April is the New October
The last time I had a mammogram, it was in October of 2015. I was ambivalent about whether I would go two years or one year, as there is a debate going on about that. October is the traditional month for breast cancer awareness, and when I happened to have my last screening, but I waited until things thawed out and went for my mammo on a pretty spring day.
I didn’t want to go. I had to go all the way into New York City, which takes a long time, and I did not feel like it that day. There were other things I really wanted to do. But I went, and I plan to do this every April now. In part, the wonderful thing about April is the pretty tulips, and flower gardens, all over the city!
The fight between one and two years for mammo frequency may not be very significant. We all wait too long for tests sometimes. We push off appointments. Life is busy. There are false positives and we try to avoid those too. And I’ve known women who had perfect mammograms but discovered breast cancer on their own. There are always those stories. And the minimizing of the radiation is a logical reason to wait. But you know what really turned it around for me? My doctor suggested that the motivation behind the new two year recommendation is economic. As a sociology major who studied economic theory, I think he makes a good point.
So who saves money if I go two years? The insurance companies, not me. Mammograms on most insurance plans are free as long as it is the current preventative care recommendation. Think about it. A trend toward reduced care likely hurts the consumer. The new concept threatens to take something away, not add anything of value.
The idea resonated, so despite the radiation issues, I am just going to do it, until research changes that. There are good points on either side of the issue, but I have to make a choice, even if it is just to stop thinking about it for now!
Later in the day –not anywhere near the hospital–I met a woman and mentioned that I went to the city for a mammogram. She said “good for you” and went on to tell me that she is a breast cancer survivor. That synchronicity was another thumbs up to do this again, same time next year!