Wednesday, November 02, 2016

My First Mammogram

Most women will have their first mammogram at the age of 40 but there are some cases in which it is recommended earlier. My mom was diagnosed at the age of 48 and therefore I was encouraged to have one 10 years prior to the age she was when diagnosed: 38. I put it off for a few months because it seemed a bit scary to me as both of my parents have had cancer but yesterday was the big day.

All women should be doing breast self-exams and I'll be honest that I'm terrible at them. I feel like there's so many other things I should be doing and just seem to forget. I'm thankful for the availability of mammograms and that it is free to us Canadians.

Are you curious what the procedure is like? Being that I am under the age of 40, a doctor's referral was required. Once I received it, they were able to book me in within a couple of weeks with the appointment being at the local ultrasound/x-ray clinic. On the day, they required that I wear no deodorant and recommended avoiding caffeine for 24 hours. When I asked the technician about this she told me that deodorant can have high aluminum which can alter the results–I've been using natural for two years so I'm sure I would've been fine but I showed up smelly anyway.  In regards to caffeine, I can't remember the last day I went without coffee but I followed the rules. Apparently I could have caffeinated myself prior to the mammogram because the only reason they suggest not having any is that it can make your breasts extra sensitive.

First you take off everything above your waist and put on a gown. The gown is just so that you aren't walking around topless from the change cubicle to the mammography room. Once in the room, the gown comes off.  I'm not great at standing somewhere topless with a stranger (ha, are you?!) but I sucked it up. There are four x-rays taken of the breast; one at a time and two different angles. It is a bit uncomfortable physically and emotionally but not painful in any way. You stand as close as possible to the machine while one breast goes in and is flattened and squeezed for approximately 10 seconds.

After the four x-rays, the technician brought it to the doctor to take a quick look and make sure he/she had enough information.  Apparently there was something that needed to be looked at again on my right breast so she took 6 more x-rays at some "interesting" angles. The doctor did not seem concerned about these results.

The whole procedure took less than 30 minutes and I'm thankful that this technology is available.  I want to live a long and healthy life with my favourite team: my family.

So, here I am encouraging you to make sure you have your breasts checked out! There seems to be so much to keep track of (teeth, eyes, flu shots etc) and this is another one that we need to remember.



  1. LOL! Oh yes, standing naked in front of a machine and the technician(s). oh man, so fun. SO yeah, I've had a mammogram (couple years ago, leading up to my surgery) but not since. I should be good for a few more years, but praying your results are clear!

  2. For me the squeeze wasn't painful, but at the place I went too put those stickers on my nipples and those things HURT to take off afterward.