Buddy Check: Mammograms Not Scary

By: Lindsey Brown Email
By: Lindsey Brown Email

At this time, there is no guaranteed way to prevent breast cancer. That's why it's so important to catch it early. The best way to do that is through regular self-exams and mammograms.

According to the American Cancer Society, women twenty and older should conduct a self breast exam each month, and those forty and older should also have an annual mammogram.

"We certainly want to get the information out, the earlier you catch it, the better," said Pam Tvarkunas of Riley Hospital.

This reporter wanted to be able to speak first-hand about what is involved in a mammogram. Even though I'm in my twenties, I had one done at Riley Hospital's new digital mammography unit. I went into the experience carrying the typical misconceptions.

I certainly didn't think it was painful. It was just touching and movement I'm not used to.

"Right. That's important to get the tissue into the field of view and the compression is important so it does move out of the point of view," said radiologist Sonya Knight.

I asked her what most women say during their first experience.

"Well, some women may have had tenderness which is what brought them in here anyhow. So they would have more discomfort that you're having," Knight said.

I had heard for years that it is painful and scary, but it wasn't. There are a lot of misconceptions, but as technology has improved so has digital mammography. It has become easier and doesn't need to be frightful for anymore.

Each month, on the eleventh day, we'll remind you to conduct your monthly breast self-exam, plus you may sign of for a reminder newsletter at the home page of www.wtok.com. Then you can remind your friends and family.

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