Patient Comments: Breast Cancer - How Was It Detected

How was your breast cancer detected?

A Doctor's View on Breast Cancer Detection

Read the Comment by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

Breast cancer detection can be achieved by a variety of methods. Screening for breast cancer can be detected at earlier stages with mammography (mammograms). Other methods of breast cancer detection include ultrasound with mammography, MRI, breast cancer biopsy, and fine needle aspiration of the suspicious breast tissue. Read the entire Doctor's View

Comment from: slmhobblet, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: August 04

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.

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Comment from: Sooviver, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 12

I went for my annual mammogram (about six months later then I should have) and they sent me a notice that I needed to have more films taken. I went back and they took the necessary films. Then they wanted to have a needle biopsy. I was positive for invasive ductal cancer, stage 2. That was in September and now it is January. Since September, I've had two surgeries, and I am now starting radiation. Plus, I'm taking Arinidex. This has all happened so fast, yet so slow. All I can say is, please get an annual mammogram.

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Comment from: JudyV, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: January 12

I was diagnosed at age 44 with invasive and in-situ stage 2 lobular carcinoma. I found the lump 15 months before the diagnosis, but since it didn't show up on a mammogram, I was told not to worry about it. So much for not worrying. I was cancer-free until 2008 when I was diagnosed with high grade papillary bladder cancer (doctor says he considers it T1A), so I will be under immunotherapy for two more years if things go OK.

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Comment from: fissy, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: January 12

When I was 37 in 1994, I felt a lump in my right breast. I immediately phoned my doctor who scheduled a mammogram. The mammogram showed a small underlying cyst, and the recommendation was to return ay age 40. I insisted on a biopsy, which proved that I did have breast cancer. After the lumpectomy, I was at a stage 1. Upon returning four days later for a check-up, I was then told it was a stage 3 and that I needed a masectomy immediately, followed by chemotherapy, radiation and Tamoxifen. I also had lymph node involvement. Needless to say, I do no rely on mammograms alone.

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Comment from: Sharon, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 12

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.

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