AUSTRALIA - Earlier this week, I finally took the plunge to have my first 3D Mammography and Breast Ultrasound done. I do not like visiting GPs, doctors, hospitals or the look of needles or the mention of the word ‘blood’. I feel queasy instantly.
Mastalgia (breast pain) is commonly found in 70% of women at some stage of their life. Part of the normal function of the body, rather than a disease. Since I have been experiencing breast pain for some time now. I thought I better have my breasts checked, instead of wondering whether I have breast cancer or not.
So, it took great courage to drive to 103, Forrest Street, Cottesloe to Women’s & Breast Imaging that specialises in women’s breast care. The heritage building was changed into a women’s breast care clinic. Erin the receptionist greeted me warmly, it was surprisingly cosy, comfortable and clean – like a home with a well-kept garden.
Kim, the mammographer originally from Korea was patient and understanding with my uneasiness. Coming from a traditional background, I am not used to undressing in front of a stranger, even if she is female. Kim said that she understood how I felt and asked permission for her to manage my breasts. She had to handle each breast to be compressed individually in the Genius 3D Mammography.
Naturally, if you are having breast pain due to your menstrual cycle, it is best not to have a breast mammogram done during that period. A friend shared that her best friend and her make an annual appointment to do a mammogram check together. It is like having a ladies' day out and they go out for a cuppa or meal afterwards. I suppose that will help ease the anxiety.
The benefits of having Genius 3D Mammography done for our breasts are as follows:
1. Our breasts are three-dimensional and a mammogram should be too. 3D mammography allows doctors to examine breast tissue layer by layer. So, instead of viewing all the complexities of your breast tissue is in a flat image, as with traditional 2D mammography, fine details are more visible and significantly less likely to be hidden by the tissue above or below.
2. Genius 3D mammography is clinically proven to detect 41% more invasive breast cancers and reduce the need further testing by 15-40% compared with traditional 2D mammography alone.
This means that earlier detection saves lives, lessens anxiety and unnecessary testing following the 3D mammogram.
All in all, it took about 15-20 minutes to complete the 3D mammography. After which, I was given a robe to wear for my next appointment with my sonographer. Kim was lovely and offered me a cup of coffee and chocolates whilst I waited.
I was greeted by Zainab, the sonographer dressed in her traditional Muslim Abaya. She had an Australian accent, lively and energetic. She was a real professional and was thorough in explaining the steps of what she was going to do for the breast ultrasound.
Zainab explained that she would be looking at the left breast first, followed by the right. Her patient care and bed-side manners were excellent. I felt comfortable and safe in her care. She specialised in breast and general sonography and completed two science degrees – She is now enjoying the smaller family clinic ambience compared to the bigger hospitals. Zainab shared that she likes the focus of providing health care to women. It took around 30 minutes to complete the ultrasound.
Finally, I saw Dr Vanessa Atienza-Hipolito, the radiologist who specialises in breast care and Director of Women’s & Breast Imaging. She gave me the results and I was given the ‘all clear”, I now have the peace of mind that everything is good with my health. That is the best news ever. From my first 3D Mammogram experience with Kim and breast ultrasound by Zainab led by Vanessa - It was great to be taken care of by a diverse group of wonderful women providing breast health care and services. An amazing multi-cultural team from all walks of life, giving great care and attention-to-detail to women.
So, ladies, if you are experiencing breast pain that is not related to your menstrual cycle, please consult your GP immediately. If the breast pain is persistent, do jot down or record a pain chart. In doing so, the medical practitioner can individualise your pain management plan.
Disclaimer : The article above is written by my own experience – please seek your GP or medical professional if you require a proper breast care plan.
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