Tatas, melons, baby feeders, bazoombas, boobs, boobies, funbags, hooters, knockers, puppies, num-nums, milk jugs, the list goes on and on. Bottom line – our BREASTS have many names and we want to encourage you to get them screened, checked out, examined, etc. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and October 16th is National Mammogram Day.
Breast cancer runs very high on the maternal side of my family. I am considered high risk, and even with knowing this information, I was nervous about getting a mammogram. I am 36 years old and I should’ve had my first mammogram at 30 years old because of my risk factors. I didn’t get my first mammogram until last year simply because a dear friend was diagnosed with breast cancer and it was completely unexpected. Her daughter’s perspective on when she found out her mom had breast cancer is something that I will never forget and I hope it stays with you too. It became her platform during her diagnoses to encourage every woman in her life to get their mammogram for early detection. My co-worker and I made our appointments that day and the actual process wasn’t as “scary” or “uncomfortable” as I thought it would be.
I had my 2nd mammogram this year and I received my results in the mail a week after and everything came back normal. It’s part of my lifestyle now, nothing to be nervous about and the “girls” are good to go.
I highly recommend and over the top encourage you to make your mammogram appointment regardless of your family history. It’s imperative to get screened. Early detection is key, a breast cancer screening can help find breast cancer early, when the chances of survival are highest. Typically you would start at age 40 unless you are high risk. If you are 20 – 39 years old, you should ALWAYS get a clinical breast exam every 3 years, depending on what your doctor tells you. If you are 25 – 39 years old, you should ALWAYS get a clinical breast exam every 1 – 3 years, depending on what your doctor tells you. (Always consult your doctor or a medical professional.)
Tips for Your First Mammogram:
- You will walk into a small locker size room to change into a smock. I suggest wearing pants and a top anytime you have a breast exam/screening simply because
all you’ll have to do is take off your bra and top and not completely undress. You will put on a smock that is definitely not the new trend, but it’s comfortable. The smock buttons go in the front (not in the back). You will use their wipes to take off any lotion and deodorant you may have on, be sure to wipe yourself down really well in order for any powders or lotions you may have on to not show up as something that looks “abnormal”. You will wait in this room until the nurse comes to get you and when she does, she will lock your belongings into the room and lead you down to the screening room.
- You will walk into the screening room and you will see a huge machine that looks like a baby transformer and there’s typically a bench or a chair for you to sit on while the nurse asks you a few questions before you get started. Don’t worry, your smock is covering you even though you feel like it isn’t.
- The nurse will tell you to stand up and then you will throw your smock sleeves over your shoulders like a cape (it’s your magician moment) and there you are, TA-DA – boobs! It’s nothing the nurse hasn’t seen before and she doesn’t stare at you. She will then have you “pose” while she adjusts your boob into the machine and she will absolutely help you out in order for you to get the right shot for her screen. A little bit of advice, don’t tense up – check yourself and your breathing and remind yourself to relax. It’s easy to tense up and it’s best to take a deep breath, exhale and hold still.
- Does your boob get smooshed in this baby transformer? Yes, but not to the point where you are completely uncomfortable, it’s just enough that you will feel the pressure and then it’s time to do the next one and the minor “discomfort” is over.
- You will have a few “poses” and “camera shots” taken and then you’re done. The nurse will lead you back to your room and unlock the door, give you instructions to go to the front desk to check out and schedule your appointment for next year. They will call you if they see something that looks abnormal, or they will send you a letter in the mail letting you know everything checked out.
Simple. Easy. Effortless. Vital. Mandatory. There was nothing for me to be nervous about and I highly recommend that you schedule your appointment as soon as you are done reading this post! Go do it, and if you so desire – go buy something lacy and pink for your appointment, or wear pink lipstick to your appointment, make it fun for yourself. Ask a friend to do it with you and make it a girls day, mammograms, mimosas, and makeup. You know me … any reason to have a party.