My First Mammogram

My mother died of breast cancer in 2009 so by default, I am required to undergo breast examination starting the age of 35. My recent executive check up result was generally fine but I’d like to stay on the safe side because the OB (obstetrician-gynecologist) just performed the “manual” breast examination so I asked our company doctor for a referral letter for a mammogram.

Unlike the xray, a mammogram can only be performed 7 to 10 days after the onset of the last menstruation. Anything beyond the 10th day has a risk for false alarm for presence of cyst.

Deodorant, make up and powder are not encouraged because of possibility of contamination and blurred reading. Jewelries must be removed, too.

The lab assistant will provide you with a lab gown. You need to wear it with the opening at the front instead of the back when you’re doing chest xray. The lab assistant will ask you to wear nipple tape with a tiny metal marker that will serve as the technician’s reference for imaging analysis.

The lab assistant will guide you for the proper posture and then place one of your breasts on the metal plate and adjust the upper plate (tranparent) so that the two plates press your breast very firmly. Expect a little discomfort! The xray takes less than a minute and the plates automatically release when the xray is done.

The lab assistant will give you at least 5 minutes to compose yourself for the other breast’s mammogram while the lab technician or radiologist ¬†prepares the next plate.

Basically, there are two xrays per breast; one is when the plates are in horizontal position so that the top and bottom of the breast is being pressed and the other is the vertical position wherein the left and ride side of the breast is pressed.

Average time to perform a mammogram is 30 to 45 minutes depending on the speed of the radiologist and lab assistant. From where I had my mammogram, the price was PhP2000; a small price to pay for an early detection.

Angelina Jolie had double mastectomy and breast reconstruction if only to prevent the curse of cancer. Her mother died of breast cancer and I feel her worry that the same thing can happen to her.

The result of my mammogram will be released next week and I am hoping and praying that the result will be favorable.

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Lab gown and blue cap. The green shades are for my privacy naman.=p

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See the transparent plate at the upper part and the black plate at the lower part? Yan ang nang-iipit! 

Angelina Jolie’s Breast Cancer Prevention

Beautiful...with or w/o real breasts.

Beautiful…with or w/o real breasts.

I could very well relate to Angelina Jolie’s fear of developing breast cancer because I lost my mother to the disease four years ago. Unlike Angelina, my mother discovered her cancer at Stage 4 so a preventive measure was not really possible.

There are times when paranoia strikes me,”What if the same thing happen to me? How will I cope emotionally and financially? Am I ready to leave my family forever?” Treating cancer is very expensive; even a rich man is afraid to have it.

Back to Angelina, I am amazed at her decision to have double mastectomy to reduce the possibilities of getting the big C. Motherhood has indeed changed her priorities in life. Her old adventurous and devil-may-care ways was replaced with a motherly image.

Some would say that hers was not exactly like a mastectomy because she would have “artificial breasts” anyway. My point is, the fact that she takes care of her health for the benefit of her young children signifies her intention to live a longer life for them. She also sends a strong message to all mothers to take care of their health for the sake of their kids and husband/partner.