A First For Me
What happens in a mammogram is today’s post and that is because today I had a mammogram. It was not because of any issue I had but I was selected for an NHS trial on giving mammograms to younger people. I’m 50 next year and that is usually when you start getting them. It was not compulsory but I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to experience this procedure and report back to women who are maybe scared of going and to alleviate any fears. As I said today’s post is about what happens in a mammogram.
What Happens In A Mammogram
First of all I did not have to go to hospital for this procedure. I visited a large mobile unit which was parked at the local fitness and swimming pool centre. So that was a plus as far as I was concerned because I could park with no problem. With the appointment letter I was sent a leaflet about the examination which was very informative so I knew roughly what to expect.
Inside The Mobile Unit
Once inside there was a little reception desk manned by a very friendly woman who takes your details. Another lady collected me and took me to a small changing cubicle. I was asked to remove my clothes down to the waist and then to just pop my top back on. Therefore it is a good idea to go wearing either a skirt or trousers; a dress would be a definite no no. She collected me from the cubicle and took me to the next room which contained the equipment to do the mammogram.
The lady, who was lovely by the way, introduced herself showed me the machine and talked to me about what she was going to do. There were no surprises, nothing was missed out and I knew exactly what would be going on. She explained there would be two images taken for each breast. They take an image from top to bottom and another one from side to side. She will have to touch your breasts but it is absolutely fine they have done it thousands of times so don’t let that bother you.
She told me exactly where to stand as you have to be in certain positions for the two different images. No need to worry about that as you don’t have to be a contortionist or anything. The breast lays on a plate; it’s not cold or anything so doesn’t make you jump.
When the lady is satisfied you are in the correct place they bring the top plate down and squash the breast. It wasn’t painful in the slightest and to be honest it didn’t even feel uncomfortable. It just felt like a bit of pressure; no different to having a blood pressure test. It was over in no time it really was.
Tips Not Tits
Now I had a chat with the lady about it all afterwards and explained to her that I would be writing about it today as I think any information to help and encourage women to get this done is priceless. She said the best bit of advice to give to anyone due to have a mammogram procedure is to relax.
I know that sounds easier than you think but you have to remember these women have seen more tits than readers of The Sun back in the page 3 days. There truly is nothing to be embarrassed about. The best way to get your body into a relaxed state is to lower your shoulders.
It’s All In The Shoulders
I was told this by a midwife when I had my first son. When you are in pain or stressed you will find your shoulders go up towards your ears; by consciously lowering them you are telling your body you are fine. Believe me this works; I pushed 3 babies out and this simple technique helped me no end.
She confirmed this and said the more relaxed someone is the quicker and easier it is. Apparently a lot of women turn into a plank of wood which makes the whole procedure more uncomfortable and will make you more anxious.
Another good way to help you relax is the 3-4-5 breathing technique. This is super easy to do and you can use it in lots of situations. Simply breathe in for 3 seconds nice and deep then hold it for 4 seconds then breathe out for 5 seconds. Easy eh? Just keep doing that a few times and it will help you to relax.
Basically that was it. I obviously put my clothes back on I didn’t want to scare anyone in the car park or get arrested for flashing. But honestly if you get a letter inviting you to go for one then please go. It really isn’t something to be scared about or frightened of. If you want to contact me about it then please do.
How To Do A Self Check Of Your Breasts
Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips.
Here’s what you should look for:
- Breasts that are their usual size, shape, and color
- Breasts that are evenly shaped without visible distortion or swelling
If you see any of the following changes, bring them to your doctor’s attention:
- Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin
- A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out)
- Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling
Breast self exam
Now, raise your arms and look for the same changes.
While you’re at the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood).
Breast self exam
Next, feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter.
Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.
Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. This up-and-down approach seems to work best for most women. Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts: for the skin and tissue just beneath, use light pressure; use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts; use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back. When you’ve reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down to your ribcage.
Breast Self Exam
Feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few fingers of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together.
Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side—from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.
Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in step 4.
If you need further information about breast cancer please click on this link.
So thank you for reading today’s post, what happens in a mammogram and I hope that it helps someone.
Tomorrow I will be back and fingers crossed trying to make some kale crisps finally.