt comforting to go somewhere where specialists offer routine follow-ups after diagnosis - without fail - regardless of prognosis.

So I could get back on track right away when moving forward after being diagnosed, however serious the case might be. However unsettling the experience may sound in words, I couldn't deny that it's also powerful in many ways; perhaps most notably in its capacity to empower us as women while providing reassurance when it comes to detection methods which act early enough on cancers that threaten our breasts.

Birds on Bikes girls dressed in pink wigs and laughing

Getting a Mammogram - Take the First Step.

If I can muster up the courage and find the time, you can too. Find a conveniently located mammogram office. You put on your clothes, your coat. You walk past the room where you could have waited for hours and drank some coffee if there’d been a long line in front of it. The receptionist waves goodbye at you.

Gratitude.

You know the outcome of your appointment so you don’t have to wait with worry and anticipation. So who knows? Maybe it was a waste of time. And scary, and a little uncomfortable. And the news could be bad. But the feeling you have right now about getting an exam today is a mix of gratitude and relief. 

You feel like a very lucky human being right now, which means you're better than anyone else at this exact moment in time- for whatever reason, because you're able to share this glorious experience after all these years (or less) or because everything finally came together for once or just for the time being. Whatever the case may be - something good happened today so let's rejoice!

Birds on Bikes girls dressed in pink wigs and laughing

Breast Cancer Stats in Australia.

  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia. Approximately 55 Australians are diagnosed each and every day. That equates to over 20,000 Australians diagnosed with breast cancer each year.
  • 1 in 7 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.
  • About 1 in 700 men are diagnosed in their lifetime.
  • Around 1000 young women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, equivalent to about 3 young women each day.
  • In 2021, over 3,100 Australians passed away from breast cancer including 36 males and 3102 females. 79 young women are estimated to die from the disease this year.
  • That’s 9 Australians a day dying from the disease.
  • In the last 10 years, breast cancer diagnosis have increased by 36%.
  • Since the National Breast Cancer Foundation (NBCF) started funding in 1994, the five-year survival rates have improved from 76% to 91%.
  • We’ve come a long way. But there’s still progress to be made.