May 17, 2007

Got Mammogram?

So a new study says that women aren't being quite as good as they used to be about getting their regular mammograms. The Experts all float various theories as to why this might be, but none of them sounds too confident they know what the deal is.

There's always been some controversy over when a woman should start getting mammograms, and how often she should have them. But most researchers agree that whatever schedule you and your doctor settle on, following it is a smart thing to do.

(In fact, in yet another creepy and depressing recent report, researchers found that more than 200 chemicals, including some in stuff like shampoo and French fries, caused breast cancer in animals. One of the researchers summed it up thusly: "exposure to mammary gland carcinogens is widespread.")

Of course mammograms are no fun. Did you get that jokey email years ago explaining all the ways you could "practice" for one? Crabby couldn't find the exact list she remembered, (there's one version here) but her favorite went something like this:

"Visit your garage at 3:00 a.m. when the temperature of the concrete floor is below 32 degrees. Take off all your clothes, invite a stranger in to observe, and lay comfortably on the floor with one breast wedged tightly under the rear tire of the car. Ask a friend to slowly back the car up until the breast is sufficiently flattened. Turn over and repeat for the other breast."

But while mammograms aren't pleasant, they're not that awful. Crabby just had hers (digital this time, and not quite as uncomfortable) and she's a notorious slacker. She's dreading her first colonoscopy way more than a mammogram.

Is paying for it the problem? Crabby has really crappy health insurance, but it pays for most of it. She knows, though, that not everyone has the luxury of even crappy health insurance.

What do you folks think is going on? For those of you female and old enough to be getting them, do you? Do you guys get whatever mysterious male screenings you're supposed to be having? Why or why not?

(And btw, Crabby does know that the picture above is not the right machine, it's just a regular xray. She's too cheap to fork over real money for a picture of the actual equipment. She hopes you will use your imaginations).

(And one more further aside: the spell-check thinks a "colonoscopy" should actually be a "cloudscape" or a "kaleidoscope." So does Crabby!)


  1. I'm of an age when I should get a mammogram but I haven't yet. It's one of these things on my "should do" list and I know I should make it a priority instead of leaving it at number 164.

    Hey, I'm all for a cloudscape! Sounds way more fun!

  2. No, I haven't had a mammogram even as I am at or near said age range.

    Clinics have come to town offering mammograms for women age 50 and up. Because I'm not quite there yet, I have decided to wait.

    I had something similar to a "kaleidoscope" exam in the mid-90s and was recently offered the chance for another. I have an honest belief it wasn't necessary as the presence of iron in the sample can come from several different sources.
    Because that's more info than you need on any given day, I'll stop.

  3. Hi Dawn--yeah, it's not exactly a fun priority. Helps to have a bossy ob/gyn too. But the experts really do vary on when you have to start, and you may be able to find a doctor who says "not yet." In the spirit of TMI, I started a bit young because my tissue is apparently quite dense. Which elevates risk quite a bit.

    And leah, I'm with you--no kaleidoscopes unless absolutely necessary. And who knows, maybe you'd just been sitting too close to some rusty nails. In a hot tub. Or something like that.

  4. I sadly have not had one. I a hoping that I am still too young. Anyway, do think that the rampant spike in boob jobs in recent years could have an impact?
    People with poor insurance or no insurance probably skip them just because they can't afford them and many people who get boob jobs have the money and/or the insurance but are afraid to get the balloons squished. I guess that would assume most women who could afford a boob job, would get a boob job, which is probably not the case.
    That's my theory. Feel to poke holes in it.

  5. I had my first mammogram a while back and I honestly didn't think it was that bad. I will confess that I do have big floppy boobs (I know-TMI) that I think may have made the process easier, but they got squished and photgraghped just the same. I think the biggest problem with mammograms is all of the negative hype that we women give it!

    I personally have WILLINGLY, and KNOWINGLY had procedures done to my body (shh-waxing to name one) that I did just for no other reason than my own vain beauty and then went back and did it over and over again! There were no health benefits at all, and the procedure was no more painless or uncomfortable than a mammogram.

    So c'mon ladies. Quit whining and get those boobs squished, then treat your self to a wax job and ask yourself which was worse.

  6. Hmm, Samantha, I hadn't thought about the boob job theory. Have no idea how they would fare in a mammogram.

    And Holly, like you, I don't find the process too awful. It helps that the place I go is one of the few medical operations that runs like clockwork--they're never late, always friendly, I'm in and out in a few minutes. Still much rather have one that a kaleidoscope or a waxing!

    And mornin' Captain!

  7. I just found your blog - much thanks to LadyRose... and I must say - I love your blog!

  8. Holly spoke a real truth there. The things we gals do in the name of beauty - a mammogram is nothing in comparison.

    And Crabby - are you putting your name down for next year's Ironman in Taupo? Huh?

  9. Hi Elizablitzzz,
    Thanks so much! LadyRose has helped me find some great sites too. And I'm looking forward to checking out more of your blog too although the travel aspect is going to make me awfully awfully jealous.

    And Dawn,
    Sure, I'm signing up for that Ironman real soon--just have to pick up my Pulitzer and Nobel Prizes; they keep calling me and filling up my answering machine and its really annoying. Oh yeah, and then I as going to for a stroll to the North Pole. But as soon as I'm done with that stuff, definitely.

  10. My "cloudscape" wasn't unpleasant. Just a slow, slightly uncomfortable feeling in the lower abdomen. The "could result in a tear to the lining of the intestine" clause in the disclaimer I had to sign beforehand was really the most disturbing part.

  11. Appleton,
    That disclaimer sounds extremely uncomfortable!

    Also, I thought one of the worst parts of a cloudscape was supposed to be the preparation. Drinking gallons of some nasty faux-fruit flavored substance in order to... well, to cleanse oneself.

    I'm still dreading it.


Thanks for commenting, Cranky Fitness readers are the BEST!

Subscribe to comments via RSS

(Note: Older Comment Threads Are Moderated)