Posts Tagged ‘bad mammogram


The Mammogram Post

MammogramI don’t vent often on this site, but my girlfriend J-Rab went for a mammogram yesterday and had a really crappy, uncomfortable experience that I felt I had to share because if this is what other girls have to go through then we have a serious problem.

It is a well-documented fact that the best and most powerful way of beating cancer is through early detection and treatment.

It’s something the CANSA association and numerous health administrations in South Africa and the world encourage people to do in order to beat a disease that affects an average of one in four people in their lifetime.

J-Rab has been understandably upset and freaked out over the past few weeks because she’s been experiencing pain in her breasts, and was referred by her GP to have a mammogram – not because she was being paranoid or oversensitive but because, though she’s only in her late 20s, she has a history of breast cancer in her family and was genuinely worried something might be wrong.

For the benefit of my male readers, let it be known that going for a mammogram, much like prostate examinations for men, is something women genuinely loathe having to go through.

When radiologists perform mammograms, they basically squash a woman’s breast tissue as flat as it will go which is an uncomfortable enough experience to have to go through, never mind the fact that they go through it half naked.

In J-Rab’s case, the first part of the procedure, painful as it was, wasn’t too bad. She got undressed and had the mammogram done by a female radiologist who made her feel as comfortable as the procedure would allow.

Once that was over, a male doctor came in to perform the ultrasound who was so rude and dismissive towards her that he had the nerve to say (and I quote) “Why are you doing this at such a young age?” to which she replied that she’d been experiencing pain in her right breast and that, because there is a history of breast cancer in her family, she wanted to get in checked out.

“Pain is no indication of cancer,” he told her abruptly, like she was an idiot for ever thinking something might be wrong. He then scanned her half-heartedly, gave the scans a cursory glance, grunted “there’s nothing here” and marched out of the room without even saying goodbye to her.

Instead of feeling relieved that her scans were clear, J-Rab left with an uneasy feeling like there might have been something the doctor overlooked and like she’d been violated in some way.

Is this the kind of behaviour that women have to put up with when going through a difficult, potentially life-changing ordeal?

And more importantly, what kind of doctor treats his patients like that? Like they’re wasting his time by checking that they aren’t sick with a life-threatening disease?

It makes me furious me that someone in the medical profession would treat an issue like this in such a dismissive and callous way.

If you have such a low regard for your patients and what they might be going through, then do us all a favour and quit because by behaving like that you’re only making a bad situation worse.