I got a mammogram today. I did and I am proud of it.
Didn’t say I enjoyed it, no one enjoys the rubber gloved hand contorting the girls around and smashing them into a crepe. I’d say most women fall in the range of considering it a completely abhorrent experience to accepting it as it is what it is.
Which what it is, is incredibly important as a means to early cancer detection. Think if how many lives could be saved if this whole mammogram thing were less humiliating and women looked forward to it each year instead of avoiding it like the plague. Because right now, it is a humiliating experience. Sitting in a cold room half naked with a stiff as a board “cape” wrapped sound you while you wait like cattle for the slaughter, your own breast cancer lotto. Will you be the one that day who gets bad news? Will your life be forever changed? It’s stressful and it is definitely not fun.
It shouldn’t be this way. If I ran a mammogram center, these are the the things I would do to make women want to get screened. Well, maybe not want to, but they wouldn’t avoid it.
1) I’d have Ellen or other comedians playing on loop in the lobby and all the waiting areas. I totally get how the dark soothing atmosphere helps to keep patients calm but all it really does is leave you alone with your thoughts. No one wants to spend an hour and a half sorting through all the possible scenarios and what ifs. Take their mind off of it. Distract them with funny. Or have two rooms, one for the people who like to stress in the quiet, the other one for people who want to laugh and enjoy a guilt-free break in their otherwise stressful day.
2) Chocolate. There would be free chocolate everywhere. The good kind that you won’t splurge on at the store.
3) There would be a basket with baby wipes, deodorant, and perfume samples. No one wants to walk around without deodorant on for a nanosecond, so make it easy to take it off and refresh afterwards.
4) No more capes in the horrid 80’s colors. For gosh sakes, get some wraps with sleeves made out of snuggle fabrics already.
5) All the techs who perform the squishing get to design their own temporary tattoos. When you’re done with your mammo, you get an “inspected by” tatt to show off to your husband and kids later.
6) Kids get suckers when they leave the doctor, why don’t we get crap? Have a bowl of nail polish that we get to choose a freebie from when we leave. I’d even name them funny things “mammo-whammo mauve” and “pinch me pink.”
7) Arrange for cross promos with local merchants like IHOP for a free pancake. Get it? Pancake?
8) Flowers. Women like flowers. Let’s step it up a bit and make the lobby a little more inviting. And I don’t mean the silk kind. Bleh.
9) And while we are at it, have prints on the wall with words of encouragement, like “go girl!” “Your family thanks you” and of course cancer stats that reinforce why this is something that everyone should want to do.
10) And lastly, I’d offer a place for people to donate to the Komen Foundation, 3-day walkers, or any of the many other amazing research funds to further cancer research and advancements.
Those are my 10 suggestions. What would you do to make this necessary health screening more bearable?