Breast cancer is the most frequent cause of cancer deaths in women worldwide. Approximately 1 in 8 women during their lifetime will develop breast cancer.
Over the past few decades, mammograms have been the mainstay of screening patients with no symptoms, in an attempt to detect cancers early.
Yet, it is common for women to be nervous when it comes to getting mammograms. Many women fail to benefit from mammograms because of:
- Assuming everything is fine because there is no lump
- Fears of discomfort during the procedure
- A previous negative personal experience with breast cancer
- Fears over the results of a mammogram
But this should not keep us from having them done.
It is important to remember:
- Mammograms have helped to increase the detection of breast cancer at early stages AND have helped to decrease mortality from this disease by almost 20%
- With advances in mammography technology, discomfort is kept to a minimum when having the test done
- Mammograms can detect breast lumps that are too small to feel
- Fearing the results of a mammogram should not get in the way of prioritising one’s health
- The presence of a breast lump or pain or any new breast symptom should prompt a visit to your doctor for examination and testing
SOME HELPFUL TIPS TO OVERCOME PRE-MAMMOGRAM NERVES
- Try to see regular screening mammograms as part of a routine check up, especially for women over the age of 50
- To ease fears of mammogram results, remember: 10% of mammograms are called back for more testing and of these 10%, only about 1% would be diagnosed with breast caner
- Associate a positive experience with having your mammogram done: perhaps a manicure or going shopping or enjoying your favourite coffee afterwards
- Have a buddy system: schedule your mammogram with a close friend or relative
by Dr. Aneela Shah- General Surgeon