The Mammogram

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While I’m on a roll with screening tests today was mammogram morning.   I had the roughest technician I’ve ever had handling my breasts!!!    They were so tightly compressed that afterwards I had red lines across my chest!!     I said to the woman, to maybe give her a hint that she was hurting me ….    “you must get sick of women complaining all day”.    She responded:   “Quite frankly, yes I do”    ….    LOL  –  I was her first one of the day!!

My mother is a breast cancer survivor so I take the screening process very seriously and front up every year –  I have not missed a year since I turned 40 years old.

In 1913 a Berlin surgeon, Albert Solomon, began studying breast tissue that had been removed by mastectomy using conventional x-ray machines.  His study involved visualizing breast cancers in 3,000 specimens.    In the 1940’s Stafford Warren, in New York,  developed a stereoscopic system for identifying tumors.

In 1949, Raul Leborgne of Uruguay identified the need to compress the breast to identify calcifications which would eventually lead to more accurate screening.

1956  Robert Egan, a radiologist in Houston, developed a special film for mammograms which produced reproducible images with improved details.

1966     The first dedicated mammography machine is developed and in the 70’s several manufacturers began selling dedicated mammography systems.

In the 1980’s and 90’s improvements were made to the machines including reduced radiation dosage, digital imaging and computer-aided detection.  The first mammogram machines used much higher doses of radiation than used today and according to emedicinehealth.com a woman on an intercontinental flight today is exposed to more radiation than one having a mammogram.

And thus concludes the yearly poking, prodding, scraping and squashing tests on Emjay.

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35 responses

  1. I’ve heard so much about the mammogram tests and just thinking makes me feel that it must be so painful? Fortunately, we do not have a history of any cancer in the family but I know in the future I’ll undergo such tests for myself. Hope u do well ^.^ and ur blog background makes the snow so visible, love it! TC~♥

    • The snow does look really nice floating past the banner – I think anyway 🙂 The mammogram is not actually painful just really uncomfortable. Perhaps by the time you have to have it they will have a different way of doing the tests.

  2. Don’t you just love getting your boobs squashed! I always think “what idiot came up with this idea?” It was surely a man. Do they squash men’s “thingys” to look for cancer? They should. Geeez!

  3. Grrr, I HATE it when some clumsy tech smashes my breast between those stupid cold plates. I know they have to make sure they can see all of the insides of the breast, but some of them act like sadists. You’d think as women themselves they’d have a little sympathy for their patients.

    Happily, we don’t have any history of breast cancer in our family: then again my mother and most of my older female relatives grew up on a Japanese diet that was low in fat and high in omega 3 fish. Their American descendants were raised on burgers, fries, and processed meat, so I don’t know if the luck will carry into this generation. *knocks on wood*

    • I kept wanting to tell this woman that she needed to lower the machine a bit! She was pulling my flesh upwards so that it felt like it was being ripped off the chest wall at the bottom of the breast. I was trying to stand on my toes by the time she got everything positioned! LOL.

    • Yeah, it’s all so much fun LOL. The last time I went to a doctor for an actual illness was 2004 when I had pneumonia but I am very good at turning up every year for a full medical. Now if I could just stay on my feet and not break any more bones……… 🙂

  4. Lol! That was very informative and also hilarious! That xray tech needs an elbow in the ear. Just sayin.
    You know what, these people that worked so hard on these tests to find and stop tumors are heroes!

    • The people who dedicate their lives to developing diagnostic tests/machines etc really do need to be applauded. I was surprised to find how early the pap smear was developed – I’m always intrigued by what prompts a scientist to begin researching a particular subject.

    • I found the history of the pap and mammogram interesting – I hadn’t ever really thought about their development before. By the end of our lives there will be so many more advancements in the detection of diseases and their treatment. It’s time for women to develop more diagnostic tests – maybe then men could have a “fun” yearly too LOL.

      • I really wish they would find more preventions for the diseases and keep them from happening in the first place. I know a lot of preventions have been found but it seems as something is squashed out, something new pops up to replace it. I just think doctors need to spend more time on preventive treatments.

        • Hey – not to butt in, but I keep up on cancer prevention (the thought of getting it scares me, just like everyone else, I suppose) and although vitamin D is the hot topic right now, I noticed that maybe 5 years ago they claimed that cardiovascular exercise reduces the chances of breast cancer by 60 or so percent, the finding shot way up the last time I read about it – maybe even 70 percent. I’d have to look that up again but I know it sounds like the best preventative I’ve ever read about.

  5. a Mammogram is really not funny but not painful, I was in 2001 in the hospital for an mammogram !….. LOL also about….“And thus concludes the yearly poking, prodding, scraping and squashing tests on Emjay.” LOL!

  6. Sorry. Being small, I get marks from my hips to my shoulders.

    You should see them trying to “scrape” enough flesh to PUT between the erm…platens?

    I was marked for hours. It was weird — have only gone that one time but I think I might have to go next year (will be 40).

    • Yes I’ve heard other small ladies say the same thing – where-as we bigger ladies complain that they have to squash us harder to flatten them enough to “see” through. I guess they are just bloody uncomfortable no matter the size.

  7. Another interesting history Emjay. Sorry it was so uncomfortable today. The first one I had was so painful that I was almost in tears –and I have a fairly large tolerance to pain!

    Glad you are done for another year. 🙂

    • I think it would help if the machine was a little more adjustable – perhaps (hopefully) they are working on one. I have a depressed sternum so they have to stuff all the inside cleavage onto the plate or they get shadows (that’s what I’ve been told by a tech).

  8. Well..I hope your results were negative for anything tumerous or tumultous..it appears despite the well investigated area of mammograms..each doctor must have their poke and prod..almost like a cowboy song..’poke along little prodder’..HO HO..I have raised an eyebrow and celebrated with fish eye glares at those who poke my junk looking for a rupture..it is just wierd..but necessary..I guess..Peace Tony

  9. Oh, yes, mammograms. The squashing part is the worst, isn’t it? I keep thinking I’ll have to turn around suddenly and the force will just tear them right off!

  10. Squashing! It weird for me cause I don’t have all that much to squash. I used to wait until I went back to the States to have my check-up/mammogram. However, the time between visits was getting too long (and it’s so very expensive in the US) so I finally bit -the-bullet and got a doctor here. I’m happy to say that the mammogram technicians here have been wonderful.

  11. Last year’s technician was entirely the opposite — very friendly, reassuring, one could even say fun, the type who would make women look forward to getting their boobs squished and squashed. Okay, maybe not but she was dreamy.

    • It’s much less intimidating if the technician is friendly and reassuring instead of brisk and efficient (bossy?). Last year, after just after the first side had been completed, the fire alarms went off and just as I was thinking how I was going to have to run out of the building in that pathetic “gown” the technician asked if I’d like to continue anyway and noted that as we were only on the 2nd floor we’d be able to jump out a window if it came to a worst case scenario LOL. I imagine Tuesday’s technician would’ve frog marched me straight out into the frigid air.

  12. KISS drummer Peter Criss had breast cancer. I haven’t heard whether men with a family history are supposed to get their man-boobs squished regularly. I mean, what if they don’t have enough boobage to squish? Hmm.

  13. Liz had to go for a 2nd scan this year which really surprised us. No history of breast cancer on Liz’s side. Happily the 2nd one was clear and the tech said the squishing often clears any dubious looking lumps.

    Having said that a close friend has just had a mastectomy after a lump proved serious. Actually there were 2 lumps. One hidden behind the other. She has had her 3rd chemo treatment but has had to wait while her body recovers a little more. Serious stuff once they start pouring chemicals into your body.

    Definitely worth the pain but I do wonder how much thought some folk use when doing the testing. A height setting should be obvious to anyone with a modicum of consideration.

  14. My aunt is battling breast cancer now. I’m really worried about her. She is getting so thin. It is very smart to go every year. It avoids a lot of heart-ache. I am sorry your mom had to go through that. 😦

  15. My mum has mammograms and says they really hurt, especially since the ladies of our family are somewhat amply upholstered in that department and they have to squish the things down to get the picture. Mr V’s dad has invented a gadget called the ‘Breast Checker’ which shines a high powered LED through breast tissue to see if there are dark shadows in there that require investigation.

  16. I think it’s so outdated, this idea that nurses should not care if a patient is comfortable. Sorry yours was such a piece of work, Emjay. I swear there are some patients who scream bloody murder and it’s the only way to get one of those stubborn techs to change anything.

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