Don’t put off your mam­mo­gram

Life & Style Weekend - - ADVERTISING FEATURE -

“...most women won­der what the fuss was all about af­ter their screen is com­plete.”

Have you been putting off that breast check-up be­cause you are wor­ried or anx­ious about a mam­mo­gram? Stop over­think­ing it and take con­trol of your health. Direc­tor of The Sun­shine Coast Pri­vate Hos­pi­tal’s Breast Clinic Dr Colleen O’Sul­li­van said she reg­u­larly sees pa­tients who are re­ferred for a mam­mo­gram and are con­cerned about the com­pres­sion of their breast tis­sue. “I have seen many women who have heard anec­dotes about the dis­com­fort as­so­ci­ated with the pro­ce­dure and sub­se­quently they are anx­ious about hav­ing a mam­mo­gram and have avoided the ex­am­i­na­tion for some time,” Dr O’Sul­li­van said. “I be­lieve it’s very im­por­tant that women un­der­stand why breast com­pres­sion dur­ing a mam­mo­gram is ab­so­lutely nec­es­sary and in do­ing so I hope that it en­cour­ages more women to un­der­take this im­por­tant screen.” Dr O’Sul­li­van said com­pres­sion dur­ing a mam­mo­gram pro­vides cru­cial care be­cause it en­ables high qual­ity images due to the re­stricted move­ment; im­proved ac­cu­racy by de­creas­ing the num­ber of false den­si­ties that can po­ten­tially ap­pear; and im­proved pa­tient safety due to re­duc­ing the al­ready very low dose of ra­di­a­tion re­ceived dur­ing the pro­ce­dure. Ac­cord­ing to Can­cer Aus­tralia, breast can­cer is the most com­mon can­cer among Aus­tralian women with one in eight women di­ag­nosed by the time they turn 85. “Early de­tec­tion, through be­ing aware of breast changes and un­der­go­ing screen­ing mam­mog­ra­phy on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, leads to im­proved sur­vival rates and treat­ment op­tions which is why I urge women to un­der­take this test reg­u­larly,” Dr O’Sul­li­van said. “Dur­ing a mam­mo­gram, breasts are com­pressed for the min­i­mum amount of time pos­si­ble – ap­prox­i­mately 10 sec­onds for each im­age – and I find that most women won­der what the fuss was all about af­ter their screen is com­plete.” Dr O’Sul­li­van said that for women who have very sen­si­tive breast tis­sue, tak­ing some sim­ple anal­ge­sia such as parac­eta­mol prior to their mam­mo­gram can ease any dis­com­fort they ex­pe­ri­ence with com­pres­sion. For women who are pre­menopausal, Dr O’Sul­li­van rec­om­mends tim­ing a mam­mo­gram to avoid their pre­men­strual phase. The Sun­shine Coast Pri­vate Hos­pi­tal of­fers the lat­est tech­nol­ogy 3D mam­mog­ra­phy which gives sig­nif­i­cantly more in­for­ma­tion than a stan­dard mam­mo­gram. Oc­to­ber is Na­tional Breast Can­cer Aware­ness Month, so do not de­lay reg­u­lar mam­mo­grams, even if you feel un­com­fort­able with the level of breast com­pres­sion dur­ing the screen.

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