“Annual mammograms can detect cancer early — when it is most treatable. In fact, mammograms show changes in the breast up to two years before a patient or physician can feel them. Mammograms can also prevent the need for extensive treatment for advanced cancers and improve chances of breast conservation.”
Most women do not think about getting mammograms or even checking their breast when they are under the age of 40. I can understand that because your insurance does not allow a mammogram until the age of 40 unless medically necessary. Also, if you have to pay out-of-pocket, it can be quite expensive. However, how will you know it’s a necessity unless you get the exam? You don’t always feel a lump in your breast unfortunately.
Last year I was resting on my chaise lounge recovering from my fourth fibroid surgery when for some reason I decided to feel my right breast and I felt a lump. I was like, “wait a minute.”. I had never felt that before, so I kept feeling the lump all night and of course as most of us do…I was Googling possible diagnosis. The only thing I could say was “God, I have enough medical issues, I do not need yet another one.”
So fast forward, I was able to get a mammogram done because my doctor also felt the lump. So although I’m under 40, I had a medical necessity. I had my mammogram done… and ladies it’s really not as bad as you think. It does hurt a bit, but it certainly is not as bad as your monthly cycle. Anyway…
After the mammogram, they send you for an ultrasound to get a better look at the lump. You then wait for the doctor to review the results and then discuss with you. So the doctor, the nurse and a counselor came in the room. When you see more than two people come in the room, you know something may be wrong. The doctor said that he wanted me to get a biopsy done. I wasn’t scared…I guess I was shocked. The counselor took me in the room to talk to me about the next steps and to not worry.
A few days later I had my biopsy. My mother couldn’t go in the room with me, so one of the nurses held my hand the entire time. I have to admit that the biopsy was extremely painful. They had to numb the area three times because each time they would go to make the incision, I felt the cut. After the biopsy, they place a marker around your lump area so they could quickly locate the lump.
I am so blessed and thankful to say that my results were benign. I do however have to go back every six months to make sure there is no change. I tell you all this to stress the importance of getting a mammogram. Don’t think because you’re not 40 years old that you don’t have to think about that. More and more women under the age of 40 are getting diagnosed with breast cancer.
There are places that provide either free or low cost mammograms. In my vicinity of New Jersey and New York, below I have listed a few locations:
- New Jersey Cancer Education and Early Detection Program1-(609) 292-8540
- Jewish Family and Children’s Service
- Susan G. Komen Referrals:
- North Jersey
- Central and South Jersey
- Barnabas Health’s Reach Out for Life: Somebody Needs You
- Amy Feiman Behar Foundation
- S.A.V.E. Women and Men ProjectMobile mammography
- Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
- Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s BeSMART!
- Cancer Services Program (New York State) 1-866-442-2262
- Breast Treatment Task Force1-(866) 515-2883
- North Fork Breast Health Coalition
- Susan G. Komen Referrals:
- Greater NYC
- Northeastern New York
- Central New York
- Western New York
- Twin Tiers Region
- Project Renewal’s Scan VanMobile mammography
- Elizabeth Wende Breast Car