Saturday, 14 November 2015

Getting a Breast Exam in Korea

Breast exams aren't normally a part of a woman's annual exam in Korea. Some obgyns will do them, but most don't and you might have to go elsewhere. I'm sure you already know that you should be doing monthly BSE (breast self exams). In Korea they recommend Asian women to start getting mammograms at age 40 and western women to start at age 50.

I went earlier this year because I found a lump in my left breast. I went to the doctor in the US and they said it might be a cyst and were worried because it was big. They also found one in my right breast. I don't have American insurance and the mammogram alone would have run me $1000 and they said it could take a few weeks for the results. I decided to just wait until I got back to Korea.

Once I got back I went to SCH (Soonchunhyun) Hospital in Hannam near Itaewon. With NHS the mammogram was only about 23,000. NHS covered the other half of it. The sonogram was not covered and it was 170,000.

I had heard that mammograms were extremely painful, but it really didn't hurt that much at all. It was uncomfortable because my whole side and face was pressed up against the machine but it really didn't hurt. They took two X-rays of each side: one horizontally and another diagonally. It was fast and over in minutes. I now regret having had a mammogram now that I know how harmful they are and that there are facts against using them. The sonogram was painless. They just put some gel on you and run the machine up and down your breasts and in your armpits. I got the results right away and they were negative: no cysts, nothing.

If you're looking to get a breast exam you can try going to a large hospital near you. You can also call the Global Centers and they can tell you if there are any small clinics near you that offer this service. If you find anything it's best to go ASAP.

Tender Embrace Birthing offers childbirth, breastfeeding, and newborn care classes and support.

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