Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Breast Compression!!*

This morning I had my three-yearly mammogram as part of the national breast screening programme (OK this may be too much information but hang in there). We are very good at complaining and campaigning when things don’t work but the moment they are working we take them for granted.

The breast screening programme started in 1988 and I have been every three years apart from when there were issues in my area and it was suspended for some months. I have seen it change from taking only one x-ray each side to taking two x-rays each side from two different angles and today the machines were digital so that the radiographer can check the X-ray immediately to see if the quality was OK. It was quick and efficient and, although this is not the most comfortable procedure, it wasn’t that bad.

Of course it is disappointing that about 20 per cent of screening units do not yet have digital mammography and that needs to be urgently addressed. The age range for screening has been extended to 70 (rising to 73 by 2016) but after that it is down to you to ask for it. That does concern me as it is so easy to forget when the last time was and one’s memory doesn’t improve with age. Remember there are two major risk factors – gender and age. The older you are the greater the risk.

I am now part of three screening programmes – the national breast and bowel cancer programmes and also taking part in a trial for ovarian cancer screening. None of this protects you from those cancers (seriously there are some people who think it does) and none of it replaces being aware of your own body and any unusual changes.

*this is what happens when they take the x-ray – you get the picture.....

No comments:

Post a Comment