Another year gone, a new one begun. Not the most auspicious of starts for me I must say. I’m in the “Waiting Room” as I have decided to call it. Waiting for what?, you ask….
Here in England, you are invited to have a mammogram every three years once you turn age 50. I’ve had two clear ones and a third just before Christmas. The first two exams came back fine. The third one generated a letter asking me to come in this Tuesday for “further investigations”. I’d forgotten all about it after being away over the holidays, so when the brown envelope came in the mail on Saturday (yes, they have mail delivery on Saturday in England), I wasn’t alarmed at all. Then I opened it.
Now while its not time to start freaking out and looking up the consequences of breast cancer, I can’t say I like the odds. I’ve been checking the stats on sites like Breast Cancer Care, a support community. If you’ve been recalled after a routine mammogram, your chances are 1 in 4 that further investigations are going to result in a diagnosis you won’t be happy about.
I will say though, its an education, reading up on this. For example I had no idea what BCC77 (breast calcifications) were; mostly benign deposits of calcium salts that can occur in breast tissue. or that ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) was an early form of breast CA, where the cancer cells have not yet spread into surrounding breast tissue or other parts of the body.
See this is why BSE (breast self examination) and early detection are so important. So I at least have that on my side.
I also take some comfort from the fact that as far as I am aware, and I’m pretty au fait with the family medical history, there is zero incidence of breast cancer (or any other reproductive CA) on either side of the family. The only niggle I have is that I’ve been on HRT for several years now. However, the medical jury seems to still be out about increased risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer from long term HRT use. My doctor felt it was safe, given my family history, and so did the specialist who did the hysterectomy I had back in October.
Here’s to getting Tuesday out of the way and an all clear after that. Now that would really be a Happy New Year.