I had my first one three years ago and it wasn't the nicest of experiences. I had watched a scan being performed on television's "This Morning" so I knew what to expect, that it would be a bit uncomfortable but wouldn't last for long. I had spoken on the phone to a lovely woman who was the chief radiographer and she assured me that the port I have inserted under my skin at the top of my chest would not cause me a problem and they would be very careful not to dislodge it.
I have this port to enable me to have antibiotics quickly and efficiently if I have a chest infection.
I wish I had complained, but I didn't, hence three years later when my appointment came through I was very apprehensive about going but as I
The bus took so long to get into town and as I hate being late I started stressing. I then went to the wrong street in town and had to rush uphill to the right one. The information on the leaflet that comes with your appointment informs you not to use any spray deodorant as this can interfere with the x-ray, only roll-on deodorant can be used. I didn't have any roll- on so I'm stressing and rushing with no deodorant on which made me stress more. A good lesson in reading leaflets when you receive them and not on the morning of appointment.
I was greeted again by two smiling receptionists ( I wonder if they were the same ones) and directed to the waiting room, again never saw a soul. Do lots of ladies not turn up for these appointments? Or was I lucky and it was a quiet day?
I was called in immediately by Gillian the mammographer and asked the routine questions. I told her about my port and she listened and showed me the mammogram from three years ago and pointed out my port. Strange to think it's been there for more than eighteen years. Gillian explained to me what would happen and if at any time I felt discomfort to make her aware and she would stop. I had slight discomfort when my breast was compressed but it was all over so quickly that I could bear it. I waited to find out if the mammogram had captured all the images that were needed and I was free to go.
Two completely different experiences, the procedures were identical, the difference was in the attitude of the person carrying it out. Gillian the second mammographer was simply, a lovely person, so caring and understanding. I told her of my first experience and she was shocked and apologised even although it had nothing to do with her care.
Breast screening is so important and we are so lucky to be called every three years to have this done and possibly spot very earlier signs of something abnormal going on and have it treated. I would urge every woman to keep their appointment but if you have an experience similar to my first one then do something about it, don't be like me and keep quiet. I'm sure my first experience is not the norm and my recent appointment has shown me that there is no need to be apprehensive and it can be made a more pleasant experience by having the right person perform it.
Have you had a mammogram? What was your experience like? Or, are you apprehensive about going for the first time? Please share your thoughts with me and others.
I'm so surprised at comments left saying that in some countries like America and Australia women are being screened every year that I thought I would add a postscript.
In the UK women are called for free screening every three years from the age of fifty until seventy. Sometimes that means you are fifty one or nearly fifty two before you are called as it done on a rolling basis and depends where on the list your GP practice is. From this year they hope to have extended the age range from age forty seven until seventy three but it will still be every three years.
The American Cancer Society have advised that women should be screened every year from age forty. Australia seems to vary but from age forty some parts of Australia screen are every year and some every two years.
Auckland, New Zealand screens women over forty every two years.
Jersey recalls women every two years.
There is such a discrepancy in the recall time time that it seems more important to me now for women in the UK to keep checking their breasts and visit their GP the minute they detect any differences. Three years seem too long to wait for another screening.