Ladies: NOCHS Has a Better Mammogram Experience. Go Do It!

There are a lot of things I dread when it comes to my personal health.  I despise going to the dentist.  I resent getting on the scale every time I go to the doctor.  And I deeply, intensely, dislike mammograms!  But, just like I go to the dentist every six months, I get a mammogram every year because it’s smart.  I don’t have to like it.  I just do it.

Ladies… we all know that a mammogram is not fun.  It’s really uncomfortable…
borderline painful.  It’s cold.  And it’s a little bit embarrassing besides.  What’s worse that all that, however, is the dreaded call back.  I had one of those calls a few years ago.  They wanted to do more scans because they couldn’t tell if what they were seeing was dense tissue or something more serious.  I kept telling myself that it couldn’t possibly be bad news, but there were some tense moments until I found out for sure.  (Thankfully, all was well.)

I’m happy to say that this year’s mammogram was different.  I had heard about 3D tomography at North Ottawa Community Hospital, and decided that I was going to give it a try.  I won’t lie and say it was comfortable, because that would be an exaggeration.  But here are two important things I can say.

First, it was less uncomfortable.  The front views were taken using a curved paddle.  That’s a whole lot nicer than a straight, flat surface crushing down on your chest!  The side views still were not a picnic, but on the whole, it was not as bad as before.  And the techs are super-efficient, which means it’s fast and you only have to do each view once.

But the second benefit is a whole lot more important.  After all, my comfort over the course of 15 seconds is really not a huge crisis.  But my health?  That’s a big deal.  These views are amazing.  The 3D view is made up of tiny little one millimeter slices. I know, because they showed me. The radiologist can go slice by slice through any spot that looks questionable or even a bit worrisome.  Dense tissue?  No worries!  I know I won’t get a “false alarm” call, because the radiologist can get into the details for any spot that looks concerning.  And after having met the people at the Breast Evaluation Center, the general surgeons and the radiologists at NOCHS, I have complete confidence that they will immediately enfold me and put me on the right path if someday that screening shows something of concern.

Here’s the bottom line.  I know it’s not fun. But go get your mammogram!  It’s easy, it’s convenient, and you’re getting an incredibly good screening at NOCHS.

(The preceding article was written by Julie Hordyk, a local resident and NOCHS patient.  She is also a local marketing consultant who knows NOCHS well, having collaborated with us for many years to write about various aspects of the healthcare system.  We thank her for sharing her unfiltered personal perspective about this important issue.)

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