Sonomammogram. The word sounds so intimidating. What do we do with intimidating words? We either avoid using them or try to understand them more. I got acquainted with the word a few months ago when I took a sonomammogram.
I come from a family where breast cancer is becoming quite a common scare. In addition to genetics, a lot of environmental factors like stress add up to the probably higher chances of getting breast cancer.
Striking facts to face:
Breast cancer patients are getting younger.
Breast cancer is the leading killer of women ages 35 to 54 worldwide. More than a million women develop breast cancer without knowing it and almost 500,000 die from it every year.
1 out of 13 Filipino women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.
The Philippines has the highest incidence rate of breast cancer in Asia.
– Philippine Breast Cancer Network
This is a reality I have acknowledged. The next step was to do something about it.
My Sonomammogram Experience
I had a chat with one of our HMO’s doctors and told him I wanted to have my breasts examined via a sonomammogram. He asked if I was feeling anything unusual with my breasts. I shared that I haven’t felt any lumps, but since I’m already 36 years old, I understood that a test needed to be more than just a self-exam. He also asked about my family history and I told him how cancer has been present in various ways. After our talk, he did ask me to get a screening. A few days later, I was on my way to a sonomammogram.
It was surprisingly a pleasant experience for me. A lot of it depended on the medical staff who conducted the procedure. The staff at St. Luke’s Global City’s Breast Center were very pleasant and explained every step of the way to me. I was asked to get dressed in a hospital gown. Before the ultrasound, a breast exam was performed on me. Afterwards, a microphone-like instrument (lubricated with ultrasound gel) was placed on my skin. It was used to scan the both breasts, including the armpits. I could see a picture of my breast tissue on the monitor beside my bed.
The test took 20 minutes tops. It was painless. The jitters I was having was caused more by the anxiety of the results than the procedure. A few days later, I went back for my results. Whew. Good results.
I encourage you get a screening exam for early breast cancer detection. This helps find cancers before they begin to cause symptoms. Do breast self-exams regularly. Ask your doctor if you should get a breast ultrasound or mammogram.
The Filipina MD has a very good piece on breast cancer and early detection. It’s called “Breast Cancer: Knowing is Half the Battle.” She explains the differences between a mammogram and a sonomammogram. She gives tips on how to prepare for the exam as well. Read it please!
Being conscious doesn’t stop at having a clean exam. A healthy lifestyle and a positive attitude help a lot in ensuring you’ll stay in the pink of health!