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Once a year, I get to be scandalous on social media. I take a selfie using the mirror in the dressing room right before my mammogram and post it as a PSA. And to be scandalous, apparently. I do it in the name of the 6 million breast cancer survivors worldwide, mostly for my closer circle of women and friends and definitely to honor grand-maman Bebette, my paternal grand-mother.
I have vivid memories of her battle with breast cancer in the early 1980s. I was only a child, but I remember wondering what it would be like to look at myself in the mirror and see a scar like hers staring back at me. I wondered how she felt putting a one-sided padded bra on every morning, to even herself out as she faced the world. She was a tough woman; it’s partly where I get it from.
With breast cancer in my family, I have taken my breast health seriously. I’ve been getting a yearly mammogram since my late 30s. For me, there is no questions: it’s a choice and it’s a must.
Several years ago, I decided to take the yearly event to the socials. Because I am crazy, yes, but especially because I want to get your attention: this is important.
Also, it appears I am getting less prude as the years go on. Enjoy!
Besides an obvious family history, here are three other reasons I hope will resonate with all the ladies:
One: Breast cancer is THE most common cancer among women worldwide. Breasts bring us together.
Two: According to the American Cancer Society, when breast cancer is detected early, and is in the localized stage, the 5-year relative survival rate is 99%. I like those odds.
Three: The mammogram is the tool to detect and early detection leads to better treatment options. If I end up being the one in 8 American women to receive a breast cancer diagnosis, I want all the options.
On the act of the mammogram itself, let me make something clear: it’s easy as pie. Like with everything else, technology has advanced tremendously since Bebette’s days. Forget the stories you have heard about metal and pancakes. They are false. For those of you like me, lucky to have voluptuous breasts, ask for the curved paddle. If your breasts are more sensitive or you have a low level of tolerance for pain, listen: it lasts all of 4 minutes. You can do anything for 4 minutes.
Yesterday, I walked into Washington Radiology in Sterling at 10:49 for my 10:50 appointment. I was back in the Wrangler at 11:18. 29 minutes, including the time it took to shoot 14 selfies in the dressing room to get that one. And yes, they have Saturday and Sunday hours. If you are in DC, MD, VA area, I strongly recommend them.
My message is simple: get your mammogram done ladies. Whatever it takes. And make it scandalous.
Say something, go ahead!