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Old 11-23-2020, 12:10 PM
 
Location: Central IL
17,758 posts, read 10,961,053 times
Reputation: 42259

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Just had my mammo...every other year at this point.

The first thing once in the room she hands me a little remote control with two buttons a plus and a minus. She says she will close/compress the plates to a certain degree and then I will go the rest of the way, presumably so I can control the degree of pressure myself. She made it sound as though she would be going most of the way and mine was just a small adjustment.

For the first three views she did go to the point of a fair amount of discomfort and then I tried to do my part by going somewhat more. It tended to compress pretty fast so I had to be careful - I learned that from the first view - ouch! For the last view she seemed to go a bit further and I elected to not go any more - it was already starting to hurt. She told/asked me twice to "go ahead" and I said that I was good. Well, she disagreed and compressed more and of course this really was hurting especially since she was taking longer by talking back and forth with me.

So no, it was not a horrible experience. But I resented that she gave me the "illusion" of control by essentially making me go that last bit and basically inflicting the pain on myself - but in the end she did get to increase it even more. I would rather she'd gone to the minimum point and let me go more but even if I did not, it would have been adequate for the purposes of the test.

I guess they are trying...but to get a 34B piece of flesh in between two plates will never be easy. And they do the 3D view which I need, due to density. However, it means you're compressed longer for each of 4 views. I know...if they can find cancer, it's worth it...but there are other tests for other conditions that are easier so I hope they keep working to make THIS better.
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Old 11-23-2020, 01:42 PM
 
Location: on the wind
12,775 posts, read 6,295,346 times
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I recall one mamo facility I used years ago offered that feature so I don't think its all that new. Don't know how many specific machines do or don't have it or how frequently different facilities can upgrade their equipment. People are so individual in what they think they can tolerate. I'm sure after previewing the images the tech knows what minimum compression point will end up being necessary. If the patient doesn't compress to that point on their own it makes sense that the tech should be able to override them. What would be the point of being comfortable if it results in a useless image? If the images aren't any good, you either end up needing MORE of them (which means more compressions and more discomfort) or you miss an earlier stage cancer. Not a great tradeoff.

I agree. The imagery sensitivity itself should be improved so compression isn't a factor. Probably means the test will get more expensive (so people will howl about that), but maybe more squeamish women would actually get screened. It always surprises me when I overhear women say they won't get mammograms because they are afraid they will hurt. A undiagnosed cancer will definitely hurt more.

Last edited by Parnassia; 11-23-2020 at 02:36 PM..
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Old 11-23-2020, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Central IL
17,758 posts, read 10,961,053 times
Reputation: 42259
Quote:
Originally Posted by Parnassia View Post
I recall one mamo facility I used years ago offered that feature so I don't think its all that new. Don't know how many specific machines do or don't have it or how frequently different facilities can upgrade their equipment. People are so individual in what they think they can tolerate. I'm sure after previewing the images the tech knows what minimum compression point will end up being necessary. If the patient doesn't compress to that point on their own it makes sense that the tech should be able to override them. What would be the point of being comfortable if it results in a useless image? If the images aren't any good, you either end up needing MORE of them (which means more compressions and more discomfort) or you miss an earlier stage cancer. Not a great tradeoff.

I agree. The imagery sensitivity itself should be improved so compression isn't a factor. Probably means the test will get more expensive (so people will howl about that), but maybe more squeamish women would actually get screened. It always surprises me when I overhear women say they won't get mammograms because they are afraid they will hurt. A undiagnosed cancer will definitely hurt more.
Well, as they say, if it's new to you (me), then it's new - I hadn't even heard anyone mention it before.

If the quality of the scan is that dependent on a particular level of compression (which I'm sure it is and was even surprised I'd have any say in it) then I would rather the technician just do it. Of course pain is subjective, but as you say, if the image is worthless then what is the point. So the point is to get a good image and that's what the technician is for - no need to try to make me feel in control when I'm not.
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Old 11-23-2020, 04:32 PM
 
Location: on the wind
12,775 posts, read 6,295,346 times
Reputation: 42057
Quote:
Originally Posted by reneeh63 View Post
Well, as they say, if it's new to you (me), then it's new - I hadn't even heard anyone mention it before.

If the quality of the scan is that dependent on a particular level of compression (which I'm sure it is and was even surprised I'd have any say in it) then I would rather the technician just do it. Of course pain is subjective, but as you say, if the image is worthless then what is the point. So the point is to get a good image and that's what the technician is for - no need to try to make me feel in control when I'm not.
Maybe that's one reason this "feature" doesn't seem to be more common. Kind of made people wonder what the point was. Mamo imagery itself is more sensitive now. Maybe the allusion of having more control made itself obsolete.
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Old 11-23-2020, 07:50 PM
 
Location: northern New England
3,818 posts, read 1,875,927 times
Reputation: 14554
Yikes! I would not do that. Like you said, you don't know how fast it will squeeze. Any time I have gotten one, the tech cranks a knob manually to apply pressure. No danger of going too fast or too much.
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