Sunday, February 26, 2006

BC Diagnostics--Shout it from the Rooftop, Fiddler!

Granted invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC) is relatively rare--about 10% of American women.

But why didn't we know there was a type of breast cancer that usually does not present on mammography or ultrasound (US)? Seems we were sold a bill of goods there. ILC is also a little tough to see on an MRI, but the MRI is a little less "blind" than mammo and US when it comes to ILC.

For you women and for you men who love women, insist on a periodic screening MRI. They are way more fun than the mammos. Yes there's the whole coffin thing going on, but you get a "panic button" and there's no pain like you get when your boobs are squeezed by a mammo machine.

However, don't give up on the mammograms. Ductal carcinoma, the more common type of breast cancer, and calcifications do not reliably show up on MRI. So alternate on the diagnositic methods.

Also talk frankly with your family elders. There was alot of secrecy back in the olden days about cancer in "private parts." And family finances could have figured into things. Family members 50 or more years ago may have been too poor to get proper diagnostics and treatment. Check with family members at your same "generational level" and below. You should know what's happening with your cousins and their children.

Breast self exam. If Venita hadn't done it, she wouldn't have found this. If she had been more vigilant, she might have found it earlier.

Finally, when a medical professional tells you that everything's OK and you're still walking around with a mass or lump in your breast or some other not-normal-for-you condition, get a second opinion or even a third. If you have gut feeling there is something wrong, there probably is.

Down off the rooftop now. Whew!

1 comment:

Martha and Alley Cat said...

This is terrific that you are doing this Venita. Imagine how many others you will help with your documented journey. And we'll be with you all the way. We love you!
Martha, Jim & Alley Cat