“Does it hurt?” is the question that I often get from mammogram participants. As a radiographer, it is my duty to give them the best service and comfort as they undergo the screening.
The infamous Mammogram procedure is widely known for its painful and uncomfortable experience which are the reasons why most women are reluctant to do the check-up. Knowing this, I always try my best to console every participant and ensure they have the best experience with our MAKNA Mobile Mammogram.
It is always a disappointing moment for us when we could not deliver our service due to machine failure as there are people who travelled far just to get the free screening. Although we have scheduled maintenance service and checked the machine before heading to the event location, there are some things that we cannot avoid. When such unfortunate situation happens, it can be unpleasant for the participants as well so we would calmly smile and apologize for the inconvenience caused. However, with one bad experience, comes along 10 good experiences.
There was one particular participant that I will always remember as she brought such joy and satisfaction to my work.
“I’m scared to do this mammogram. I’ve done it before at a hospital and it hurt so bad”, the lady said to me as she came in the mammogram room, trembling with fear. She understands the importance of doing it, but the experience had traumatized her that she hasn’t been to the hospital for more than 10 years to get another check-up. The only reason she came in that day was because she was forced by her friends and family.
I talked to her about the procedure calmly before we started, and to see her trembling while walking towards the mammogram machine really broke my heart. So, I started to chat with her about her family, her children and where she lives while doing the mammogram. She started to get more relaxed and was able to successfully complete the mammogram.
“Eh…it didn’t hurt as bad as my previous experience!” she expressed herself once I said it is done. Before she left the mammogram room, she hugged me and repeatedly said thank you. “Thank you! May Allah bless you for helping a lot of other people like me.” The smile, the joy and the ‘doa’ really sparked the passion in my work to help others.
I always enjoy doing mammogram whenever we are in rural areas. It is a place where we meet the kindest and warmest people. And it is also a place where most of them have no knowledge about mammogram screenings and trusted more on traditional remedies until they seek help in later stages.
I often heard from our participants as they talked about their neighbours, family or friends who died because of breast cancer. They refused to go to the hospital or clinic to get a check-up and opted for ‘bomoh’ instead. There are many reasons why they choose not to seek professional help; some due to family matters, the hospital is too far and need to wait for an appointment and some because they have no money.
Thus, I am truly glad that MAKNA decided to build a Digital Mobile Mammogram Screening to help people from these communities. I am proud to be part of the team.
Kathleen Mason, MAKNA Radiographer