Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Shattering the mammogram myth

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From Clutch Magazine:

As I sat in the waiting room listening for my name, another patient emerged from the imaging area with a frenzied look, gripping her right breast.

“Aw it isn’t that bad,” I said to her.

I thought she was a wuss to grimace at a little pressure. But who was I to tell another woman she didn’t hurt? I spoke from the perspective of someone who didn’t need painmedication to recover from a surgery. And I experienced a painless first mammogram.

It was six months prior. I was referred to a breast specialist because I was prone to benign cysts and I had a family history of breast cancer. My mother, who was the first in the family to be diagnosed with the disease, succumbed to metastasized breast cancer at the young age of 46. My recommendation was to be screened at 35.

A second appointment within the same year was merely a precaution. We were monitoring a cyst that was too deep to aspirate without any discomfort. I had no reason to believe this visit would be any different from the last one despite that woman’s reaction.

“That was the worst,” she replied as she left.

I glanced around the waiting room thinking it was a good thing no mammogram virgins were present because she would’ve surely scared them all. Even I had heard horror stories from the 50-year-olds and up ranging from the nurse twists your breasts into weird angles to she slams the plates down on your breasts. But I dismissed those tales as nothing but ridiculous exaggerations. Mere myths.

I was still eager when the nurse called my name. “That’s me!” I said. I was calm from the dressing room to the examination room until I posed in front of the mammography machine. That’s when I realized this nurse was one of those technicians. One everyone tried to warn me about. One who manipulated and juggled breasts like they were indestructible objects. One who confused the mammography machine with an industrial panini press.

Read the rest of this story on Clutch Magazine.