I am revisiting this post, as once again it is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I happily participate in the Race for the Cure and last week I had my hair cut as part of the fundraising Cut-a-thon at On the Fringe. Remember, it’s important to take care of your girls year round! This post is slated on the second to last day of the month because I want to remind you that you need to think about breast health all of the time.
I am blogging about breast health! To this end, this post is about my Breast Thermography scan at Valentus Clinic in Victoria, BC. In the spirit of disclosure, I did not pay for the scan, but was contacted to get a scan to coincide with Breast Cancer Awareness month and to blog about my experience. And as it so happens, I can also compare the Thermography scan to the mammogram that I had two days prior. Note to others—try to space out the mammogram and Thermography scan about a week apart so that your breast are no longer sore from the pancake, I mean mammogram procedure.
I was asked to not wear any perfume, lotion or deodorant, so I went in for the scan first thing in the morning. If you have long hair, bring an elastic band for your hair. They will have a clip for your hair, though. You will need to disrobe from the waist up and different scans will be taken of your breasts from the front and side profiles. What I liked best about the scan was the ongoing conversation about breast health. I did not feel rushed and asked questions about this scan and breast health.
During my scan the technician, Dr. Joylin Starling was great. She explained everything that she was doing. She also made sure to scan my low back more as she saw lots of “hot” spots there. (I am recovering from a car accident and it was very interesting to see the scan that included my shoulders and low back). The Thermography scan is not invasive or painful. I had to sit still and move according to Dr. Starling’s directions. Frankly, being inquisitive I was interested in the scan and what the different colors mean—more vascular work going on under the skin. The scans are then sent to the US for evaluation. Then, I return for a follow up from the scan.
The next portion of the exam is a digital and ultrasound exam by the technician. During this exam, Dr. Starling was again thoughtfully answering my questions. I was amazed that she was able to assess which breast gave me more “trouble” when nursing my kids. She felt scar tissue in one breast and it was the one that I could recall massaging in the shower and using cabbage to help ease pain after my breast milk came in when I was nursing my babygirl, who is now 13!
Likewise, I was shocked to know that I had scar tissue from the underwire in my bras. She showed me where it was and after touching these areas and other spots around my breasts, I realized that the feel of the tissue was different. I need to make an appointment at one of the suggested bra shops in town for some bras without underwire.
I left the examination feeling lucky. I felt lucky that I had a thorough exam and I read through the folder of information that they provided me with after the exam. I was contacted about a week later for the follow up. I gave a sigh of relief when I heard and read that my breasts were fine. Breast cancer does not run in my family, but like most women the thought of breast cancer is a punch to the stomach.
I have to say that the Thermography scan, digital examination and ultrasound is less painful than a mammogram. For those of you who have not had a mammogram, the technician gets friendly with you and places your breast in a vise and takes photos. OK, that is not wholly accurate, but it sure feels like it. The important thing to note with the mammogram is that you want to have it done when your breasts are the least tender and that will vary from woman to woman, but most experience more tenderness right before their periods.
Now, extended health care might cover the cost of the scan, but you will need to look into it. Mammograms are covered under the province of BC if you meet certain age or health requirements. Regardless of what you opt to do, please make sure that you check your breasts. This includes under the arms, too. And, for younger women, you should also check your breasts. Young women in their teens and twenties have occasionally been diagnosed with Cancer. Cancer does not discriminate.
For more information about Valentus Clinic:
Oak Bay Professional Building
#103 – 1625 Oak Bay Avenue
Victoria, BC, V8R 1B1
Tel: 250-590-5090 Email: Appointments@valentusclinics.com
Now, in the year since the exam, I have replaced some of my underwire bras, but not all. It’s hard–some of the underwire free bras are–shall I say–not as pretty. Yes, I’m shallow here, when I really should be thinking about breast health. Blushing. The major take away is make sure that you examine your breast monthly–include the underarm area, too. Be healthy!