- Never ignore a lump. When you feel a lump and mammogram and ultrasound (also known as a sonogram) are negative, there is still a 2-3 % chance that the lump is cancer. Have your doctor refer you to a breast surgeon. They might want to perform a needle biopsy in the office based on what they feel, or they may advise surgical removal of the lump in the operating room. If the doctor doesn’t test the lump, and you still feel it, seek a second opinion from another surgeon. You know your body better than anyone.
Looking at her today, you’d never guess that my mom friend Lori Kennedy had been through the gauntlet of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment at the age of 29. A mutual friend introduced us several years ago, and after Lori learned that my field is breast imaging, she mentioned that she’d had breast cancer years before. I was intrigued by her story, and thought it would be helpful to share in “The Breast Diaries.”
The Shock of Diagnosis
In April of 1992 Lori was 29 years old, living the single life in Hoboken and working successfully in sales. She had been…Read More
For most women, age 40 should be when you start having yearly mammograms in order to minimize your likelihood of developing advanced breast cancer (“Government Mammography Task Force vs. You”). Some doctors send their patients for a baseline mammogram at age 35, and I wouldn’t argue with that.
If you have a strong family history of breast cancer (mother or sister), start having your mammogram 10 years younger than the age that relative was diagnosed, OR at age 40, whichever is younger. For example, if your sister had …Read More
As follow-up to my last post regarding breast self-examination, I offer a real case example:
A 39-year-old mom with no family history of breast cancer felt a lump in her right breast when she was doing a self-examination. Her mammogram pictures show dense breast tissue. A triangular-shaped sticker (you can see the triangle on the RMLO and RCC films) has been put on the lump. At that site on the mammogram, there is an irregular mass best seen on the magnified view RMML (yellow arrow) that demonstrates “spiculated margins”- a radiology term for badness. …Read More
Breast self-examination (BSE) is one of our key weapons in the arsenal to detect breast cancer as early as possible. It only takes a few minutes a month, yet a woman can potentially save her own life by taking the time to do it. For reasons that have nothing to do with science or common sense, the government panel known as the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which did not include even one doctor specializing in breast cancer as a panelist, recommends AGAINST women doing self-examinations. See my take on this HERE.
BSE is especially important …Read More