Beauty Diaries

Beauty Diaries

Your Personal Beauty Bulletin Blog

Look after your breasts and go and get those mammies grammed!

Look after your breasts and go and get those mammies grammed!

I know the time for New Year’s resolutions has already past us by! We are already well into 2015, but if you didn’t make any resolutions and are over the age of forty,  then chat to your doctor and see if he/she would recommend  that you go for regular mammograms. I know they sound scary, but they really aren’t and having one timeously could well save your life!

 

It’s always an excellent idea to have regular breast checks done by your doctor and to check them at home too. Do that check in the shower or bath using shower gel or soap and feel carefully all over the breast and nipple area ( I use flattened fingers,  as I have lots fibrous tissue so feel loads of lumps otherwise!) , as well as under the armpit. Also check the shape of both breasts in the mirror with your arms up and then down. If you notice anything strange eg. dimpling, puckering, inverted nipples that weren’t like that before or a rash that won’t go away, then make a doctor’s appointment to check those changes out. Also check for any discharge from your nipples if you are not pregnant and therefore not lactating. If your doctor recommends you go for a mammogram or an ultrasound, then please do go and don’t put it off,  even if you don’t feel any lumps. Scans can detect very early signs of breast cancer before they are obvious to us even with regular breast checks.

 

My mom had breast cancer more than five years ago and, thankfully, after a mastectomy she is doing well and in remission. She never checked her breasts or went for mammograms, but found a rather large lump quite by chance. Luckily for her it hadn’t spread to her glands, so no chemo was called for, but it was a very stressful time for her and us and her four monthly check-ups with oncology are nerve-wracking to say the least.

 

I have been going for mammograms and ultrasounds since my mom was diagnosed. At first it was the mammogram and ultrasound one year, alternating with just the ultrasound the next year. Once I turned forty, they recommended a mammogram every year, because of my family history. Check with your doctor about how often they recommend you to have one, if you are a candidate for regular mammograms or ultrasounds. I have heard that some say every two years over the age of forty if you have no family history and annually if you do, but there are lots of differing opinions on the subject . The radiation risk aspect always bothered me, but I have heard that you get more radiation taking a long international flight than during the mammogram, so this set me a little more at ease. Plus a mammogram can detect the early signs of malignancy before they even start to develop into lumps, sometimes even up to three years before a lump develops!

 

On Monday I geared myself up and went for my annual mammogram. They ask you to remove all of the top half of your clothing, so wear a two piece outfit to at least preserve a little bit of dignity! Also you need to remove all jewellery that may interfere with the scan, so don’t bother wearing fancy necklaces or dangly earrings. They give you a snazzy (not!) pink hospital gown to wear and then you move along to the ice cold mammography  room where you remove the gown and they flatten your one boob in the machine from various angles and then do the other side too. It isn’t that painful with the more modernised equipment they use these days, but I would advise you to book at a time of the month when your boobs are less sensitive. The ladies at Netcare Greenacres here in PE are lovely and chatty, so they take your mind off it and put you at ease.

 

If you are youngish  and still have perky boobs ( as my radiologist told me), then they have to accompany the mammogram with an ultrasound. The more perky and less floppy your boobs are, the more dense tissue is present, so it make things much more difficult for detection purposes.  Floppier boobs only need the mammogram  apparently, as fatty tissue is easier to see through. The ultrasound is pretty much like when you are preggies and they rub that cold gel on your belly. This time they rub it on each boob and check each one thoroughly.

 

You then go and wait while the specialist checks the pictures to see if he needs any more taken. If not, you can get dressed and go home. Our hospital smses you as soon as they have sent your results per e-mail to your referring doctor. I have a lovely doctor who contacted me very shortly after he had received my results to say that everything was clear… SHEW!!!

 

I would love to get some feedback from my Beauty Bulletin friends as to whether they have ever been for a mammogram and if so, how was there experience? xoxo

 

 

 

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