Getting a breast exam can be as relaxing as going to the spa

Places like the Women's Health Mammography Institute are creating welcoming environments that take the trauma out of breast cancer screenings

26 August 2018 - 00:04 By Shanthini Naidoo

One of the guarantees of womanhood is that your breasts will change with you, at every life event. They arrive at puberty: dynamic, developing along with a brain rewired to new hormones.
Best-behaved in your 20s, they are confident and ready for all that life has to offer. In your 30s, they transform along with your ideologies, needing reflection, redress - maybe better support.
If you have children, they, too, will grow, possibly be problematic and definitely move on, never to be the same again.
Weight gain, loss, exercise, eating, drinking habits ... they respond and change as you change.
I'm not sure what happens later in life, apart from gravity inevitably taking over, but having been through a lot with mine, I treated them to an exam with the professionals.
Self-examinations can be confusing. Was that bump always there? Is that a wrinkle or something to be concerned about?
A recommendation allayed the horrors of a medical exam being about cold machinery squishing body parts into unnatural shapes.There are places like the Women's Health Mammography Institute that feel more like a spa than a clinical facility - for women, by women.
You arrive to find a chic waiting room, changing rooms that are feminine, and the choice of a fluffy robe or silk gown. The medical exam room is pleasantly warmed up.
Yes, there are some machines and squishing, but this is not an entirely awful mammogram.
An ultrasound followed, and I was less interested in the state-of-the-art digital mapping than the fact that someone, for the first time in my life, had thought of gently warming the conductive gel. (It is water-based and there is no harm in heating it, so why is this not common practice?)
The consultation was informative and valuable. The mapping turned out to be fascinating, with those life changes marked and visible in the lines and formations.
I got to know intimately how they were doing, whether I had been treating them well, what could happen in the future ... clear patterns of everything we had been through together...

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