'Mammograms hurt' column draws ire -- OrlandoSentinel.com

Full story: Orlando Sentinel

Recently, I wrote that the number of women ages 50 to 64 who were having annual mammograms was declining at a surprising rate.
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Maria

Orlando, FL

#1 Aug 1, 2007
I almost didn't get my mammogram this year due to the extreme pain as well as the bruising I end up with after the procedure. Each breast ends up with a bruise the size of a quarter. I thought they had a new test now that is more accurate and less painful.
trtsmb

Tampa, FL

#2 Aug 1, 2007
Obviously, the radiologists who came down on you have never experienced how painful a mammogram is. After mine, I had a number of small bruises and was sore for a few days afterwards.

My husband thinks mammograms are barbaric and believes they must be a better, less painful way to screen women.
Pinker

United States

#3 Aug 1, 2007
I had one technician who told me that it didn't have to be smashed so tightly that it's painful. The next year was a different story. The technician asked me how it was. I said, "It hurts." She gave the machine another twist. OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW! I want to take them with me when I leave!
Janice

Tallahassee, FL

#4 Aug 1, 2007
If men had to get a test like this on their testicles every year, you can bet that the male dominated medical profession would have come up with a much less painful way of doing it after the first year! Why are women always expected to "suck it up" and deal with extreme pain? Men would
NEVER tolerate this!
Southwest Orange

Boston, MA

#5 Aug 1, 2007
And then there are us women who have what they call 'dense' tissue. The mamogram cannot be read.

So it's a total waste of time and money.
Nancy R - Connecticut

Lexington Park, MD

#6 Aug 1, 2007
I've had upwards of 35 mammograms over that many years. The majority were simply uncomfortable. Yes, a few were painful but no bruises ensued. I'm moderately full-sized and always speak with the technician about her technique - and in most cases am gratefully surprised at the low level of discomfort. PLEASE continue to have the mammograms - they discover MANY more cancers than they miss!
SandwichGen

United States

#7 Aug 1, 2007
I'm aware that not everyone experiences the amount of pain I have experienced. However, I think that being chastised for saying that mammograms hurt and the pain might make some women hesitant is like shooting the messenger and avoiding finding solutions.

There are many of us who find mammograms beyond "uncomfortable". I've had 5 mammograms so far, and each time the procedure was painful. I'll continue to get them done; but I'll also continue to "speak up" and urge the medical community to find an alternative.

Janice, I've had very similar thoughts.....after my first mammaogram I told my husband to imagine his scrotum squeezed between two hard plates until it was only half an inch thick........
So True

Winter Park, FL

#8 Aug 1, 2007
Janice wrote:
If men had to get a test like this on their testicles every year, you can bet that the male dominated medical profession would have come up with a much less painful way of doing it after the first year! Why are women always expected to "suck it up" and deal with extreme pain? Men would
NEVER tolerate this!
Isn't that the truth! If men had their private areas smashed you can bet a new "revolutionary" (and painless I might add...) test would be invented the same day.:)
Enough already

Bronx, NY

#9 Aug 1, 2007
So True wrote:
<quoted text>
Isn't that the truth! If men had their private areas smashed you can bet a new "revolutionary" (and painless I might add...) test would be invented the same day.:)
I have a suggestion - how about we stop blaming men and take on the responsibility ourselves? Last time I checked, this is 2007 and there are plenty of women in the the fields of medicine, research and health care. Isn't it time we get past blaming the "male dominated world" and just look for the solutions? Yes it's painful, yes I hate it - now let's do something rather than throw the blame on a certain segment of society just because they don't have to have the procedure.
Janice

Tallahassee, FL

#10 Aug 1, 2007
Enough Already, It's not about casting blame; it's telling it like it is. Yes, women have made lots of progress, but we have a long way to go. I stand behind my earlier comment; men would never tolerate something like this, and an alternative would already have found!
Maria

Tallahassee, FL

#11 Aug 1, 2007
Thank you for having the courage to talk openly about this topic. They are OUR bodies and we have every right to express our fears, discomforts, and concerns about them. Maybe if technocians and doctors were a little more sensitive to this, instead of patronizing and scolding us, woman would be less likely to avoid their mammograms.
Tessa

United States

#12 Aug 1, 2007
Janice wrote:
Enough Already, It's not about casting blame; it's telling it like it is. Yes, women have made lots of progress, but we have a long way to go. I stand behind my earlier comment; men would never tolerate something like this, and an alternative would already have found!
I agree with you. Why hasn't one of our brilliant women engineers focused on this? There has to be a better way! If I had the brains and education, I would. And a better bra...
deedee

Anderson, IN

#13 Aug 1, 2007
You should all be glad that you have them to be smashed.
Tis Herself

United States

#15 Aug 1, 2007
Ladies, find a facility that can do an MRI rather than a mommogram. It's 100% painless and 1000% more accurate in detecting any abnormalities.
Tis Herself

United States

#16 Aug 1, 2007
Tessa wrote:
<quoted text>
I agree with you. Why hasn't one of our brilliant women engineers focused on this? There has to be a better way! If I had the brains and education, I would. And a better bra...
There is a better way, MRI!
Gloom and Doom

Silver Spring, MD

#17 Aug 1, 2007
My wife told me they suck along time ago. Like crushing a t-i-t in a vice.
NatM

Cary, NC

#18 Aug 1, 2007
What a bunch of sissies!! In all honesty, having my period every month is much more uncomfortable than having a mammogram, which is only once a year. I personally know three woman who have had breast cancer and had to go through chemo and surgery. The woman who finally recently passed away had to go through chemotherapy twice, and had both breasts removed, yet the cancer ended up spreading throughout her body. All three of these women never had an annual mammogram.
SandwichGen

United States

#19 Aug 1, 2007
To "Enough already": discussing an apparent difference is NOT the same as blaming anyone. Urging change is NOT blaming men.

To "deedee": Of course I'm happy that I've not had breast cancer. I'm happy that I'm alive, healthy, and haven't had a mastectomy. I miss those I knew who have died from breast cancer......that doesen't mean that I should "suffer in silence".....staying quiet rarely promotes better ways of detecting cancer early.

To "Tis Herself": MRIs are very sensitive, however, they have a high rate of false positives. The American Cancer Society recommends mammograms or mammograms plus MRIs. I suppose more biopsies might be less painful than mammograms.....but I'm not convinced that MRIs are the best way to go....at least not yet. Perhaps if MRIs were used for screenings more often there would be fewer false positives....hmmmmm....somethi ng to think about....

To NatM: I don't see anyone here saying that they do not get mammograms.....only that some of us find them painful. I know women who do not experience pain during their mammograms, women who find mammograms uncomfortable, and women like myself who find them painful. I believe this has more to do with variations in breast tissue than me being a sissy. Cancer of any type can be ghastly.....that doesn't mean that screening procedures must be accepted as they stand now.
Janice

Tallahassee, FL

#20 Aug 1, 2007
Very well put, sandwichgen!
Curious

San Diego, CA

#21 Aug 1, 2007
I've had 3 mammograms in my life.

Uncomfortable? Yes.
Painful? Absolutely no.

I wonder if it's just me.

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