I went for a mammogram at my doctor’s insistence. I had one once…I suppose when I was 40. The machines were interesting and it was not painful.
But then they called me back. That was stressful. And expensive. I walked in knowing that I would a) have cancer or b) pay the price of a month’s worth of groceries to learn that I did not have cancer.
I do not have cancer.
Still not painful, but I ended up with a bright red, itchy face, perhaps just from the stress.
The technicians put you into various positions, like a doll, to get a good image. One of the techs had a sequin-encrusted mask, which was diverting. Otherwise, there was the interesting feeling of being manipulated into positions, the pressure of the machine and breath-holding for the additional mammogram images, the gel for the ultrasound, and of course the whole toplessness.
Some experts believe that annual mammograms are unnecessary, and may even do more harm than good. One reason is the possibility of over testing and even overtreating abnormalities that aren’t cancerous or at least not likely to cause problems. Women go through unnecessary stress, they say, and undergo unnecessary procedures.
They offered me a biopsy and I politely refused. I have to go back and do it again in six months.
I don’t know. I suppose if had cancer, I would want to know. And it was a relief that I did not — even though I knew going in that statistically, my chances were low.
It was not a pleasant experience.