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Vigilance

My breast cancer - more than 8 years ago - was detected by a sonogram. It was not detectable on a mammogram. So I urge women to ask their doctors whether they have breasts that are dense or if there is some other reason for them to have sonograms as well as mammograms. A few years ago, I started having yearly MRIs also, since some tumors are not detectable via mammography or sonography. I think that women at high risk of breast cancer should consider all three diagnostic tools. The downside to this vigiliance is that I have had 6 biopsies -- 3 surgical and 3 needle -- in the past seven years. Luckily for me, they have all been negative for cancer. Today, I am healthy and cancer-free. I expect to stay that way, but still intend to be vigilant.

Amy Rothstein
New York, NY

The Importance of Mammograms and Counseling

At age 61, I started to lactate in my right breast...the tumor was benign. After loosing my husband to Lung Cancer in '03, being so angry and lost...I didn't have my yearly mammogram for 4 years. I just didn't care. I have had so many byospies in my life that they became second nature to me. When I finally had my mammogram, I was told I had Cancer all around my removed milk gland and needed a mastectomy. My thinking was if I could get Cancer where I had a biyospy in one breast, why couldn't the same apply to my other breast? I elected at age 68, to have a double mastectomy. I no longer have Breast Cancer...and because of the double, I no longer worry about my breast.

I have to tell you that I went through what is know as SURVIVORS GUILT. I had never heard of it before and that is why I am mentioning this.I felt so guilty that my Cancer was taken care of... but there was NOTHING anyone could do for my husband. I went to one of our local Cancer Centers...was seen by a Cancer Counselor...and today I am just so very blessed. I am CANCER FREE.

Valerie Matricciani
Havre de Grace, MD

This doesn't happen in our family!

That's what we thought anyway...that is, until my husband and I heard the radiologist's words "What you're looking at is a highly suspicious mass Mrs. Christerson".

It was October 2007 and I had just had my annual mammogram done for the 2nd time in as many weeks. We looked at one another, gulped and asked what needed to happen next. The radiologist told us to make an appointment for a biopsy at the desk. The next available time was in two weeks; I took the appointment card and we drove home. Later that afternoon, my primary physician called me at home to discuss the report he had just received. "Did you schedule a biopsy?" I told him I was scheduled to have one in two weeks. "NO, that won't due. I'm calling a breast surgeon I know and you will see her tomorrow or the next day."

I thank God for his assertiveness and authority in the matter every day because the breast surgeon found two different kinds of tumors in my right breast and scheduled me for a bilateral mastectomy.

One month later, it was all over. The pathology report actually showed cancer cells had been found in my left breast as well.

Since my margins were clean, radiation was not in my future. My oncologist ordered the onco test and it showed that chemo would not be beneficial.

Now, a year and a half later, I know without a doubt that each day is a gift not to be squandered. Don't delay in taking care of yourselves! Your life is precious and there is a purpose for each of us!

pam christerson
Roswell, GA

Mammogram found mine

My Breast Cancer was found on my yearly mammogram at age 52. I am a DES daughter and took Premarin on and off for about 20 years after my hysterectomy. My cancer was found very early with no lymph node involvement. I had a mastectomy and am in the process of reconstruction. I was scared to death at first, thought I would not keep my sanity through it all. My mastectomy was only three months ago and I have found that there is a tremendous amount of support out there. I found so many friends that have had this disease, that have given me support through each stage of recovery. I am now giving support to others, raising money for the cause, and encouraging everyone I know to do the Breast Self Exams, and get yearly mammograms. Early Detection is everything!

Denise P.
Fresno, CA

Sunday is Father's Day

My husband Brock isn't here to celebrate Father's Day with our sons because he died from BREAST CANCER. Why is it there is no mention about MALE BREAST CANCER since Sunday is Father's Day? I have heard it is now 9% of all cancer is in MEN. A father that gets breast cancer can pass it on to their children just like a mother can. Men should do self breast exams to help detect something is wrong and get help. Please let people know "MEN GET BREAST CANCER, TOO." A life is a life.

Kriss M. Bowles
Land O' Lakes, GA

Never Give Up Hope

At the age of 60 I had the routine 3-yearly mammogram. After a few weeks I got a letter asking me to go for a further mammogram, they found 2 tumours in the same breast and I was told I needed a mastectomy. I was terrified, I had never had any sort of operation in my life, and moreover I weighed 21 stone and wasn't sure they would even be able to do the operation or that I would be able to come through it safely. However the surgeon said all would be well, and it was. I was in hospital 10 days, they removed the whole breast and took out some of the lymph nodes from under my arm, and I had to go back a couple of times a week for about 5 weeks to drain off the fluid which collected - fat tissue holds a lot of water! Because they were happy that they had removed all the cancerous tissue I didn't have chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and 6 years on I am still fit and well. I have to take Arimidex for 7 years, and so next year will be the last one and I hope to be pronounced completely clear then. And I have managed to get my weight down to 17 stone just in case I should ever need another operation.

Joan Cowdell
Haverfordwest, United Kingdom

Battling the unknown

When I was diagnosed with Cancer in October 2008, I had no idea of how much I did not know. Most of us know someone who has had it but ultimately know very little about there journey. I can now say that experience will remain the best teacher.

However, the 1st reaction was fear and fear can waste time. Thanks be to God it was short lived (1) day to be exact. I told my husband, he contacted my friends, we talked with our (6) children, and started my journey.

I think that many doctors do patients a huge disadvantage, by assuming this is something we can handle. I feel that the 1st person I saw should have been a survivor or counselor. I needed to be immediately partnered with someone who understood what I was feeling and what I needed to do next.

My blessing came within a week; two women came to my immediate rescue. Because of the close network of friends I had without my knowing I had a team of women to help me with what started as a journey and has proven to be a daily battle.

These women helped my husband and I make decisions about my course of care, provided me with literature that helped us understand my cancer, and have provided emotional support to keep me smiling and happy when I thought I couldn't bear anymore. My trials and tribulations are far more than I can share in such a short amount of time. But I want to be clear all women diagnosed need some form of support offered thru there doctors.

Don't make victims of this disease have to stumble through there care unnecessarily. There are so many women willing to give back.

Jackie
Hawthorne, CA

Walking in the Footsteps of Hero's

Walking in the footsteps of Hero's is a journey that began for our family in December 2007.I undertook a gruelling 96km's trek, over 9 days through the Papua New Guinea jungle in one of the most remote & historically significant parts of the world. Together with a group of 12 women, including my sister, we raised $140,000 for Breast Cancer Research. We began our journey in December 2007 when Mum (56) experienced pain under her right arm. A few weeks later Mum received the diagnos of advanced stages of Breast Cancer. For us, Xmas is a constant reminder of the beginning of Mum's courageous journey because she started ChemoTreatment on the 28th of December 2007.

To get ready for Kokoda does take guts! Its not just a physical journey, but quite an emotional one as well, which has not been without sacrifice. I feel extremely privileged to be able to share our story with you, but it hasn't been without heartache, a few laughs and also many tears. Mum is recovering so well after her Chemo, Mastectomy and Radiotherapy. Her prognosis is very good and although we can't say remission just yet, we are tracking toward a very positive future and is back to fulltime work.

So, to all you ladies with your scaves, and concaved chests, please have faith that you are not alone. My poem is for you.

The bright days outweighed the blue, in her eyes at least.Her smile still lit a room even though her spirit and her breast were gone.Her chest a reminder of a fallen hero, a track which will forever remain close to her heart. A silk scarf so soft it protected her from prying eye's is the public face of love, of courage, honour hope and beauty.You are my modern day hero.

Nicole Wood
Brisbane, Australia

My Story

I started a new job as a temp and didn't have health insurance, but I found the number for free mammograms. Called and had one, all clear. Kept the dr. as my OBGYN. Had insurance and went for a yearly mammo. Found a lump. Worried, I have 4 daughters and 2 sisters(1 a twin) No lymph node involvement. I don't carry the gene for it. It's now been 3 years, and I'm still cancer free. Continue clicking on the free button.

Terry Davis

Newark, NY

Terry Davis
Newark, NY

After 7 years free...Round 2

My name is Sharon and I am a 7 yr survivor. In 2001 I ran the gauntlet including a stem cell transplant. I worked for a Dr who did not provide health care for his staff. He told me to take vit. E and that it was probably nothing! In 2 months the pea size lump grew to 9 cm's and invaded my lymph system resulting in modified radical with removal of 19 axillary lymph nodes, red devil chemo, radiation and a stem cell transplant! all because I missed a mammogram.. I was a few months late for my mammogram in 2008, I felt it more important to take care of wounded and sick family members. After 7 1/2 years its back!!! On May 18th 2009 I had my 2nd modified radical and am waiting to find out if i need chemo. God willing I will continue to be a survivor. The moral of this story is DONT PUT OFF MAMMOGRAMS!!!!! for any reason. Bless all my survivor sisters, fallen sisters and thier caregivers.

Sharon Kemerley
Oklahoma City, OK
Flurry of Savings
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