MBCN’s Ginny had 17 years of regular mammograms following her DCIS diagnosis. She writes: ” My education in breast cancer began the day I was diagnosed with mets and I learned that mammograms are a good tool, but less effective when the woman is young and premenopausal; less effective for women with denser breast tissue; less effective at identifying aggressive cancers; susceptible to many false positives…and unable to predict whether the cancers that are identified will go on to be deadly or will proceed in an indolent and unthreatening growth cycle, better left alone.”
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I have a confession to make. Before I was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, I would hear that someone in my community had died from breast cancer and I would think: “It’s too bad they didn’t get annual mammograms. It’s too bad they ignored early detection practices. It’s too bad they died, but it’s really their own fault.”
I was diagnosed in 1992 with early stage cancer–stage 0 or DCIS–the earliest you can have. I had a simple mastectomy, which was considered a 100% cure, and breast reconstruction. I continued on with my life, without worrying too much about breast cancer. I never embraced the pink survivor label because I never felt I had gone through that much–no chemo, no radiation, just some disfiguring surgery followed by a saline implant, which was supposed to simulate a real breast.
I continued for 17 years with annual mammograms, 17 years of breast…
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