Saving the “Tatas” – Breast exam: from skeptic to true believer
About seventeen years ago, 8 months after the birth of my first child, I felt a lump in my right breast (Self Breast Exam). I had no idea what that was about and my first thought was: “This is bad…”
You can imagine that that I immediately made an appointment with my doctor, had a biopsy scheduled and done, and although benign had this lump removed right away. I was told I had fibrous/dense breasts and that there might be more instances of lump-finding from here on out. I was in my early 20’s.
Fast-forward to three years ago. I had been getting checked yearly since that incident, but they found a “lump” again on that right breast. This one took me by surprise as I had not felt it. Both the doctors and I were concerned. To make sure, they took 13 impressions of that right breast and 6 of the other. Did I mention how painful this process was!!! Immediately, I was sent to have an ultrasound (MUCH better than a biopsy).
Long story short, this one too was benign. Wheew! I was out of the danger zone, but into the MONITORING zone. Every six months, I had to schedule a mammogram to keep an eye on this crazy lump and I was worried about it growing, that radiation would have an adverse effect on me, or that eventually I would have ping-pong paddles for breasts!
No joke, people, this was serious. I share this with you because at first, I thought it was just ludicrous to have so much follow up on something that was not growing. Then I started doing a bit of research to find that those breast diseases are little stinkers who creep up into your life to cause MAJOR damage all the way to loss of life…
You have your breasts yearlong, right? Some of us have been viciously attacked by breast diseases and are fighting to keep healthy. Some of us have lost that part of our bodies. Some of us have lost their bodies altogether as they were fighting to rid themselves of diseases started in the breasts…
I want to share with you some of the information I had gotten here, and it helped me have an effective conversation with my doctor as I knew which questions to ask and could better understand her answers. Knowing some risk factors helped! She sent me to a Breast Specialist each time to make sure that I was not in danger. Yes, at first, I thought this was just overkill, but as I schooled myself on the subject, I found it was decent prevention from any issues that might arise.
I leave you with some definitions and processes from the National Cancer Institute:
“A mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast. Screening mammograms are used to check for breast cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease. Diagnostic mammograms are used to check for breast cancer after a lump or other sign or symptom of the disease has been found.
Screening mammography can help reduce the number of deaths from breast cancer among women ages 40 to 74.
Potential limitations of screening mammography include false-positive results, overdiagnosis and overtreatment, false-negative results, and radiation exposure.” – National Cancer Institute
So ladies, take care of the “Tatas” and have Faith through the process!