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NYT article about breast cancer "overawareness"


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My mom had yearly mammograms and one year found a lump before her scheduled test. She went to have it checked out, but no one ever got back to her so she assumed it was nothing to be concerned about. By the time the doctors called her back, some months later, the cancer had metastasized throughout her body. She died a few years later. If you are ever unsure about test results, call your doctor. Maybe it wouldn't have made a difference for my mother, but I'll always wonder.

The mammograms aren't perfect, but I still have mine every year. I do what I can. Maybe technology in the future can be more accurate with early detection.

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Unfortunately, part of what the article was saying was that the cancer may have metastasized before the mammogram found a lump. And that possibly, it didn't even originate in the breast. Like the author of the article, no one likes the idea of not getting tested, but the real question is whether we're testing the right thing.

My mother died of metastatic cancer, too. It's unclear whether it started elsewhere or not, but she had a double radical mastectomy a couple of years before she passed. She refused the full radiation treatment they offered, because she was in her eighties and in the early stages of dementia. The additional life expectancy was only a couple of years, and didn't seem worth the torture of the treatment. She ended up living the extra couple of years anyway, though she was failing from the dementia as well, at the end.

My brother's wife had an elective double mastectomy in her thirties, because she carries a genetic marker with a very high risk associated with it. She's a nurse, and a number of the women in her family have had early breast cancer, so she's very knowledgeable. Still, it seemed like a big step to take, to me. On the other hand, she's still with us ...

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Wow. What a decision to make. I'm glad she is okay.

My mom died when she was 58 after a five (?) year battle. She had a mastectomy, her lymph nodes removed, radiation, chemotherapy...

I can't see any positive reason for not getting tested, especially when my risk is higher due to my genetics. I will continue to have my mammograms. I figure testing something has to be better than doing nothing. At least it helps me feel as if I'm trying. I want to be around for a very long time.

Of course whether to test or not would always be the individual's choice.

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