In my 27 years of practice, I have heard it all when it comes to why a patient has not gone for her mammogram. It has encompassed everything from her life being too busy, to the belief that just because there is no family history of breast cancer, or that there are no symptoms in her breasts she knows she is ok. There has also been the desire to avoid the discomfort that a breast cancer screening can have.
There are many, many more reasons.
The physician is the one whom patients look to and say that he/she is the care provider. This is where some miss the mark. They themselves are part of the care team . I can prescribe a mammogram – that’s part of the care. The rest of it is up to the patient . They too are the care provider.
Let’s put it this way, if you have a baby and the doctor recommends an exam that needs to be done, would you not take your child for that exam ? In the case of getting a breast cancer screening , the patient becomes her own best advocate. In essence she needs to become her own best friend and get herself to the mammography center.
Perhaps looking at it this way, may make one take a lead on getting the mammogram done.
We can also come from the angle of a desire to want to be healthy. If that’s a motivation, a philosophy that we uphold, then most likely you are 100% there getting your mammogram done.
Then there are those who do something because they want to avoid something else. You may want to pay your bills on time so you don’t fall behind, or keep up with your daily run so you’ll stock up on energy and won’t be dragging come mid-afternoon.
The same can be said about a motivation to get a mammogram. The motivation would be to avoid the possibility of a situation that may have gotten so out of control that it now requires chemotherapy, radiation or mastectomy. Or worse, it will require all. And with that comes the loss of so much mentally, physically and emotionally. And it doesn’t just stop there. It will also effect all those that rely upon you as a mother-daughter-sister and what have you. Your loss and your pain may become theirs.
A mammogram takes 20 minutes. All of this other stuff takes months and possibly years.
Think about what you want for yoursel? Which of all of the above scenarios drives you?
More importantly, what are you willing to give up to get yourself to the mammography center ?
Our choices shape our lives.
The gift we have been given is the gift of choice.
So much may ride on this one choice – choosing to get a mammogram or not.
Choose well- become your own advocate – embrace good health.
October is Breast Cancer Awarenness Month.