Last month I turned 45 and as a woman living in New Zealand, I received a rather unique birthday gift from the health services. My first free mammogram.
Mammograms are all about trying to reduce the volume of breast cancer deaths in New Zealand. According to Breast Cancer Foundation stats, breast cancer is the most common cancer among Kiwi women, affecting one in nine women during their lifetime, and killing more than 600 each year. That’s a lot of good women lost. A lot of wonderful mums and a lot of beautiful daughters.
Just about every woman you know, will know of someone who has battled breast cancer, and as with most cancers, medical experts advise that early detection provides the best chance of survival.
So as soon as I received my mammogram letter, I grabbed the phone and got myself booked in for “the squeeze”. Women have to put up with quite a bit of “medical handling” during their lifetimes. Bra fittings, smear tests, having babies. So adding a bit of a boob squeeze to the list, is just another day at the office.
I turned up to the breast screening van, filled in a form and was ready to go. My lovely radiographer gave me a cape to wear, and the birthday party began. There were a few minutes spent getting everything lined up correctly, but all in all there were four short “squeezes” of 12 seconds each. That was it! Did it hurt? No. Was it uncomfortable? Yes, but nothing major.
I love my kids and want to be there as they reach each amazing stage in their life. Finishing school, starting their first job, falling in love and having kids of their own. Getting a bit of a squeeze is a small price to pay (in fact it’s free!), for the chance at a long fulfilling life.
Blokes you too can help us save more wonderful Kiwi women from being taken by this disease. Ensure your partners, wives, sisters, daughters and mums are all getting into “the squeeze” too. And ladies if you’re aged 45 to 69 and haven’t had a free mammogram yet, free phone BreastScreen NZ today on 0800 270 200 and get yourself booked in for one of the best birthday gifts you’ll ever receive.