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JOCALAT's Photo JOCALAT Posts: 1,036
9/3/10 7:00 P

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Thank God you were persistent....

CD5263005 Posts: 376
9/2/10 10:56 P

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The thing I learned is you really have to be your own advocate for your own body. You know it better than anyone. I have very cystic breasts and would do regular breast exams and freak out everytime I thought I felt something only to figure out it wasn't but when I came across the actual cancer lump I knew something was wrong. I went in for a mammogram to prove maybe it wasn't anything. Because I was somewhat in denial I made the mistake of not saying I maybe felt something, but they didn't ask either. (I later did have a conversation with them about why they wouldn't have asked that question.) When the tests came back negative I was temporarily happy but knew something was wrong. I went to the doctor and she couldn't feel it, but I kept insisting and she finally did feel it and had me go in for an ultrasound test. Which turned into a biopsy at the same time and then my worst fears came true. I was under the misunderstanding that at 47 I didn't need to go in every year for a mammogram and hadn't been in for 3-4 years. Maybe they would have seen the gradual changes. I can't believe they didn't seen anything but a second mammogram showed the lump I felt and another smaller one. I also do recommend a second opinion. If I hadn't I would have had a lumpectomy and the second lump wouldn't have been found and removed at an earlier stage. The 2 lumps did result in having to have a mastectomy because of the distance they were apart. Too much tissue had to be removed. It certainly has been a learning experience. Too much information to absorb some days.

GATOR12's Photo GATOR12 Posts: 4,655
8/29/10 11:14 P

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I'm so proud of all of you, all are fighters and wouldn't just lay down and let this disease take you without giving it a fight. Go girls. We are strong!!!

Brenda


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GLOMER's Photo GLOMER Posts: 4,579
8/29/10 5:43 P

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Long time ago I felt a lump that one MD told me was nothing. I was very concerned so talked to someone else. I do have lots of "lumps" but mostly what I had were calcifications. Every year they would x-ray and then the last time I was told that I had an invasive ductile ca. The crystalization somehow changed.

Eastern Time Zone


I expect to pass through this life but once. If, therefore, there can be any kindness I can show, or any good thing that I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now as I shall not pass this way again.



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VIRTUE-TRIUMPS's Photo VIRTUE-TRIUMPS Posts: 200
8/28/10 2:11 P

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You are a real fighter Inga and we are the richer for it. I am so glad you are cancer free now. emoticon emoticon

JOCALAT's Photo JOCALAT Posts: 1,036
8/28/10 12:10 P

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God bless you Pink Soldier...you are a fighter!!

PEACEFUL-SPIRIT's Photo PEACEFUL-SPIRIT Posts: 16,618
8/28/10 9:11 A

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I had no lumps the first time, it was found on a mammogram at age 40, 2nd time the same. The third time I did find a lump under my arm. Thank God I am now cancer free!

Inga
Co-Leader of Breast Cancer Survivor's & Those Who Care. Days Go By...So Live Your Life.

Motivational Quote:
"You have within you a supply of energy limited only by your ability to discover and develop it. In body, mind and spirit, you are endowed with capabilities far greater than you know, keep reaching for your potential. "




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VIRTUE-TRIUMPS's Photo VIRTUE-TRIUMPS Posts: 200
8/27/10 1:15 P

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I found a lump very near my armpit during breast self examination so I went to my doctor. He had difficulty at first finding it but when he did he was concerned and sent me for an ultrasound. The doctor doing the ultrasound did an immediate biopsy.

LRUFAM's Photo LRUFAM Posts: 252
8/27/10 9:28 A

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Amen to that Sister!!

I am the same way. After this experience, anything that doesn't seem right I have checked out. Too many doctors have too many patients and the personal care seems a thing of the past.

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DEETHEDIETITIAN's Photo DEETHEDIETITIAN Posts: 356
8/27/10 8:57 A

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Mauriza,
Breast cancer runs in my family (though, my BRACA was negative). Nearly every woman in my family had breast cancer (mom, grandma, aunt) ~ so I was obsessive with my BSE -- I actually did them twice a month! No kidding. I never missed a mammo either.

On a couple of my mammo's they had me come in and have an ultra sound (always of the right breast) but it showed nothing. ((that was several years ago))

What was funny is that my HUSBAND FOUND MY LUMP (which wasn't really a lump but a thickened area the width and length of my index finger. He said "this doesn't feel right" ~ I checked and agreed.

I went to my primary care doctor (who is well aware of my family HX) and she said she couldn't feel anything out of the norm. I insisted and so she wrote my an RX for an ultrasound. The doctor that did the ultra sound said it was "normal fibrous tissue" ~ but to "watch it" (of course, CYA) ~ so I watched it and in about 10 months it developed into a lump right below the nipple. The lump was big enough to be seen through a t-shirt (when not wearing a bra). Of course, I went back to my primary care doctor and she took one look (didn't even need to palpate it) and sent me to a breast specialist.

I was just surprised that the primary care doctor (even being a woman) knew about my family history and was still non-chalant about my findings. I am also surprised that the Ultrasound doctor (also knowing my history) didn't suggest an MRI (which is ultimately how I was diagnosed prior to biopsy).

One lesson I have learned is that from now on -- it is I (not the doctors) who knows my body best -- it is I who knows what is "normal" for me and I will be much more assertive about my care.

Thank God that we caught the cancer at Stage I, grade 2 and it had not spread to the lymph nodes. I am very very lucky!

Thanks to all who shared!!
(((Hugs))) Dee

It is not enough to simply show up. You need to step up for results.... keep on stepping! Dee


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JODY22002's Photo JODY22002 Posts: 375
8/26/10 11:48 P

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I found mine during a self-exam and went to my Family Dr. He doesn't like having to deal with girl parts (my sister swears he closes his eyes during her pap smear). He sort of felt it but said he thought it was infection and gave me an antibiotic. I asked to be sent for mammo given my family history. When I got to the mammo appointment, he had sent the referral stating that the lump was in my armpit when it was actually near my nipple. Mammo found two lumps so they sent me for an ultrasound. One lump is benign. One is cancerous. My Family Doctor didn't even clue in when I told him that I know had a very visible vein on my breast.

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IWANNABEE's Photo IWANNABEE Posts: 642
8/26/10 10:39 P

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I found mine myself. I do try to do a monthly self exam. As I was scheduled for a routine mammo shortly and was dealing with my sisters upcoming wedding I did not go to my doc. Right after the mammo, the Doc. immediately called me, and I was sent for the more comprehensive mammo.,ultra-sound, chest x-ray and an appointment with the Onc. doc, and a surgeon, for their opinions. The surgeon did a lumpectomy, and when it was confirmed to be BC , all within less than a month he removed my lymph nodes and did a partial mast. in a second surgery.

I think a lot has to do with the individual doc. Mine is a treasure. I know that he would not have swept my concerns under the rug if I had gone to him first.

Hugs,
Jo emoticon

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GATOR12's Photo GATOR12 Posts: 4,655
8/26/10 5:25 P

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I did do mostly monthly breast exams and found the small lump myself. I had had fibrocystic disease for quite some time, as did my mom and had two benign tumors removed about 20 years before. It could not be seen on mammogram but was visible on ultrasound and needle biopsy of 5 small samples taken. I thought that would almost get all of tumor. But no. First I was told that it would be lumpectomy but oncologist said no, mastectomy because of aggressiveness of tumor. Anyway after surgery, bilateral because fibrocystic, chemo and radiation. I had 3 yrs tamoxifen, switched to Arimidex for past 4 years. One more to go.

Brenda


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MAURIZIA's Photo MAURIZIA Posts: 15,640
8/26/10 5:12 P

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I didn't mean to derail Dee's discussion...So you may want to go to the beginning of the thread for the true discussion here.

Mauri, EASTERN TIME ZONE, NEW ENGLAND

"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - St. Francis of Assisi

"Love yourself. You are the ultimate act of creation, fashioned by the hands of a Divine Artist." - fCheryl Richardson, rom GRACE CARDS (a 50 card deck)


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BJENKINS1014's Photo BJENKINS1014 SparkPoints: (0)
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8/26/10 4:23 P

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I did self-exams, but not on a regular basis. I had always had fibrocystic breasts, and then scar tissue from a biopsy. So I relied on my routine mammos to determine anything unusual.

I did get annual mammograms and my doctor did breast exams during my yearly checkups. And for a while pre-menopause, I had breast exams every 6 months.

Betty


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LRUFAM's Photo LRUFAM Posts: 252
8/26/10 3:28 P

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Maurizia

I was not a regular self-examiner. As a matter of fact, I'm not sure I ever checked myself until after I had my lumpectomy.

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MAURIZIA's Photo MAURIZIA Posts: 15,640
8/26/10 3:14 P

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Thanks, Joy, for the reply. There is so much controversy swirling around self-exams that both of my employers are jointly going to administer the survey.

Mauri, EASTERN TIME ZONE, NEW ENGLAND

"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - St. Francis of Assisi

"Love yourself. You are the ultimate act of creation, fashioned by the hands of a Divine Artist." - fCheryl Richardson, rom GRACE CARDS (a 50 card deck)


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JOYSGARDEN's Photo JOYSGARDEN SparkPoints: (0)
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8/26/10 3:11 P

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No Mauri, I did not do them monthly. I am big busted, and they are full of lumps and bumps, so I never knew what I was feeling. I depended on the Drs. physical exam, and on the mammogram. I tried to schedule them at 6 mo. intervals. The Dr. could not feel the lumps at the time it was discovered, so I know I wouldn't have been able too...


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MAURIZIA's Photo MAURIZIA Posts: 15,640
8/26/10 3:01 P

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Hi, everyone. Reading all of your posts, I am just curious. Though it appears your lumps were found on mammogram, MRI or clinical exam, did you all do monthly breast self-exams? We are preparing a survey to determine if women who do self-exams are more likely to get an annual mammogram. This thread made me curious about your practices. Thanks.

Mauri, EASTERN TIME ZONE, NEW ENGLAND

"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - St. Francis of Assisi

"Love yourself. You are the ultimate act of creation, fashioned by the hands of a Divine Artist." - fCheryl Richardson, rom GRACE CARDS (a 50 card deck)


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JOYSGARDEN's Photo JOYSGARDEN SparkPoints: (0)
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8/26/10 1:32 P

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Mine was found on a routine mammo. The Dr. immediately called me, and set up an appointment with a specialist, and a surgeon, for their opinions. The specialist confirmed the lump, the surgeon did a biopsy, and I was scheduled for surgery, all within less than a month.


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BJENKINS1014's Photo BJENKINS1014 SparkPoints: (0)
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8/26/10 1:11 P

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Mine was found after a routine mammogram. I was called back for another mammogram and possible ultrasound. The radiologist said the suspicious area had not changed in the past year and that is was probably scar tissue. He said I could just come back in another year.

However, since I had the ultrasound scheduled, we went ahead. The radiologist came back and said, "We're seeing something on the ultrasound, so I want you to come back for a biopsy." The biopsy was positive for breast cancer.

I was lucky that the cancer was small and slow growing, and while it was invasive, it was not in the lymph nodes. However, I'm glad I had the ultrasound, rather than waiting another year!

Edited by: BJENKINS1014 at: 8/26/2010 (13:12)
Betty


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PEPPERMINT125's Photo PEPPERMINT125 Posts: 2,547
8/26/10 12:59 P

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Mine could not be felt through routine breast exam. Neither the doctor nor I noticed anything. Routine mammogram found calcification. Biopsy found it to be malignant. Tumor did not show up on the mammogram but 2 cm tumor showed clearly on the breast MRI. My experience showed that mammograms can miss a lot since the tumor was not visible on either of the mammograms that I had (second was a follow-up after they saw calcification). Interesting discussion.

Patty
EST Grand Rapids Michigan (yes same time zone as Maine)

You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. C.S. Lewis

It is not enough to take steps which may some day lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal and a step likewise.
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RBP1952's Photo RBP1952 Posts: 933
8/26/10 12:14 P

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Not to be negative about "Primary Care Physicians", but I think they are too stretched with everyday, general care issues that they frequently overlook problems that are not in their realm of care, breast issue being one of them. It is not hard to believe that a doctor who treats everything from coughs, colds,and the the flu to broken bones and infections might not recognize a breast knot the size of a pea or pecan. Meredith - you said the magic word when you said "she" in referring to the physician who found the lump disturbing. Female doctors do seem to be more attuned with breast health.
On the same topic, I think it is vitally important that we as patients become our own best care giver. Doctors are not Gods who know everything and with the internet and other resources at hand, we can certainly study our own health issues to prompt discussions that let our physicians know we are aware of our conditions and will be included in medical treatment decisions. Especially those of us with breast cancer (or any other life threatening diseases) history.
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Edited by: RBP1952 at: 8/26/2010 (12:16)
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JOCALAT's Photo JOCALAT Posts: 1,036
8/26/10 11:28 A

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Dee: Mine was found on a regular mammo. It was a calcification that they weren't overly concerned with but because it wasn't on any previous mammo's they checked it further with a second mammo, ultrasound and needle biopsy in one day. I was very fortunate because my radiologist was overly cautious. My regular dr never exams my breasts as I go yearly for my gyn appt. Great question

SWARMSOFLIZARDS's Photo SWARMSOFLIZARDS Posts: 231
8/26/10 10:24 A

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Hi Dee,
Interesting question! My primary care doctor found my lump during a breast exam. I'd gone in for a physical and pre-conception visit (DH and I were planning to try to start having kids in a few months) when she found it. I had pretty large, dense breasts, so I'd thought it was just part of the usual behind-the-nipple density. She said it was probably a cyst, but since I wanted to start having kids soon and it was in a location that could interfere with breastfeeding, that I should get it checked out.

Even though cancer derailed the kids plan for another five years while I take Tamoxifen, I'm awfully glad I went in for that visit!

Meredith

Meredith

"Imagine that in front of you is a castle. That's where you want to be. But surrounding that castle is a moat, full of piranha. The only way to get into Sexy Abs Castle is to swim across the moat and let the little fish painfully chew off hunks of fat. The real situation is exactly like that, only the swim will take years."
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LRUFAM's Photo LRUFAM Posts: 252
8/26/10 9:42 A

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That is in interesting question. I didn't notice anything and went in for my routine mammo. The radiologist found a "spiculated lesion". I had another mammo, this time compressed and it was still evident.

My doctor, his intern and the surgeon (on my initial consultation) had to read the radiologist notes to feel the tumor.

The surgeon even commented to me that this particular radiologist is sometimes overly cautious.

To this day, I am grateful he ws overly cautious. It turned out the lesion was malignant and I had 3 positive lymph nodes.

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DEETHEDIETITIAN's Photo DEETHEDIETITIAN Posts: 356
8/26/10 9:31 A

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Hi there Everyone,

I am beginning to get curious about something (imagine that!) :::grins::::

Very often, when I speak with women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and they share their story... it seems like many of them say that they found "something" they were concerned with and when they went to their primary care physician... they were told it was "normal thickening of the breast" or that it was "nothing to be concerned with" or sometimes the doctor would feel the breast of concern and say they couldn't feel anything.

These women (myself included) would just go with what the doctor said -- well -- because they are the doctor and have training etc. Then ... some time down the road -- it turned out to be SOMETHING.

What was your experience... how did you find your lump/thickening and how did your primary care doctor handle it?

I'm not asking in order to ridicule the doctors -- that wouldn't be very fruitful. This may be an area where the primary care physicians need to have a little more education/awareness of breast cancer AND this may be an opportunity for better educating the public about learning to trust that they know their bodies and to go with instinct.

This is just the public health researcher coming out in me!! :0) All good research starts with a good question!

Thanks for sharing!
Dee

It is not enough to simply show up. You need to step up for results.... keep on stepping! Dee


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