Sarah Silverman discusses 'uncomfortable' breast screening with 'arrogant' male doctor

Katie O'Malley

Sarah Silverman has opened up about an “uncomfortable” experience she had during a recent mammogram appointment involving an "arrogant" doctor.

On Wednesday, the comedian revealed she required an X-ray and ultrasound because she has “dense breasts”, which means she has relatively high amounts of glandular and fibrous tissue and low fatty tissue, making breast screenings more difficult.

Describing the moment a radiologist helped prepare her for her ultrasound apppointment, Silverman said the medical professional used his bare hands instead of wearing gloves.

“He opened my gown and put gel on my breasts and smeared it around with his bare hands,” Silverman wrote on Instagram.

“Then he started talking to me about my chest X-ray (I also got a chest X-Ray) and was pontificating with my boobs just out and covered in gel and cold and finally I said ‘Hey can we either talk when I’m dressed or WHILE you’re doing the ultrasound? I’m not comfortable with my breasts out just shooting the s— with you,” Silverman alleged.

Silverman pointed out that this wasn’t the first time she was made to feel uncomfortable by the radiologist.

“Again, AS I TOLD HIM LAST YEAR, I said ‘Hey! Do you need to be touching me with your fingers?’ He said ‘No.’ And he pulled them off of me,” Silverman continued.

Silverman said when she questioned the radiologist why he was using his fingers without wearing gloves for the procedure, he told her: “I do that for balance.”

The School of Rock actor said that it is a radiologist’s job to be aware of how vulnerable a woman can feel during a breast examination.

“For him to be so arrogant that he didn’t even internalize the problem when I said something to him about it last year is obnoxious and probably a subconscious power thing if we’re getting deep,” she said.

As a result of her experience, she vowed for that the mammogram would be her last with a male medical professional.

“I’m a grown woman and I’m fine,” she continued.

“But this guy does this with everyone and I know that personally it took many years into adulthood before I spoke up for myself. It’s uncomfortable and too easy to think it’s all in your head. And arrogant f*cks like this doctor take advantage of women’s socialized instinct to not speak up.”

She concluded her post by encouraging women to speak out when they feel vulnerable in similar situations.

“Trust that thing in your gut that tells you this sh*t ain’t right," she wrote.

According to Cancer Research’s website, patients undergoing a breast ultrasound are required to remove upper clothing, including their bra, and put on a hospital gown for the procedure.

The charity explains that a sonographer will then apply a cold lubricating gel over a patient’s breasts to helps the probe slide over the skin to give clear pictures on the screen. The procedure is painless but the organisation advises you to inform the sonographer if at any point it causes discomfort.

Jane Murphy, clinical nurse specialist at Breast Cancer Care, tells The Independent that “while it’s not routine for the person carrying out the ultrasound to wear gloves, they will always wash their hands before beginning the scan”.

“It’s important that anyone going for a breast clinic appointment feels empowered to raise any questions or concerns about the procedure at any point.”

Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer in the UK with around 5,000 women under the age of 55 receiving a diagnosis every year.

To find out how to check your breasts for cancer symptoms click here.

If you would like more information on breast cancer, you can visit the NHS, Cancer Research UK, Breast Cancer Now and CoppaFeel!