The Fear In My Familys Eyes Drove Me To Survive
I was 37 years old when I found a lump in my breast. It was a week filled with immense fear and challenges. When the doctor confirmed that I did, in fact, have breast cancer, I instantly went into survival mode. I was a mother, a wife, and a business owner. I couldnt let cancer take any of those things away from me. When I told my family, the fear in their eyes showed me that I had to fight to survive. I had eight surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation and was deemed cancer-free. It was not easyand I worked throughout the entire processbut I never gave up and I always tried to stay positive through it all. I live in pain every day from all the surgeries and lymphedema, but Im happy Im alive. Dealing with the pain is a small price to pay to have my family. Today Im three years cancer-free and extremely blessed. Laurie Pezzano
‘my Dog Found My Cancer’
I had just been to the ob-gyn for my annual check-up and breast exam, and got the ‘all okay.’ Soon after, my little dog Zoe climbed up on me and started pawing at a specific part of my breast. Little alarms went off in my head, telling me to pay attention. It was like a slow-motion movie. I pushed her off and thats when I found a little round BB-sized lump. After a mammogram that didnt show anything, and a sonogram that found the lump, I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. Its so important to listen to the messages our bodies are telling us.
Christine Egan, author of The Healthy Girls Guide to Breast Cancer, Bayport, New York
Being Away From My Daughter Was Hard
I didn’t tell many people at first; just some family and a few friends. Everyone was in total shock. I had no;family history of;breast;cancer, and never worried about any cancer up until this point.;;
I eventually found out my specific breast cancer was;invasive ductal;carcinoma;and;that it had;spread to;four lymph nodes.;;
I had scans to check it hadnt spread, then a lumpectomy with partial reconstruction and full lymph node clearance.;
The hardest part of surgery was being away from my daughter. She was too young to know what was going on, she just knew I had a poorly boob.;
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My Oncologist Snapped Me Back Into Survival Mode
I went for a routine yearly mammogram and the film was picture, textbook, perfect breast cancerno doubt, no need for a second opinion. It was touch and go with my chemo treatments if I was to survive, or willing to continue with treatments. After four chemo infusions I was so ill I wanted to stop, but my oncologist talked me down and after I completed the sixth and final chemo appointment, I knew I was a survivor. The following seven weeks of radiation were a cakewalk in comparison! I advocate for yearly mammograms for a positive outcome like mine! Haralee Weintraub
Just Found Out I Have Breast Cancer
well today has been a shock to the system to say the least. Been having breast ache for a number of weeks so went to doctors who said she couldnt feel anything and not to worry yet due to being breast they have to refer. So today I went with my mum thinking worse case scenario its a cyst to be then scanned and had a mammogram then a biopsy in 5 areas and then went into Dr rooms and straight away knew wasnt good as saw the McMillan nurse. I was told that I have a number of;abnormal growths and 90% sure its cancer.. both mum and I broke down in tears but they couldnt give me any more info until next Friday when the biopsy results come in. I am so scared and dont know what to expect. Im a single mum to a 5 year old and heads a shed! Any help or advice would be appreciated :-);
I was diagnosed with breast cancer a week ago. Im 35 mum of two beautiful children who are my world. I took my mum along too even though I also thought it would just be a cyst. I just broke down hearing the news. Im;absolutely devastated and cant handle this at all. My children need me and I cant bear the thought of not watching them grow up. My son is 10 and the sweetest boy, he was distraught when I told him and he said if I;die hed kill himself. My heart is broken.
Ive been told that chemo starts on Wednesday, Im petrified of whats coming. I dont know who to talk to or how to function normally with this going on. I cant think about anything else.
lots of love;
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What Will Happen After Treatment
Youll be glad when treatment is over. For years after treatment ends, you will see your cancer doctor. Be sure to go to all of these follow-up visits. You will have exams, blood tests, and maybe other tests to see if the cancer has come back.
At first, your visits may be every few months. Then, the longer youre cancer-free, the less often the visits are needed.
If you still have a breast , youll need to get a mammogram every year. Depending on your treatment, you might need other tests as well, such as yearly pelvic exams or bone density tests.
Having cancer and dealing with treatment can be hard, but it can also be a time to look at your life in new ways. You might be thinking about how to improve your health. Call us at 1-800-227-2345 or talk to your cancer care team to find out what you can do to feel better.
You cant change the fact that you have cancer. What you can change is how you live the rest of your life making healthy choices and feeling as well as you can.
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I was never one to do regular breast self-exams. I was in my thirties and didnt even think breast cancer was a possibility. But then one day my best friend found a lump in her breast and started freaking out about it. It was enough to make me finally check my own and, surprisingly, I too found a lump. Hers turned out to be nothing major but mine was breast cancer. I went through treatment, doing eight rounds of chemo and 33 rounds of radiation.
“Unfortunately, my breast cancer returned last year, in the same breast. So I decided to have a double mastectomy. Im doing well now but Ive learned just how important breast self-exams can bemine saved my life! I was blessed to catch things early. Breast cancer does not have to be a death sentence.Rose Judkins, 39, Minneapolis, MN
When I was 42 years old, I made an appointment at the famous Mayo Clinic to get checked for a neurological problem. While they were evaluating me for that, the doctor just happened to notice a suspicious-looking spot on my hip and recommended I get it checked out. I was extremely shocked to find out it was melanoma, the deadly form of skin cancer. I had two surgeriesone that removed the obvious culprit off my hip, and a second one that went deeper. It took about six weeks to really recover.
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How Does The Doctor Know I Have Breast Cancer
A change seen on your mammogram may be the first sign of breast cancer. Or you may have found a lump or other change in your breast.
The doctor will ask you questions about your health and will do a physical exam. A breast exam is done to look for changes in the nipples or the skin of your breasts. The doctor will also check the lymph nodes under your arm and above your collarbone. Swollen or hard lymph nodes might mean breast cancer has spread there.
Mammogram: This is an x-ray of the breast. Mammograms are mostly used to find breast cancer early. But another mammogram might be done to look more closely at the breast problem you might have.
MRI scan: MRIs use radio waves and strong magnets instead of x-rays to make detailed pictures. MRIs can be used to learn more about the size of the cancer and look for other tumors in the breast.
Breast ultrasound: For this test, a small wand is moved around on your skin. It gives off sound waves and picks up the echoes as they bounce off tissues. The echoes are made into a picture that you can see on a computer screen. Ultrasound can help the doctor see if a lump is a fluid-filled cyst , or if it’s a tumor that could be cancer.
Nipple discharge exam: If you have fluid coming from your nipple, some of it may be sent to a lab. There, it will be checked to see if there are cancer cells in it.
I Decided Cancer Wouldnt Take Over My Life
My story is not as simple as I had hoped it would be six years ago. Although I am grateful for having the past six years to watch my son, there is still an ominous presence that constantly hovers next to mea never-ending diagnosis of metastatic cancer. At 34, I was diagnosed with stage 3 intraductal carcinoma. After receiving treatment, my cancer returned twicemeaning metastatic or stage 4. No matter the treatment, there was no end in sight. Im a thriver, not a survivor. However, I decided cancer wouldnt take over my life. I wouldnt wait for the right time to take vacations. I started a company, Hulabelle, that help survivors find swimwear for their new body. I enjoy being a mom again. Cancer will always be a part of my life, but not my whole life. I am alive. I am here. Enjoy it, love it, and LIVE it. Dana Dinerman
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Testing For Proteins And Genes
The breast cancer cells will be tested for certain proteins called estrogen and progesterone receptors. If the cancer has these proteins, it’s called a hormone receptor positive breast cancer. The cells are also tested to see if the cancer makes too much of the HER2 protein. If it does, it’s called a HER2-positive cancer. These cancers are sometimes easier to treat. If the cancer doesn’t test positive for any of these proteins, it’s called a triple-negative breast cancer.
The cells might also be tested for certain genes, which can help decide if chemo might be helpful and how likely it is that the cancer will come back. Ask your doctor to explain the tests they plan to do, and what the results might mean.
Are There Additional Tests I Should Have
My advice is to not be shy speaking up, and remember that your choices matter. Find a doctor who listens and works with you.
If I had had the opportunity to earlier, I wouldve asked about things like checking for lymph node spread and how, if it does spread to my lymph nodes, it would impact my treatment. I would also have inquired about the need for a care team and why it can be beneficial. Smacsham
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I Felt My World Shatter
I instantly broke down. My husband was with me, and we were both crying. I felt my world completely shatter.;;
All I could think about was my little girl. Shed turned two the day before I was diagnosed.;;
I had waited 10 years for her: five years of active fertility treatment including three rounds of IVF. I didnt want cancer taking me away from her.;I’d lost my mother-in-law not long;before;to bowel;cancer and;thought;the same would happen to me.;
Once we processed it, I went and picked my little girl up. I couldn’t look at her for days without crying.;;
Lymph Node Surgery For Breast Cancer
If breast cancer spreads, it typically goes first to nearby lymph;nodes under the arm. It can also sometimes spread to lymph nodes near the collarbone or near the breast bone. Knowing if the cancer has spread to your lymph nodes helps doctors find the best way to treat your cancer.
If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, its important to find out how far the cancer has;spread. To help find out if the cancer has spread outside the breast, one or;more of the lymph nodes under the arm are removed and;checked in the lab. This is an important part of staging. If the;lymph nodes contain cancer cells, there is a higher chance that cancer cells;have also spread to other parts of the body. More imaging tests;may be done if this is the case.
Lymph node removal can be done in different ways, depending;on whether any lymph nodes are enlarged, how big the breast tumor is, and other;factors.
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What Are The Warning Signs Of Breast Cancer
- A lump or thickening in or near the breast or in the underarm that persists through the menstrual cycle.
- A mass or lump, which may feel as small as a pea.
- A change in the size, shape, or contour of the breast.
- A blood-stained or clear fluid discharge from the nipple.
- A change in the look or feel of the skin on the breast or nipple .
- Redness of the skin on the breast or nipple.
- An area that is distinctly different from any other area on either breast.
- A marble-like hardened area under the skin.
These changes may be found when performing monthly breast self-exams. By performing breast self-exams, you can become familiar with the normal monthly changes in your breasts.
Breast self-examination should be performed at the same time each month, three to five days after your menstrual period ends. If you have stopped menstruating, perform the exam on the same day of each month.
How Much Do Tamoxifen And Raloxifene Lower The Risk Of Breast Cancer
Multiple studies have shown that both tamoxifen and raloxifene can reduce the risk of developing estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer in healthy postmenopausal women who are at high risk of developing the disease. Tamoxifen lowered the risk by 50 percent. Raloxifene lowered the risk by 38 percent. Overall, the combined results of these studies showed that taking tamoxifen or raloxifene daily for five years reduced the risk of developing breast cancer by at least one-third. In one trial directly comparing tamoxifen with raloxifene, raloxifene was found to be slightly less effective than tamoxifen for preventing breast cancer.
Both tamoxifen and raloxifene have been approved for use to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer in women at high risk of the disease. Tamoxifen is approved for use in both premenopausal women and postmenopausal women . Raloxifene is approved for use only in postmenopausal women.
Less common but more serious side effects of tamoxifen and raloxifene include blood clots to the lungs or legs. Other serious side effects of tamoxifen are an increased risk for cataracts and endometrial cancers. Other common, less serious shared side effects of tamoxifen and raloxifene include hot flashes, night sweats, and vaginal dryness.
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I Found Out I Had Cancer Four Months Into My Pregnancy
In the space of just one week, I had two ultrasounds one to tell me the sex of my baby and another to confirm my breast cancer diagnosis.
My partner and I first found out I was pregnant in October last year and we were beyond excited. We were thrilled to be welcoming a sibling for our four-year-old daughter, Ava, and everything seemed to be running smoothly throughout the first few months of the pregnancy.
Then at about 18 weeks I was watching TV one night and randomly itched my breast. In doing so, I felt a lump and started to become slightly concerned.
Was it just my body changing due to the pregnancy or was it something more serious? I actually work for Macmillan Cancer Support so I know firsthand that you can never be too careful with getting these things checked out. I tried not to worry but fear of the worst was in the back of my mind.
Without hesitation, I booked a doctors appointment for the next day and was advised by my GP that it was probably just pregnancy-related and that I should monitor it for the next few weeks. I didnt exactly feel reassured so with the work that I do in my job at the back of my mind, I insisted that I wanted to be put forward to the breast clinic.
My GP obliged and a week later, I had my scans and biopsy done. At the time, I honestly thought it would just be pregnancy-related or potentially a cyst I was 32 years old with no history of breast cancer in my family so a diagnosis like that wasnt seriously on my mind.
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