Breast Cancer Information

It was always there but, of course, it’s not at the forefront of your mind. My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. A shocker? Well yes and no. We knew it was a risk. In fact a high risk. Why? Because her mother had it. And here’s the real irony: my wife is sixty and her mother lost her left breast through a mastectomy at sixty. My wife was also affected in the left breast.

Well, a whole lot has changed since her mother was diagnosed twenty-seven years ago. At that time she was doing the proper thing and getting an annual mammogram. When the problem area was spotted she was given a list of surgeons and told to pick one and schedule an appointment as soon as possible. She was then scheduled for a biopsy. Well, she came out of surgery without her breast. It was very cut and dried. She, of course was shocked. The good news is that she did live another twenty years after that and never had any more bouts with cancer.

Today things are done much different. Yes, my wife was also getting an annual mammogram and that’s how it showed up. It was caught very early. I’m telling you they had it measured in the millimeter range. These machines are amazing. We had a long session with the gynecologist. He laid out everything that he could with the risks. Then he gave us a recommendation for a surgeon based on personality and skill. His office took care of making the appointment.

Before we got there we had some concerns of course. The surgeon had a Chinese name so we were afraid that he might have a heavy accent. That turned out to not the case at all. He was a very likable guy and immediately put us at ease. He as very specific about what he was proposing. What he intended was a lumpectomy. That amounts to removing only the problem area and leaving the breast intact.

He also wanted to assure us that, in the event he were to get in there and find that it was much worse than we had anticipated he would close-up and we would again meet to talk about what should be done and reschedule the surgery. If that meant a mastectomy then a plastic surgeon would be brought in and a reconstruction would be done immediately.

There is a second part of the surgery. They have to deal with the lymph nodes. He had to remove what he called the sentinel node, if I recall correctly. This was removed and sent off to be tested before she was done. As I understand it, this told them if it had spread throughout her body. Well, again we were lucky. Based on the lab tests on that lymph node the cancer had been caught and removed.

So the surgery went extremely well. She got the lumpectomy as planed. And, as with most procedures now, it was done on an outpatient basis. She went home that day feeling pretty good considering. She didn’t even use the pain meds they gave her.

That wasn’t the end of it, however. We were told that in order to bring your odds of survival up to those of a mastectomy you need to follow-up with a radiation series. This is done five days a week for six weeks and only takes a few minutes per session.

Read more causes for breast cancer family history and causes of lung cancer other than smoking on my blog thanks.

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