Straight Talk about Mammograms: Let’s Clear Some Things Up

BY: - 15 Oct '13 | inspiration

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As I approached 40, my gynecologist began to talk to me about getting my first mammogram.  I always knew this day was coming. But what I didn’t know was that I was subconsciously afraid of getting a mammogram.

Why would I be afraid of doing something that could potentially save my life…and has saved so many lives?

My grandmother, Sarah Francis Scott-Clark

My grandmother, Sarah Francis Scott-Clark

My fears stemmed from my memories of watching my maternal grandmother lose her battle with breast cancer at the age of 65.  I was young when she died, and at that time, I did not know what was causing her illness. I was much older when I finally understood that what caused her death was breast cancer. Additionally, my fears also came from a lot of things that my friends and relatives told me about mammograms….like they hurt.

After getting my first mammogram, I decided to write about it as a way to inspire and remind women to get their mammograms (Turning 40: Why Getting My First Mammogram Was Such a Big Deal for Me)   And that post started a great dialogue with my friends.  Many of them thanked me for reminding them to schedule their mammograms. And others talked about their experiences.

What I learned from this experience is that there is a lot of information floating around about mammograms…and some of it is not true.  I also learned that many women are not placing enough importance on ensuring that they get their mammograms.

Don’t they know that this exam could literally help to save their lives.

And that’s when I decided to talk to Dr.Hedwige Saint Louis (MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Dept. of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Morehouse School of Medicine.)

I wanted Dr. Saint Louis to clear some things up for me and my friends…….


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  • Healthy Relationships

    Great article Ronnie. I will definitely pass this along to all the women I know and those that follow me on social media. We need to have more conversations like this to improve the health of our communities.

    • Ronnie Tyler

      Thanks! I am definitely going to make this a topic that I speak on often.

  • Christine St. Vil

    Thanks so much for shedding light on this very important matter Ronnie! I definitely heard and believed a lot of these myths, so this has definitely eased my fears in getting my mammogram when it’s time.

    • Ronnie Tyler

      Christine – after I got my mammogram…I was like..why was I so scared?

  • Tiya

    Ronnie, this was a much needed reminder for me. I have had my first one, but haven’t had one since. I will schedule my appointment. And you’re right, it doesn’t hurt all that bad at all. We do have to remember it saves lives. Thank you!!!

    • Ronnie Tyler

      Thanks Tiya…. The benefit of getting the mammogram far out weighs the discomfort!

  • Kirstin (aka The Travelin Diva)

    Great article! My mammogram is a staple in my annual physical. I must admit that I don’t like it or look forward to it. My favorite Aunt is a 2x breast cancer survivor so she reminds us all to have them done! I am surprised that they are not requiring women to have them at younger ages. I had my first at 35. I would love to see it as a staple in women’s annual health exams starting as early as 20. The earlier you know about an issue the better the chances are of conquering it.

    • Ronnie Tyler

      Kirsten…I think that ultimately…we need to talk to our doctors to determine the age that is right for us to start. Because you are right, some people may need to start earlier in life. Also, what I learned from this is to know my own body and to question my doctor more.

  • Stacey Taylor

    Thanks Ronnie! I get them annually and its about time, so I am scheduling asap!!

  • Martine

    Great article and very informative I didn’t know a lot of this stuff. I will definitely spread the word to my friends and family members, I feel like I will now be a lot more prepared the first time I get a mammogram. Thanks for sharing!

  • Briana Myricks

    I’m glad I can wait for a while before I get mine! Haha. But in all seriousness, it’s necessary. I’m going to bug all my family members to get theirs.

  • Krishann

    Thank you for discussing such an important topic. I think sometimes we mothers get so busy with caring for our loved ones that we forget to care for ourselves. This encouraged me to make sure I am checking in with my mother and grandmother to make sure they are staying up to date when it comes to their exams. And at the same time I think I need to be more mindful about modeling self care for my own children, helping them SEE how important it is to care for our bodies. We only get one.

  • Jay Hurt

    Ronnie, this is a great article. I appreciate your involvement in the fight against breast cancer as I have experienced the pain and suffering this disease can cause a family. I have had conversations with my daughters about mammograms and how important they are. We have to be proactive in this fight. Continue sharing this great info!

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