6/13/11

The Big Squash

I've always said that if the test were called a "Gonad-ogram," there would be a more comfortable machine for it.

But it isn't, and so we continue to subject ourselves to yanking, pulling, squishing, and squashing. 

My appointment should have been back in April, but my reminder notice only showed up in my mailbox just this past weekend.  Lucky me!  They can squish me this week!

Joking aside, each year I wonder if this will be the year something is discovered.  A few years back, I was asked to return after being told my exam was clean.  That was scary enough.  They did a breast sonogram when I returned.  I'd never had that done before, and so it was more than a little anxiety-provoking.  Then, the radiologist approached with the results, and I nearly jumped out of my skin.  Fortunately, he was coming to give me good results and to apologize for the anxiety caused by the return visit.  That was nice of him, but I've been more nervous at my annual exam ever since.

I'm fortunate that there is no breast cancer that I know about in any of my blood relatives.  That is little consolation, however.  Did you know that 85% of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer have no family relatives with the disease?  I wanted to be sure of that statistic, and so I looked it up.  Here are some other things I learned:

~  Breast cancer was one of the first cancers to be described by ancient physicians.  There is a record of its description found in ancient Egypt 3,500 years ago.

~  The first recorded mastectomy for breast cancer was performed on Theodora, Empress of Byzantine, in 548 AD.

~  The first surgery to use anesthesia was a breast cancer surgery.

~  The youngest known survivor of breast cancer is Aleisha Hunter of Ontario, Canada, who had a mastectomy to treat breast cancer at the age of three in 2010.

The most common type of cancer among American women is breast cancer after skin cancer, and it is the second leading cause of cancer death, second only to lung cancer.

The United States has the largest number of breast cancer cases in the world, where an average of 112 women die from the disease every day:  one every 15 minutes.

Breast cancer was initially known as the "nun's disease" because a lot of nuns had it. 

Breast feeding reduces the risk of breast cancer.  The longer the duration of nursing, the lesser the risk.

As I write this, I am aware that some of you reading undoubtedly have been treated for breast cancer or know someone who has been treated.  Maybe some of you are being treated right now, or know someone who is.  So, while I complain about mammography, I'm grateful to live in an age when mammography is available, and I'll continue to get my annual mammogram with its inherent discomfort.  What you don't know can hurt you.  To those of you currently struggling with the disease, you have my best wishes for a good outcome.

4 comments from clever and witty friends:

flowerofshona said...

So very true !!
Lost my sister to bi lateral breast cancer and after my cancer im very nervous of breast cancer creeping in, must get myself an appointment thanks for the reminder xxxxxxxxx

Snoodles said...

Just had my squash appointment last month...always dread it, but this year they have upgraded to digital. The images are clearer, and there is less chance of being called back to get re-squashed! Hope yours is clear!
Jacque in SC
quiltnsrep(at)yahoo(dot)com

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Another one of those “should but haven’t” activities. Thanks for the reminder.

quiltzyx said...

At least with the squish-o-gram, the pain only lasts a few seconds...