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can I panic now? can I panic now?

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Unread 04-27-2006, 08:57 PM
can I panic now?

so I'm a Jewish woman of Ashkenazi background, living on Long Island, and my paternal grandmother and my aunt (my father's sister) each died of breast cancer.

then last year I was diagnosed with uterine cancer. I had a hysterectomy, radiation and surgery. and one of my new team of docotrs realized I hadn't had a mammogram since the first time I had a mammogram in 1995, when I was 35 years old, and it was normal.

so in october I went for a mammo. they wanted to compare it to the one I had in 1995, but those films don't exist anymore.

there was some miscommunication, so it wasn't until last week that they asked me to come in for a secnd mammo. and they scheduled it for today...the speed of it freaked me out.

so I went today, and they took some films...saw some "dark areas" on each breast, took some more films..and asked me to come in for an ultrasound in June.

so now I'm really freaking out.
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Unread 04-28-2006, 12:33 AM
can I panic now?

Aw ((((broadwayfan)))) Hopefully they'll find that the dense regions are just fibroadenomas or fibrocystic areas.

Here's an explanation of what shows up on mammograms as white or black areas:

On mammogram films, breast masses, including both non-cancerous and cancerous lesions, appear as white regions. Fat appears as black regions on the films. All other components of the breast (glands, connective tissue, tumors, calcium deposits, etc.) appear as shades of white on a mammogram. In general, the younger the woman, the denser her breasts. As a woman ages, her breasts become less dense and the space is filled with fatty tissue shown as dark areas on mammography x-rays. It is usually easier for radiologists to detect breast cancer in older women because abnormal areas are easier to spot.

Here's a good explanation of what ultrasound is useful for in diagnosing conditions of the breasts:

I wonder if they are doing an ultrasound to determine whether or not the areas are fluid-filled cysts?

I know it's really really hard, but do try not to panic. There are a lot of components that go into figuring breast cancer risk. Here's a link that does a good job of demystifying the genetic component, which is just part of it:

There is a slight increased risk to those with an Ashkenazi background, because they have a higher likelihood of having the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene but actually, most women diagnosed with breast cancer don't have any family history at all -- I didn't.

It's a good sign that they want you to have the ultrasound in June. When my mammogram came back suspicious, I was having a biopsy within a week or two, and then surgery in short order after that. The fact that they're having you wait until June bodes well.

Sending you lots of s and positive thoughts.


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