Yeah. Heard it on NPR this morning and thought of you. Sigh.
Yup. And that's why I "rebel" and go every few years instead of every year. I remember one year when I got the diagnosis of "microcalcifications" and then when I freaked and called my doctor and she said, "Well, you can get a biopsy, if you want...." I was so angry. Why did she dump it on me? My nurse sister-in-law said that the doctor said it to cover her ass. Well, no biopsy for me. This is definitely a very gray topic. To get a diagnosis and then wonder if it's slow growing or not is playing roulette, isn't it?(Thanks, Steve, for posting that in the comments yesterday.)
What this study doesn't point out is that if a breast cancer is caught before it has invaded the lymphnodes chemotherapy is often unnessary. And this article makes it sound like the chemotherapy used to treat breast cancer is like taking a daily aspirin. Adriamyacin is called the red devil for a reason. It's not only that it causes hair loss and nausea. It comes with a whole slew of immediate and late side effects including making you more suseptible to other cancers and cardiomyopathy that can happen years after treatment. Cytoxan is mustard gas. It is usually given with Adriamyacin. The third punch in the chemotherapy cottail is Taxol. It causes many unpleasant things including nerve damage that may never go away. Tomoxifin, the wonder drug that the touted as almost a cure, is only effective in breast cancers that are fuled by estrogen and/or progesterone. It has no effect on breast cancers that are her2/nue positive or the cancers most often seen in young women called triple negative. It works by blocking estrogen and progesterone from being active in your body. It causes such bad menopausal symptoms that many women quit taking it because they can't handle the side effects. Tykerb and Herceptin can be effective in the 25% of women who are her2/neu positive, but quits being effective after a period of time. It can also cause heart damage. Chemotherapy at best is like trying to kill a fly on your table with a sledge hammer. You might kill the fly, but you will break your table. If you find the cancer before chemotherapy and mastectomy is necessary, you avoid the damage caused by chemotherapy, and you may be able to save your breast. You can rebuild what looks like a breast, but it isn't a breast and the scars do not hide.One more thing. The article would leave you believing that all breast cancers are slow growing. That isn't true. I had a mammogram 18 months before I was diagnosed with breast cancer. There was no evidence that there was any cancer in my breast. When I was diagnosed I had six large masses in my breast. Most of them over 5 cm. I also had 4 lymphnodes that were grossly positive for breast cancer. One of the masses on my lymphnode was 3 cm. Some breast cancers are highly aggressive. And the only symptom that I had was fatigue which I could write off to depression and stress. It isn't perfect by any means, but it is the most effective test available to find breast cancer before it spreads to other parts of your body.We are only sassy when we don pink tee shirts and tiaras and take to the streets to raise awareness and money for research. The rest of breast cancer sucks. The treatments are hell. After treatment you have a whole litany of after effects to be anxious about and you can NEVER SAY CURED. If you get breast cancer it is infinitely better to find it early.
I saw this, too, and I rolled my eyes. The way these things affect me is that I want to retreat to a cave -- how are we supposed to believe anything or anyone? I always say that equal to the stress of Sophie's diagnosis of infantile spasms/epilepsy is the stress of learning that doctors are not infallible and Science is a constant and shifting thing.
For years we have been inundated with how important it is to wear sunscreen. Now we are told that some of the ingredients in sunscreen are carcinogenic. I don't know what is right anymore.
I heard on a biotech show last week that non-compressive imaging is in the works; lower radiation would be a good thing as well.
I thought of you too when I saw this this morning. I hate reading cancer stories because, well, it makes me think I have cancer. I don't want to know or think I have cancer. I just want to live as long as my body will let me. I try my best to take care of it and still enjoy myself because that is what I think living is.
I saw this on CBS This Morning and they interviewed a doctor who is the chief of breast surgery at Mt. Sinai Hospital in NY and she said the study was flawed. Here is a link to the interview: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/canadian-study-shows-annual-mammograms-dont-reduce-breast-cancer-death-rate/
I heard about this on the radio coming home. I had heard similar before. It has been many years since my last mammogram. At least five probably more, I lose track. My breasts are very small, so small that it was an embarrassment for both me and the technician to get enough boob on the plate to smush. No thanks. Don't need the radiation or the humiliation. I figure if I get a lump, I'll have no trouble noticing. On the upside, I'll never have to worry about drooping.
I do suspect that a large part of what motivates doctors is covering-their-collective-ass. And screenings like these do exactly that. They protect doctors from missing stuff. What they may NOT do, apparently, is make a huge difference in long-term outcome. (I haven't seen the CBS report referenced above re. flaws in the study. I'll have to check that out.)I get various medical screenings every now and then, but I don't do it as often as "they" tell me to. I may regret it, someday, but I think a "middle path" is best in this regard, as in most things. Be vigilant, but not overly vigilant. You know?
I'm glad that my mother and my wife had mammography. It caught the cancer before it had spread to the lymph nodes. I do think that this is the best tool currently available for early detection of breast cancer.
Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.