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Everything is OK, see you next year.

smilerev“Everything is OK, see you next year.” These are the words every woman want to hear at the end of her mammogram appointment. Each year, beginning at age 40, a woman makes her annual trek to her mammogram screening. We sit patiently waiting to be taken into the room where they will conduct the screening. Then we sit patiently to receive the news that, hopefully, it’s all good – “you can get dressed now and we’ll see you next year.”

The first mammogram after my diagnosis was emotionally draining. I couldn’t sleep the night before and I was anxious the morning of. When I received the news that all was OK, I burst into tears – just an emotional release. The radiologist didn’t know what to do, he told me to go home and have a drink. The look on his face was priceless.

The first six years after diagnosis, I was seen every 6 months alternating either a digital mammogram or an ultrasound. Then at year seven, I asked if we could change this to once per year and was given the “OK” for the once/year screening.

For the next few years, I would be nervous on my way to the mammogram appointment. But each year, it was a little less emotional. It has been 11 years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Today, I was relatively calm. I had a mammogram and ultrasound in the same appointment… and it was all good.

Many of the breast cancer survivors out there may not know that it is still important to get a breast screening once per year. If you have had a mastectomy, then the screening would be an ultrasound, not a mammogram. Even after a complete removal of the entire breast, there is a small risk of reoccurrence in the remaining tissue/ chest area. It is not possible to remove 100% of all breast tissue and it is not possible for the medical professional to know that 100% of all tissue has been removed. For this reason, a screening of some type should be scheduled once per year.