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 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…….