Breast screening

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Malika, May 21, 2012.

  1. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I had a mammography today (first one I've ever had, much to the consultant's surprise). I now feel rather headachey and strange, and it was in addition somewhat painful. What are your experiences/views of this form of breast screening?
  2. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Malika, how old are you?
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Maybe it was stress?

    Mammos never bothered me at all and one saved my life by finding an itty bitty cancer inside a microcalification (this was called Stage 0). It was fifteen years ago. Were you worried for any reason?
  4. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    No, this was just a routine screening. I think I got myself all worried because I read all this stuff on the net about how controversial they are and can cause cancer in themselves, etc :panicsmiley:
  5. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Malika, mammos are a very common tool in the US. I asked about your age because I was trying to understand why the tech was surprised that you had not yet had a baseline mammo. As to the danger posed by radiation exposure, I am more worried about the almost yearly, school performed x-rays done on my developing chest while I was in primary school in France. TB was still an issue then and that's what they were monitoring.

    Statistically, breast cancer becomes notable in the population at age 45.
  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    I had it done in my twenties because a work physical revealed a possible lump (side story, why check breasts for a work physical, he kept saying there was something there, tried to get me to feel it, put a needle in etc... so I went to m y doctor and they said there was NOTHING but they did t he mamo just to make sure....I swear the whole thing felt awful but I was nervous and young and didn't question him. I think there never was anything. )

    Anyway, I thought it was very uncomfortable. I always had very sensitive breasts, especially at pms time. But, once I stopped caffine it all but stopped. I always get it back if I have a coke or iced tea. Crazy.

    I wonder too if the headache was just a little bit of stress?
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Malika, I had my first mammo this year also. I was SCARED and had put it off for 2 yrs because I have heard horror stories from relatives esp one aunt of how 'awful' they are. Mine was not even uncomfortable as our hospital always has the very latest imaging tech and the best trained techs and dr's to read/perform the scans. I didn't have to contort to get to the position that they needed, I was NOT squished to discomfort or pain, and it was probably easier than any other test I have ever had!

    Most people get more radiation from a flight on a plane than from a mammogram. I am sorry you don't feel good, but it may have been more the anxiety than any radiation unless the equipment was very old. Old xrays do far more damage. As far as what the internet says about mammograms, well, the internet also has tons of people who believe Elvis is alive and all sorts of other nonsense. I remember doing online research before my hysterectomy and being HORRIFIED by what people said about them and the dr's who did them. Mine improved my life enormously and solved a large number of health problems that nothing else would help. My dr was amazing and truly had what was in MY best interests in mind. He refused to do another procedure that MIGHT have put it off for a few years because he felt strongly that I would be back in a year or less for the surgery anyway. He also saved my mother's life by insisting she not put hers off and if she had? She would have bled to death internally in days - as it was she hemorraghed because a problem he suspected but could not prove any way but by doing surgery (it can only be shown that way due to the nature of the problem). He was amazing to her and my dad, and to me and husband during our surgeries.

    If I had listened to the internet, I would have thought my doctor valued me as much as any female canine, and was treating me the same as a vet treats a canine (which is NOT the way local vets here treat canines!). I would have expected a huge increase in problems post surgery and instead I had hte total opposite result. So I hope and pray you can take some comfort from the idea that just because it is on the internet presented as 'science' well, it doesn't mean it is true or even close to true.

    I hope you feel better tomorrow and that your results are as clean and clear as mine were!
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Like anything else in life, there is a balance between risk and benefits. If you broke your leg, or if J broke his, would you research x-rays before having one done? But a succession of x-rays, especially when young, does carry "some" risk of cancer later. The way our specialist explained it, here they don't like to start regular mammograms until age 50, as that seems to be where statistically the benefits of early detection, and the risk of breast cancer, outweigh the (very slight) risks from the radiation.
  9. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Oh yes, it is all a question of judgement. The consultant said that (apparently) women in France have mammographies even when younger, in their thirties - when I said that I was English he said "Yes, but you still have breasts!" I found it really uncomfortable and the last one frankly painful. Although the surroundings were beautifully smart and looked impeccable, the equipment was clearly not as state of the art as what you had, susiestar. The headache I had was not really like a normal headache but like a dull ache all around my head. I wouldn't be surprised if it were something to do with the radiation. On the other hand, I'm not usually a great worrier about this kind of thing - hence I didn't do my internet research BEFORE the event.
    Oh - and I'm coming to Oklahoma to get the next one done :)
    Last edited: May 22, 2012
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Malika, you could have stretched a muscle from the weird positions, (I hate it right next to the ribs, where it feels like my skin is going to rip off of the ribcage) or you could just be really stressed out. Shallow breathing can give you a headache (I'm the master of that).
    The radiation takes years to accumulate.

    I hate mammos, too. The first one wasn't as bad as I expected because I got talked into little pads that are $5 apiece and not covered by ins. But after I realized how everything gets squished to smithereens, I quit wasting my $ on the pads and decided it would be better spend stopping at Starbucks or a chocolate shop on the way home, to treat myself. :)

    As long as your mammo turns out "clean," then that's what counts. The headache and pain will be gone in a couple of days. So sorry!
  11. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Lol, I suppose radiation does take a while to build up! There does seem to be a lot of controversy about mammograms (I think that's the English?:)) which I didn't realise.
    A doctor looked at my breasts afterwards with ultrasound (I think it was) and he said everything looked normal but that a second doctor would look at the results and give his opinion and that this would be sent to me. I am not in a hurry to repeat the experience...
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hmm. You did a mammo AND ultrasound? And this is your first time? Do you have a lot of cysts? We don't usually get ultrasounds unless something shows up on the mammo. Ultrasounds help tell the diff between fluid-filled cysts and other things. Some people, typically women who are very large, have "lumpy" breasts and ultrasounds help with-imaging.
  13. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    You are very knowledgeable. I do have quite large breasts. Does this mean something was seen on the prints from the mammogram, then? Nothing was said (the experts keeping their information to themselves as usual). I do not have cysts as far as I know...
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Well, I guess you'll find out when you get the bill. ;)

    Unless the cysts are really problematic, they will be left alone. They can be drained if necessary. The are definitely noncancerous.
    Here's a link if you want to know more (and just to throw in my 2 cents worth, I have no idea why it's called a disease, since it subsides after menopause):