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Breast Cancer

Question:

How was your breast cancer detected? Submit Your Comment

Comment from: slmhobblet, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 10

My breast cancer was discovered accidentally. I had a "clean" mammogram on May 31 of last year (2007). I ran the Casper Marathon on June 8, 2007. I was feeling myself all over the next day, thinking "Ow, everything still hurts," when I found a very small lump the size of a green pea in my left breast nearly under my arm. I immediately made an appointment with my physician, who decided to watch it a couple of months to see if it would go away on its own. When it was still present on July 23, we agreed I should have a diagnostic mammogram. Upon reading the mammogram, the radiologist said, "I can't see anything"... not anything as in "no cancer" but as in "diddlysquat...your breasts are too dense to read." She said I needed an ultrasound, which I then had and which clearly indicated on the screen, even to me, that something different was present. I returned two days later for a fine core biopsy and a research MRI for a clinical study. Results from the biopsy and the MRI indicated the presence of cancer. This experience has totally demolished my confidence in mammograms. I feel as though I have been brainwashed by the flood of propaganda about getting my yearly mammograms (which I have done every year for the past 19 years). This cancer had been present for an estimated five to six years, yet no mammogram or yearly physician's exam had detected it. My yearly mammogram report always said something to the effect that I have dense breasts that make the mammograms more difficult to interpret....but nowhere or at any time was I ever told that the physician could not see "anything" as in "diddlysquat," and that to be safe, I should have an MRI. My physician says that the insurance will not pay for such MRIs and that is why doctors don't recommend them. I would gladly have paid for the expense myself given the fact that breast cancer runs in my family. I will be fortunate to survive another four years now.

Comment from: J, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 23

I like other women, felt a lump 3 weeks before my regularly scheduled mammogram/physical. I am young and "lumpy" fibrocystic I wasn't too concerned. I went on vacation and completely forgot the about the lump I felt. During my physical my doctor noticed the different feel to this lump. She sent me for a mammogram that day. Since I am in the medical field I was able to have this done right away with immediate results. The mammogram was compared to my last years and everything looked "fine." Just to be on the safe side she suggested I go over and have an Ultrasound, while there they thought that it looked suspicious so the radiologist did a biopsy. When the results came back I was shocked to learn I had breast cancer. After having a MRI, PET and CT scan, we unfortunately found that the cancer was not in the early stage. I have had chemo, radiation, bilateral mastectomies, reconstruction with the flap, as well as a hysterectomy. I am on a drug now for a few more years then another drug for 5 more. Not a problem as long as I am alive. I have no risk factors except I have never had children. Please do self exams. I am lucky because I have a great team of doctors.

Comment from: Sharon, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: September 10

I had absolutely no symptoms. I just went in for my annual mammogram. I am only 43 years old, but my maternal grandmother had invasive breast cancer, so I started getting regular mammograms at age 38. The radiologist found a group of calcifications, did a biopsy, and found it to be very early stage (zero) Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS). I just had the partial mastectomy, which was really more like a lumpectomy. The radiation therapy will start soon to lessen the chance of recurrence.

Comment from: louwho, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 01

I have been told I have extremely dense breast tissue and have had since I began having mammograms nearly 12 years ago. I have seen the pictures of my mammograms, and they are nearly entirely solid white. I know there is no way anyone can see anything behind it. I do have follow up ultrasounds, but have heard they also miss cancers. I wonder if a breast MRI would be in order also along with a consultation with a breast surgeon. It is unsettling to see the reaction I get from the radiology staff during the mammogram and ultrasound on how dense the breast tissue is and I am afraid they may be missing something.

Comment from: Alicia, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: April 29

I found a lump in my right breast about a month ago, and I am due in for my ultrasound tomorrow. I have just found out my granddad and his sister both had lumpectomies. I am starting to panic now about breast cancer with what I have just found out. I haven't mentioned the lumpectomy to the doctor yet as I have just found out.

Comment from: Lucky1, 75 or over (Patient) Published: May 31

Mammogram showed what was diagnosed as DCIS. This was after bilateral subcutaneous mastectomies 42 years ago. This time they removed nipple and what was left of breast tissue from previous surgery. The first surgery probably prevented cancer for many years. I am 76.

Comment from: 47fireworks, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 13

My breast cancer was detected by mammogram. I had had many cysts before but when I saw the mammogram with the white area I knew I was in trouble. Next I had an ultrasound, a needle core biopsy, a wire directed biopsy and then lumpectomy. All this was followed by 33 radiation treatments.

Comment from: waiting, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: March 08

I discovered a fairly large lump right before it was time for my mammogram. I have had mammograms faithfully every year 25 years and there was never any indication of calcifications. Mammograms miss a lot of early cancers!

Comment from: mariana, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 25

A routine mammogram showed lumps in the both breasts. An ultrasound was performed the same day to confirm and the lump in the right breast was diagnosed as cancerous and that in the left as a small cyst. The biopsy showed what the surgeon suspected on analysis of the ultrasounds that I had cancer in both breasts. I had two lumpectomies followed by radiotherapy. I was left with minimal scarring. Even after the ultrasound neither lump could be felt by the surgeon. This was a relief as I always used to self-examine on a regular basis! Nearly two years on I am cancer free.

Comment from: Bon Chance, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 13

IDC of 2 - 3 millimeters detected through routine bi-annual mammogram.

Comment from: Christiane, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 10

I noticed that my right nipple was pulling in or seemed inverted, so I saw my gynecologist and she sent me for a mammogram, then ultrasound, then biopsy which confirmed a diagnosis of ductal carcinoma stage 2. I had a mastectomy on my right side and chemotherapy for four months and am continuing Herceptin infusions and hormone therapy now. The prognosis is very good.

Comment from: peggy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 21

I have stage IV metastatic breast cancer: (HER2 positive, very aggressive.) I personally found lump in right breast. Then I had a mammogram, biopsy then diagnosis. There were several tests and scans, port placement and chemotherapy and Herceptin treatment started within 2 weeks of diagnosis.

Comment from: Scarlet, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: June 24

I found a lump on a routine self-exam.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: June 21

My breast cancer was detected solely through a mammogram. There was no pain, and my lump could not be felt by four doctors. I was a lucky one having a lumpectomy and radiation. My numbers came back good enough that I did not need chemo. I have been cancer free for exactly one year. Other that taking tamoxifen and having a small scar on my left breast, you would never know anything about the problem. Never a hot flash...or anything.

Comment from: Debbie S, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 23

I felt a lump in my breast only 1 month after I got a clean mammogram. An ultrasound and biopsy revealed it was cancer.

Comment from: 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 19

My breast cancer was detected in my annual mammogram screening. They really do work.

Comment from: 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: November 30

My breast cancer was diagnosed after I felt a lump and asked for a biopsy. I had been getting yearly mammograms that were always negative, even after I felt the lump. I also had an ultrasound after detecting the lump that did not show anything. Nobody told me to get a biopsy and I didn't know to ask about an MRI. I waited almost 4 more months before calling back my doctor and asking for a biopsy. I had 5 different spots of cancer bilaterally and 2 positive lymph nodes. I didn't know until all this how unreliable mammograms could be.

Comment from: pipley, 55-64 (Patient) Published: November 02

Breast cancer was detected by the mammogram. I couldn't not feel it myself, and it was not detected by a breast exam by the doctor a couple of weeks before the mammogram.

Comment from: Fwance, 55-64 Female Published: October 12

My breast cancer was diagnosed from a mammogram when I was 40 yrs. old. Calcifications showed up which they decided to biopsy. There was a small intraductal carcinoma insitu. It has been 16 yrs. since-cancer free. I chose to have a simple mastectomy with tram flap reconstruction.

REFERENCES:

American Cancer Society. "Breast Cancer." <http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/
BreastCancer/index>.

"HER2 Testing for Breast Cancer." Cancer.net. <http://www.cancer.net/research-and-advocacy/asco-care-and-treatment-recommendations-patients/her2-testing-breast-cancer>.

United States. National Cancer Institute. "General Information About Breast Cancer." Sept. 25, 2014. <http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/
treatment/breast/
healthprofessional#Section_551>.

United States. National Cancer Institute. "SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Breast Cancer." <http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/
breast.html>.

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