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Monday, November 1, 2010

It’s “Ouch” time again

That’s right, it was time for my 2 yearly mammogram. A necessity that we have to front up for (pardon the pun), be brave, and just get it over and done with. Here in New Zealand, we are fortunate to have a Breast Screen Aotearoa, a free national breast screening programme. The x-rays are checked by two radiologists, and the results are sent out by mail. I am sure that other countries have their own version of this too. I went along last week, disrobed, took a deep breath, and had the mammograms taken. The technician spoke with a lovely Irish lilt and I mentioned that the experience was not as painful as previous visits. “Oh no”, she explained, “the machines have been updated and we do not need to squash the breasts so much to get a good image”. Thank goodness for that, I thought!

DSCF4562 Breast Screen Aotearoa at Hutt Hospital

I sat in the waiting room waiting to get the all clear to leave – occasionally the mammograms are not right and have to be repeated. Hanging on the wall was a very pretty pink and blue heart quilt which I had remembered seeing on previous visits. Who made it, I wondered. The reception staff didn’t know, and as the quilt had a batten along the lower edge as well, I was unable to flip it over for a peep. Perhaps someone local knows of the maker(s) and could advise.

DSCF4561 Heart quilt in the waiting room

So that is done for the next two years, and I am very grateful that I can take part in this screening programme. Sadly, I know some ladies who just refuse point blank to go along for their own free mammogram. We need to take advantage of all the tools we possibly can to check our health and fight this deadly disease.

1 comment:

FlourishingPalms said...

Indeed! You ARE most fortunate to have free screenings and results! For the past 20 years (I am 57) I have paid to have an annual mammogram. It's necessitated by a family history, not of breast cancer, but cancer appearing in the breast. Odd perhaps, but still something to watch for. Good for you for having one, and especially for appreciating that it's free and easy!