General chatter - Do not skip this important "To Do"

10-01-2009, 01:02 PM
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and serendipitously, this morning I got a followup exam from a mammo last week (turns out I have calcium deposits but there's not much cause for worry).

I have totally been stressing and kicking myself for the past several days since I got recalled for a followup mammo because I had skipped previous yearly mammos. We all hear that early detection is so important and I was afraid that if something was wrong, it might no longer be early.

And I felt very guilty, because if something happened to me, it would have a huge impact on my daughter (and a large but lesser impact on my husband). Not to mention that my job is the one that has health care benefits (and COBRA only lasts so long).

I skipped my yearly physicals bc I was heavier and embarrassed to see the doctor. And bc of that, the mammos kind of fell by the wayside. I know some other folks feel the same way about seeing the doctor, but please schedule your mammograms even if you don't have a yearly physical. And getting the physical isn't a bad idea either.

I would not have had such a stressful time of it if I had had regular mammograms. I would have had confidence that if anything was wrong, it was being caught early, and even in the worst case, I would not have had a burden of guilt, knowing that at least I had acted responsibly.

So, please don't repeat my mistake. If you are overdue for a mammogram, please schedule one today!

10-01-2009, 01:12 PM
Also I'd say for those of us under 40, do your self breast exams and do your yearly physicals. I'm due for my yearly physical. I've been dreading it because I have to pick a new doctor. It is time though.

10-01-2009, 01:50 PM
As someone who is currently in treatment for metastic breast cancer. I would urge you to do your self exam and get your yearly mammos. I did and found my cancer much earlier than if I had ignored these important precautions,

10-01-2009, 01:51 PM
Also I'd say for those of us under 40, do your self breast exams and do your yearly physicals. I'm due for my yearly physical. I've been dreading it because I have to pick a new doctor. It is time though.

I'd like to second the importance of self-exams. It's how I found my tumor. I was only 34, but because I did self-exams every month it was found early and removed. And if you find a lump, don't delay in seeing your doctor.

If you're like me and have already had issues, you need yearly mammograms even if you're younger than 40.

10-01-2009, 02:43 PM
As the brother of a woman that had both her breasts removed yesterday for cancer :(...


My sister hadn't had a mammogram in years.....

10-01-2009, 08:17 PM
EZ, I'm sorry to hear about your sister. I hope everything works out well for her. I am just lucky that I wasn't in her situation.

Bargoo and Dixie, I know how stressful it was for me just thinking it was a possibility. Thank goodness you both detected it early.

Thank you all for sharing your experiences. I hope this thread inspires some women to do self-exams and schedule their mammograms!

10-01-2009, 09:14 PM
Gary - sending my best healing thoughts for you and your sister.


10-01-2009, 09:33 PM
Well wishes for your sister, Gary.

Get thy boobs checked, ladies! And if you don't have insurance, there are lots of programs that can help pay for breast exams and mammograms. A great resource is your local Planned Parenthood.

10-01-2009, 10:17 PM
I got my base-line mammo at 35, like recommended. I thought the next recommendation was yearly mammos at 40. I'm 41 now. My new doctor said that now the experts are saying that a yearly mammo starting at 45 if fine if you have no risk factors. Have any of you heard that waiting till 45 for yearly exams is fine?

10-02-2009, 08:10 AM
Here's what I found:

The American Cancer Society recommends mammogram screening every year for all women age 40 and older. The National Cancer Institute and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommend mammogram screening every 1-2 years for women age 40 and older.

From what I see doing some quick googles, there is some controversy over whether to recommend annual mammos for all women in their forties. Research shows that the mammograms reduce mortality for women in their forties, but at some "risk". But the main risks cited were unnecessary biopsies and anxiety from false positives.

So, I think the decision to get annual mammos for women in their early forties is viewed as a matter of personal choice.

I empathize with the anxiety from a false positive, but personally, I'd much rather go through that anxiety rather than discover a problem at a late stage. And personally, I am willing to have my insurance rate include the cost of unnecessary biopsies in order to decrease the mortality for women getting annual mammos in their forties.

10-02-2009, 09:42 AM
Heh, I was just coming with the link for the US Preventive Task Force recommendations:

There's a risk of false postivies, and the biopsies and anxiety that go along. Consider your personal risk: childbreaing & breastfeeding history, family history, etc. I won't be waiting until 45. Seen too much caught too late.

10-02-2009, 01:29 PM
Here's news for you I am in treatment for metastatic breast cancer (that means it has spread ) and I still get mammograms ,just had one last week , ordered by my oncologist. Ladies do your montlhly self exam and get your mammos !

10-02-2009, 03:52 PM
Gary I had no idea about your sister. I wish her all the best in her recovery.

10-02-2009, 04:41 PM
You know what? Thank you for this. I've been putting off my first ever mammo (my mother has stage 4 non-genetic breast cancer) but this pushed me to phone and get an appointment. Thank you.

10-02-2009, 07:38 PM
My mother was just diagnosed last week with Lobular and ductal breast cancer. She will be going in this month for a double mastectomy. We will find out then if it has spread.

I have had two surgeries to remove fibroadenomas at the age of 20 and 21, I know I should do monthly exams and now, having my mother diagnosed has re confirmed this to me.

Hey, you could also have your other half help you with the exam...suggested by my dr years ago, sometimes it is the partner who finds the lump :)

10-02-2009, 09:03 PM
I spent the day with my sister....she was in pretty good spirits considering...she was...

boobie less....

get your mammograms dear friends....I am not kidding...she showed me her chest...never would have done that before....


10-02-2009, 09:59 PM
Bargoo -- I am so sorry that yours has spread. My best wishes and prayers for your health.

And to Laura's Mom and Gary's sister as well.

CF thank you so much for letting us know that you are taking action.

I don't have a good excuse for not getting mine sooner. There is some small chance that my calcium deposits could signal a problem, and they want another mammo in 6 months. I plan on being prompt for that one!

10-03-2009, 05:44 PM
In case anyone is interested, I found out today that when I was at Curves that they are celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness month by waiving the service fee if you bring in a mammogram from the past year. I think the discount starts next week and runs through the end of October. If you haven't had a recent mammogram and can't schedule one before the end of the month, you can get the same discount by making a donation to the American Cancer Society.

They also sell a self exam aid for $5. It's really cool -- they have them on exhibit at a few Curves I been at. It's like a flat plastic balloon thet really magnifies the feeling of a lump under it (they demo it with grains of sand).