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I've been called for a mammogram and I'm unsure whether or not to go.
I'm 47, and have no health issues. My local area is running a trial extending breast screening to women from 47 to 73 (normally breast screening is for women aged 50-70).
Partly I'm scared...I go for smear tests every time I'm called - I had irregular cells back in my 20s which required a colposcopy, but have been clear ever since. I suppose this is just the same kind of thing...
But I've just read the leaflet that came with the letter, which talked about the chances of being diagnosed with a non-life threatening cancer, which would then be treated because the doctors can't tell what's life-threatening and what's not..
DH was made redundant a couple of weeks ago, and I can't bear the thought of more bad news.
If you were me, would you go? I'm sure I'm just being silly, but I would really like some reassurance from anyone who's had a mammogram.
Even in the extremely unlikely event that they find something, it's better to know and catch it early .. I've had around 4 done and they are very straightforward
However if you do decide not to go, please let them know. The last time I was there the nurse told me that less than 50% actually turn up on the day.
As with any screening programme there are 'false positives' but if it picks out a problem, before you are even aware isn't it worth it? I'm 44 and had my first mammogram 3 years ago - I actually have yearly screening as I am in a high risk group. I can't say I look forward to it but it definitely doesn't hurt, mildly uncomfortable whereas with my smear test I have to psych myself up to book and I end up panicking over.
I've had one done as I found a lump. Not painful, just a little uncomfortable but the nurses are wonderful and very kind. Take advantage of the extended screening. It's so important to take care of ourselves, this is just another step in that process, exactly the same as going for your regular smear test.
Thank you for your reassuring words - exactly what I needed . I will definitely go.
I take a couple of paracetamol now about half an hour before any of these test type things and it really helps eliminate any discomfort, I find.
I took paracetamol and neurophen plus last time. Bombproof.
Please do go. A lot of work has gone into the trial to see if we should extend the age of breast screening - we need women to come along to be able to tell if its worthwhile. So quite apart from doing it for yourself (which you should!), you are contributing to our understanding of breast cancer. It take less than ten minutes.
They've just done the same in my area. My mum was diagnosed with stage 1 invasive ductal cell breast cancer earlier this year so I decided I needed to go.
It was a bit uncomfortable but not painful and I got my all clear letter last week.
Please go. There is no need IME for painkillers! It's a tiny 'nip' if anything when they close the plates as they take the pics. Ok, it's not how you'd choose to spend your time but it's all over in seconds. I've had around 4 as I am now in my 60s.
If you are ever diagnosed with something that has an uncertain outcome you do not have to accept/ go ahead with treatment; it's your body and your choice. Having the information means you can decide what to do next.
Most definitely a need Polly, especially if you had the technician I had the first time. More of a slow build up burn. That got worse each time she repeated it. I was going to hit her if she did it again!! Much courage was needed after that one.
Since then, I have had another much better screener, and then a follow up with multiple mammograms in an awkward positions and never had any problem. In fact the woman who did this at the breast clinic could not have been better. It was worth going through all the other stuff to meet her
Thanks again to everyone for all the encouragement, and also the reminder that I may be helping others if I go, as this is a trial. I definitely will go (and will take a nurofen beforehand just in case ).
My breast cancer was not picked up at mammogram (too young), it was picked up by pure luck.
I am still alive 10 years down the line and i had NO symptoms, NO obvious lump, NO tissue thickening, nothing that would send you to the docs.
Had a mammogram on the remaining breast which also got the chop and was suprised at how much it squeezed my little boob! Did not need pain killers though.
I lost a BC pal i made along the way six months ago. She was 38.
Be aware that you are more likely to get a recall when you are younger as breast tissue is more dense.
We are so lucky to have screening for conditions.
In the unlikely even that there were ever a problem, then your chances of recovery are just SO much greater the earlier it is caught. Why would anyone not want that ?
Oh, and it doesn't hurt - just uncomfortable.
I agree with a possible recall. IME - younger breast tissue coupled with screening at a mobile unit will nearly always end up with a recall.
47 is not horrendously young though. I do agree that screening much younger women may be counter productive, but don't think that applies here.
I was 44 when i was diagnosed with aggressive bc.
It's totally your decision, I'd say out of all women who get invited for screening about 70% have it done.
And yes you are more likely to be recalled from your first set of mammograms, not because you have younger tissue but because we have nothing to compare your images to so don't know which parts are normal you and which parts may be sinister looking.
Thanks again to everyone, both for the kicks up the bum to go, and for the reassuring words, should I be recalled following the mammogram .
In my experience, it is definitely the denser breast tissue that caused the problems, in spite of a previous mammogram to compare it to. Breast tissue changes with hormones. The breast screening people seem to think that everyone is post menopausal or on hrt but this is not the case at 47. A lot of women will be perimenopausal with all the changes that take place all the time with fluctuating hormones. Average age of menopause is 51 or older.
By all means, take painkillers first if it makes you feel more confident. My first experience was not good.
The second time, I nearly walked out whilst waiting and listening to the same operator dealing with a disabled woman. As it turned out, I got the other operator and it was a piece of piss. Totally different. The mammograms in the breast clinic were fine.
If the same thing happens next time, I will make a complaint, but at the time, I thought it was me that was the problem and I did not know what to expect. From what people say on here, I should have not had the pain that I did have.
Well denser tissue itself doesn't cause any issues and is perfectly normal, it just makes your mammograms not as easy to read. Fatty breasts are much easier to spot problems.
It will pinch you but it shouldn't be painful. I know some hospital trusts protocol is to squeeze breasts til the patient can no longer tolerate but it isn't ours. And each mammographer has their own technique so it's luck of the draw I'm afraid.
With mine, the patches of denser tissue came together and looked like something on the mammogram, but there was nothing there. The people at the breast clinic explained that it is like the Channel 4 logo. In the clinic, the can use more accurate views that the two views they use for screening. It is an area right against the chest wall, where I had mastitis many years ago.
With the bad mammographer, she squeezed the plates as much as possible which is like being given a Chinese burn. This intensifies as she faffs about at the computer until it is released and is worse each time she does it on that breast. Also, she had to repeat it on both sides . She was also very bad at telling you where to stand and pushed me about a lot and I ended up feeling that I was hanging from the plate by the breast.
I ended up with hot itchy patches (in the places where I have had mastitis) which Dr Google said was breast cancer. Fortunately I found a good breast site which said mastitis so I took some ibuprofen and it disappeared before I could get an appointment at the doctors.
Like I said, this was a first time and I didn't know better.
In contrast, with the other mammographer, I hardly noticed.
Well I went, having taken a couple of nurofen, just in case. It was absolutely fine - no hanging around, pretty much straight in and all done by a very chirpy and friendly woman who was very straightforward about it all. No pain, just mild discomfort at the squeezing. In and out in less than 10 minutes. Three weeks' wait for the results...
Again, thanks to everyone for the kicks up the bum and the reassurance - much appreciated.
Tkband3 - well done. If it helps, my results (SE London - mammogram done two weeks ago) arrived within a week.
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