I have a confession to make… do you? 50

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Mammograms can save our lives. We all know that. As with any form of cancer, early detection greatly increases your chance of survival. So why do some of us not have them regularly?

This is somewhat of a confession piece for me, because I’m almost 60 but have never had a mammogram.


It should be a simple question to answer but isn’t.

You see, I don’t really know why. It’s largely a case of I just haven’t gotten around to it.

When I did finally decide to make the effort and do something about it and asked my doctor, he referred me for a full health check with a nurse, which is not what I wanted. I just wanted a mammogram. I did not want a full health assessment that would have required me to take three hours off work and a lecture on how I was overweight and unfit. I already knew that.

So, I didn’t have a mammogram.

Something has suddenly reminded me that that needs to change: photos of breast cancer survivors posing topless, proudly showing their scars.

I also read that breast cancer is the most common cancer in Australian women and one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 85.

The good news is,  it is not hard to organise a mammogram and you don’t even have to go through your doctor if you don’t want to.

All women aged 50 to 74 years are encouraged to have a free mammogram every two years through BreastScreen Australia.

There are currently more than 500 free screening locations including mobile screening units covering rural and remote areas across Australia. To contact your local BreastScreen service all you have to do is call 13 20 50 for the cost of a local call.

I’m going to pick up the phone and ring them, what about you?

Let’s talk: Do you have mammograms regularly? If not, why not? What about your friends – is it something you have discussed with them?


This writer has chosen to remain anonymous.

  1. I have no problem having regular mammograms…..breast screening services here in Australia do a painless, respectful and quick procedure. I have to say though, its the Pap smear that frightens the heck out of me!

    4 REPLY
    • Me too, Kerrie Green. I was really happy when I had to have a hysterectomy at 49, so no more pap smears. Some male doctors I went to over the years were so rough that I would bleed for a day or two afterwards. That stopped when I started going to a female doctor, but just remembering all those other times still had me tensing up.

    • A pap smear came back abnormal and had to have radical hysterectomy to remove uterine cancer. I know it is very stupid but haven’t had mammogram.

    • Kerri I have a female Dr and it’s not a problem at all she just talks about her kids the whole time, only takes a couple of mins

  2. Although mammograms are usually done every 2 years from the age of 50, my doctor invited me on to a new trial for women from the age of 40 so I have been having them every 2 years and I’m now 66, most women including myself don’t like them however there is no way I would risk missing one. It only takes a few minutes and well worth the discomfort.

    1 REPLY
    • Me too Trish – I must have been on the same trial even though there is no breast cancer in the family. Was recalled last time. They say only one or two in 10 who are recalled actually have cancer. Both my cousin and myself were recalled and neither of us had any reason to be concerned. Mind you in the week leading up to it I’d planned my own funeral in my head.

  3. We have the same set up here in New Zealand from the age of 45 through to 70. I have always showed up for my mammagram and up till this last on done in August l had always had the all clear. But unfortunately this time a lump was picked up in my left breast that was cancer. From the day l was told that l needed more test to the day l was operated on was only 5 weeks. The lump was removed &all my lymph nodes as well because 1 cancer was found there. I have 5 weeks of healing then l have to have 3 to 5 weeks of radiation therapy. I concider myself very lucky. If the mammagram hadn’t picked this up the cancer would have been much worse. I have a good chance of a full recovery. So l am telling anyone who will listen, get your mammagram done, it could save your life. I know l will recover from this once the radiation therapy is done. 2016 will be onwards and upwards for me l am so grateful to our health system and the care l am receiving. Get Your Mammagrams Done Ladies.

  4. I have regular mammograms but was getting reluctant because ofthe pain. This year I explained how painful it was getting and that I was on warfarin and I was too bruised after and like magic she downed the squeeze and I only had minimal pain and no bruising at all.

    8 REPLY
    • Linda, I agree with you I had a mammogram 2weeks ago and it was very painful more than in the past. No lasting effects but just at the time of being x-rayed

    • The machines have a 20k pressure capacity, that definitely can cause bruising ( broken blood vessels) and variable X-ray power. Machines can be bought from Alibaba.

    • My bruises were caused by an inconsiderate and negligent radiographer, chinese burns to the underside of both arms that took 4 weeks to heal, too bad about how I looked in the $260 frock I wore to a wedding I was attending, just another cross to bear. I did provide feedback, but or course never heard from them.

    • I went to the doctor with pains in the chest. Heart was OK. He asked if I’d recently had a mamogram – yes, a week previously and it was pretty rough. So it was bruising not a heart attack.

  5. I have my mammograms regularly, I actually had one today, as soon as I get my letter from Breast Screening i make my appointment. It’s over in a couple of minutes and it’s best to be safe than sorry

  6. Received my reminder notice this week and have already booked.

  7. I do it every two years as my mum had breast cancer in her 70’s and had a mastectomy. Unfortunately it had metastasised and ended up spreading. Her doctor believed she had it for some time before it was discovered. So YES absolutely have it done, a small amount of discomfort only!

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