What happens at a Mammogram- update
March 10, 2017
This updated post includes a report after my Mammogram result (which is fine by the way)
Today I finally took the courage to have my mammogram.
Received a few letters from the NHS and thought I will make that appointment. But as we all know life gets in the way and we forget where we put the letter etc.
Then I got my 3rd letter inviting me in for a screening and I decided I must go.
So I made the appointment (did you know that it costs the NHS £160 for every missed appointment).
So when I originally made the appointment I made it for 9am that way I knew that I would not be worrying all day about the appointment. I also made sure I had something to look forward to afterwards. In my case a nice cooked breakfast at the local café (thankfully my consultant at my local slimming club was not there to see me eat it but that’s another story!)
So I went and it was not as painful or worrying as I thought. Yes I have to wait 2 weeks for (fingers crossed) that I get the good news letter. But if I do not then I know that the NHS will be wonderful if anything is needed.
The NHS contacts all women over 50 to invite them for a Mammogram. They do this because breast cancer can increase with age. So all women who are between 50-70 who are registered with a GP will be invited for breast cancer screening every three years. The NHS is now offering breast screening as a trail to all women between 47 and 73.
About one in eight women in the UK are diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime. There’s a good chance of recovery if it’s detected in its early stages.
I can appreciate that some women do not want to attend . You may feel it is painful (it is not). You make think I am healthy so why bother – yet I assume you still have regular dental and eye examinations. Your breasts are just as important as your teeth and eyes. Others may simply be too busy to attend. You can always find the time somehow. Saying Oh I cannot get time off work – yes that can be difficult but worst case scenario take it as a days leave. T
if you have any immediate concerns as I always say do make an appointment with your local Doctor.
.So if you have received the letter do make sure you attend your appointment and I hope this post has reassured you.
2 weeks later – What happened next
After my mammogram I was told I would get a letter in two weeks. I assumed that all would be fine – I will not get a call back – why should I? There is no history of breast cancer in the family and I have no symptoms whatsoever.
7 days went by and no letter. On 8th Day on Tuesday I arrived home from work to find ‘that letter’. I knew immediately it was a recall by the thickness of the envelope. Slowing I opened the letter to be greeted with the wording….You are required for a recall on Thursday ie 2 days later.
I immediate went into panic. Why me (why not?) what was wrong? I was experiencing so many emotions and my head was all over the place.
So I called Breast Cancer care who tried to put me at ease. They explained that around 10% of women are called back – generally after their first mammogram as they have nothing to compare it to.
I then went on the forum where I also received fantastic support.
Both the forum and help line did help but you cannot stop thinking ‘what if’
Fast forward to Thursday and I was in Kings College hospital London reception handing my letter in. I then broke down as was so scared. I was then escorted to a private room and had a chat with a nurse who explained they had found something that needed a further mammogram. We had a great chat and I then went back out to reception on to wait for my next mammogram.
Shortly later I was called for my 2nd mammogram in 2 weeks – which was for my right breast only where they originally ‘found something’
One hour later and being the last person to be seen I was called in to see the Consultant with a nurse – by this stage i was all over the place. Why is the nurse here? Turns out the nurse is doing training.
.Then some good news what they found was some Breast calcifications (small calcium deposits in breast soft tissue). These are apparently quiet common in women and almost always associated with a benign breast condition unrelated to cancer. Please note that if you are concerned you must visit your Doctor. immediately.
I am delighted to say all is clear and that I do not have to attend for another 3 years.
The NHS support from Breast Cancer Care forum/helpline to the staff at Kings College hospital was faultless. Simply outstanding and at all times I was treated as an individual. We must fight to save our NHS at all costs.
I cannot stress enough ladies if you get a letter asking you to go for a mammogram that you do. Never think I will go later – hopefully it will always be good news but for some ladies that is not the case. Thankfully we have a wonderful NHS who do amazing research and we have a lot to be thankful for.