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A Piece of My Mind
January 12, 2000

How to Have Your First Mammogram

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2000;283(2):171. doi:10.1001/jama.283.2.171

Be spontaneous. Decide to ask your doctor, while you are butterflied on the table with a paper sheet on your lap, and she is peering at the small pink mouth of your cervix, whether it is time. Listen to her ask, from very far away, whether there is any cancer in your family. Drag from memory the phrase "ductal carcinoma in situ." Tell her your mother had one just last summer. Keep your mind stiff as a speculum. Stare at the oatmeal-colored tiles in the ceiling. Refuse to float away on a wave of terror and grief. Say "She had it out. She's fine now."

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