It’s the Mammo Mash!

Remember the 1960s hit song, “The Monster Mash?” That tune comes to mind as the end of each year approaches. But I have my own rendition. I replace “monster,” with “mammo,” because for me the end of the year means it’s time for – my mammogram.

I had one this morning and I came out singing:

She did the mash
She did the mammo mash
The mammo mash
It was a flattening smash
She did the mash
It’s not my favorite bash
She did the mash
She did the mammo mash

The “she” of whom I speak is Kati Purpur at Altru Clinic in Grand Forks. Kati is the best mammogram technologist ever. I’ve had her several times and I’m always delighted when I see her familiar, smiling face and hear her call my name to follow her into the mammogram room.

I’m very faithful about having this yearly x-ray which uses low-dose radiation. Its purpose is to help find breast cancer early in women who have no symptoms. It’s not only women who have mammograms, however. Kati told me quite a few men do, too, as breast cancer is not uncommon in men.

Some women absolutely dread having a mammogram. I do not!

The screening consists of two views of each breast. During the procedure, each breast is placed on a platform in the mammogram machine, pressed firmly (as in flat as a pancake) between two plates and held there for a few seconds as the x-ray is taken. Sure, it’s briefly uncomfortable, but I have not found it to be painful. I tell myself I can stand anything for a little while.

Here are some stats from the American Cancer Society:

• Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, aside from skin cancer.

• Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death, after lung cancer.

• One in every eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.

• This year, more than 200,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among women in our country.

• Currently, two-thirds of breast cancers are diagnosed at a localized stage, for which the five-year survival rate is 97%. This high rate of early detection can be attributed to utilization of mammography screening. Better understanding of breast cancer symptoms also has helped to increase detection.

It’s almost a new year and if you’ve never had a mammogram I urge you to let that be your 2011 resolution. Starting at age 40, this should be a yearly thing and if you’re from the Grand Forks area maybe you’ll be blessed to get Kati. You can make an appointment by calling Altru’s Breast Center and Mammography Department at (701) 780-6152.

I won’t get the results of my “mammo mash,” until next week. I pray the news will be good.

Until Soon

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