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Anyone else have issues with mammograms? Anyone else have issues with mammograms?

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Unread 09-17-2002, 07:16 AM
Anyone else have issues with mammograms?

This may not be an appropriate place to post this, but I don't know where else to go for a sympathetic ear and the good advice I always get here. Saw my dr yesterday. I'm in the no-hormone desert and she said she can't do anything further for me, other than waiting it out & trying natural remedies. Which was despressing enough. But then both she & the nurse started ragging me about getting a mammogram! Last one 18 mo ago.

Well, I hate those things!! Especially after going through 4 surgeries in 10 months, and enduring countless annoying checkups, I just can't bear the thought of another body part being manipulated. I've yet to find a technician who can do one without causing extreme pain (I'm a 38C). I just find the whole process so disturbing and demeaning. I feel like if it's not broke, don't fix it, or go looking for trouble. I do monthly self-exams.

I've been a good sport about the hyst, and but I just can't get around this. I've heard stories about false positives. An acquaintance got reg mamo's and they still missed her cancer! I just don't see the value. I'm not sure I'd be willing to do whatever treatment if they did find anything, anyway.

In most of life I'm pretty realistic & mature. I know this may be trivial compared to some of the issues discussed her. I'm so sick of doctors. Can a dr "fire" you as a patient over something like this? Any helpful suggestions are appreciated.

Arms crossed over my chest,
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Unread 09-17-2002, 08:10 AM
Anyone else have issues with mammograms?

Hi there! My GYN doesn't ask me to have mammograms that often. In fact, the last one I had was in 1998 and I am scheduled for another one this Friday. Of course, I have no family history, so that may have something to do with it.

I hate more testing, but I guess compared to what else I've endured, this is minor. Granted, in my case at least, they have trouble finding something to test rather than having too much! I will take some type of pain reliever before I go just to ward off the inevitable soreness that comes from all the testing, but I'm willing to go. However, if I had just had one 18 months ago AND had no family history, I might not be as willing. I have also heard many stories of false positives and other times where something was there and it was completely missed. My hospital has the latest equipment and my last experience was fine - not fun, but not painful. That would also make a huge difference for me. I still wonder why women got so much stuff dumped on them. It is a never-ending struggle.


Unread 09-17-2002, 08:27 AM
Anyone else have issues with mammograms?

The American Cancer Society recommends having a baseline mammogram between ages 35 and 40, and then every year after age 40. Your risk of breast cancer increases as you age, so a yearly mammogram is especially important if you are over age 40. Annual mammograms are important, whether or not there is breast cancer in your family.

While mammograms can be uncomfortable, the pain involved is slight compared to the pain of breast cancer. I'd rather have this test annually than have to go through cancer or the pain from the surgery that might follow such a diagnosis.
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Unread 09-17-2002, 08:37 AM
Anyone else have issues with mammograms?

I've only had one mammogram, at this point, and it was in 1997. It was quite uncomfortable, though not painful, because I was still nursing my then 13 month old daughter. My doctor hasn't insisted on one since.

I know that a mammogram saved my MIL's life: she'd had a lump for several years and ignored it. Then got an invite for a routine mammogram and dh insisted that she go. She went, then was immediately called back to have a biopsy and a sonogram. A week later she had a mastectomy to remove a very aggressive cancer. Thankfully, the pocket hadn't broken and the cancer cells hadn't escaped. 1 round of chemo was still recommended, she fared very well while on it, and, since then, she's been ok.

I also know of false positive results. Mostly because the women have "lumpy" breasts to start with. However, what I've seen in such cases, is that they do additional tests to make sure of what it is they saw. Like the biopsies and the sonograms. And I guess it's always possible to miss a tumor... depending on the size and where it is. However, the way I see it, it's probably safer to have the mammogram than it is not to.

I guess a doctor can't fire you as a patient because you're refusing treatment. However, they might be sore and keep ragging at you.

I'm thinking that, maybe, deep down, you know what the answer is. Just follow your on this.
Unread 09-17-2002, 08:58 AM
Anyone else have issues with mammograms?

Sometimes doctors do "fire" patients, although this has to be done carefully so they can avoid being charged with patient abandonment.

Normally, when a patient refuses to have a test or treatment, it would be documented in their file; sometimes a doctor will send a registered letter to the patient advising them. These actions are meant to preclude the patient from later claiming malpractice.

Breast self examination is not that useful. By the time you find a lump, the cancer is usually well advanced. Remember that mammography is a SCREENING tool, not a definite diagnosis. Sometimes cancers are missed; sometimes benign conditions are subjected to further tests. But I'm aware of several women who were diagnosed very early through mammography and thus were spared disfiguring surgery and high chemo doses, as well as extending their lives for perhaps decades.
Unread 09-17-2002, 10:21 AM
Thanks...I think

I appreciate the time everyone took to respond, even though it's not what I want to hear. That was good information about doctors, Wachusett. I doubt that I'll let things get to that point. I don't know why this is such a hot button with me, but it is.

I'm well aware of the Amer Cancer Society harangue about mammo's, even despite recent studies questioning their effectiveness.

Maybe if I have a couple Margaritas beforehand & just get it done, they'll leave me alone for a while. Until next year!

Sorry this is so negative. It's been a long, depressing road of medical & hormonal stuff. I guess I'm angry about yet another procedure that I can't see any clear benefit to.
Unread 09-17-2002, 01:20 PM
Anyone else have issues with mammograms?

(((Pat)))) as one who absolutely hates even going to the doctor, let alone having tests, I understand your reluctance. However, in the end, you need to take care of you and to be sure that all is ok.

Send a few hysteritas my way.
Unread 09-17-2002, 01:37 PM
Anyone else have issues with mammograms?

Please don't put off the mammogram. I do know you must be so tired of doctors and tests, but they are necessary. I do know how you feel, I think I should have my very own parking spot in the Med Center.

Unread 09-18-2002, 10:28 AM
Okay, okay, so I made the appointment

I am just dreading this. It's not until Nov. 25 because I also have to have a pap that day. Trying to cut down on those trips to the med center. The stitiches are barely out and they think of more things to do to us. Maybe by then my hormone-sensitive boobs will calm down. And the other hormones?? I notice I'm a little edgy these days, imagine that?

I'm also doing physical therapy (painful) for a knee injury right now. If that doesn't work, my ortho doctor would just love to get in there with a scope. Not gonna happen--no more surgery!

Thanks again to you all for the kind & caring support. My best wishes to all of us on the road, in the jungle, & the desert.

Back to hiding under the covers,
Unread 09-18-2002, 10:54 AM

Sort of understand where Pat is coming from. 4 months after my surgery, I had a mammogram. Hadn't had one since I was 43. The same day got a call from my Dr. Had to have an ultra-sound. Long story short, it was a fibroadnoma (actually two close together, tiny size of peas). I did research, they are 99.9% benign. However, I ended up with a surgeon, in a breast care center, with alot of info around on breast cancer, and opted for the biopsy. Couldn't just have the puncture kind, my HMO didn't approve of the modern center they used. Had to go to hospital, as out-patient, and have the old fashioned kind (operating room). This was 6 months after my surgery (they kind of dawdled for two months on this, good thing it wasn't cancer- but I think they pretty much knew it wasn't by the ultra-sound). I think there are many false positives. I know of women who stopped HRT simply because of the breast biopsy merry-go-round. They need to make available better equipment, more sensitive. They are working on it, but slowly. And alot of areas will not get them. And alot of women cannot afford them. Another quandry-you don't have insurance, so should you have mammograms? What if you "need" a biopsy? The price tag on mine was over $4,000. Fortunately, at that time, I had insurance.

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