Mumsnet hasn't checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have medical concerns, please seek medical attention; if you think your problem could be acute, do so immediately. Even qualified doctors can't diagnose over the internet, so do bear that in mind when seeking or giving advice.
Turned 50. Mammo appt just came out of the blue.... Would you have it?..
I am interested in knowing whether you'd jump at the chance to go and be 'reassured' or whether you'd wonder whether your lack of risk factors outweighed the risks of the radiation involved, esp as it'll be every 3 (?) years forever.
Did you do some research? Did you uncover that stuff that showed that overall, breast screening doesn't reduce the overall outcome of breast cancer detection across the nation; that a large number of 'detected tumours' transpire to be nothing?
My DD went for her first one at 47 in January, and was recalled for something suspicious. Had 5 biopsies under local, and all turned out benign. She had no lumps, but mammo showed a cluster of calcified cells, which can in some cases be the type to turn cancerous later.
DD was frightened but was pleased to have them caught early and treated with no chemo, if dangerous.
All tests have the risk of false positives and false negatives. Personally, I'm glad to live at a time when tests are available, and am happy to take the risk of a false positive to get the potential benefit.
Plus, my mum had a tumour found because of her routine mammogram, had a small operation (fairly quick and easy as it was only about the size of a pea), a few sessions of radiotherapy, and now some pills (not tamoxifen but something similar) and has had the three-year all-as-clear-as-they-can-ever-say. If she hadn't had it spotted on the routine test, then maybe she'd now be facing a much trickier scenario for the treatment it would need if it had been found that much later.
My mum found a lump just before her 50th birthday and it turned out to be cancer. She went onto have a maesectomy and reconstruction, chemo as 5 years of tamoxifen. 16 years on and she is still clear. My MIL has have breast anger twice, and had similar treatment to my mum. She is about 6 years younger then my mum.
I'll probably get screened earlier (currently 40yo) but I will gladly take any screenings when offered. Not just for me, but for the sake of my 2 dds who sadly have this legacy of breast cancer in their family on both sides. (Plus I believe my mums mum had breast cancer although se ha other things too)
I don't have them. Plenty of doctors - mainly in Scandinavia, I think - seriously question the value of such screening; do your research. You are right to be concerned about both radiation and over-diagnosis in my opinion.
I was told the staff were really nice. They were at best indifferent. It was painful and she kept repeating it. I have yet to find out why I had to remove my glasses (there was nowhere safe to put them).
I thought my mother was mad to refuse to go after 2, but can't say I blame her after that. (she died early of something else)
I would have it like a shot! I wasn't offered my first mammogram until I was 54, due to my birthday falling outside the range for earlier testing, and it picked up my breast cancer. And I will never know if I'd been screened earlier at 50 could I have avoided chemotherapy and mastectomy... Breast cancer is not an old ladies disease any more and the average age continues to fall. I never thought it would happen to me, hey, I breast fed 4 babies, I wasn't overweight, I exercised, I ate healthily, didn't smoke... I got breast cancer.
Thanks for the links, Forwardscatter- are you, by any chance, a radiographer? I am a bit surprised that the links don't specifically mention the statistical risk of the mammogram X-ray dose, considering that it'll be repeated every 3 years for maybe ever; additional 'views' attract more dose etc etc.
I totally get why posters have said they'd 'have it like a shot' having had a positive mammo, then treated via surgery, RT, chemo ... but statistically they could just as well have been those who'd've never known the had that cancer, but now bear the scars, physical and emotional that breast Ca treatment entails. No one knows!
I've debated whether to mention my reasons for not having a mammogram, in case that puts off anyone else. But that's a rather patronising idea and, anyway, one of the complaints I have about my local breast screening unit is that they seem, well, rather patronising.
I have long had concerns about the actual process. Too often in the past, I heard/read about the procedure ranging from uncomfortable to painful. There needs to be quite a lot of pressure exerted in order to get the best pictures, and I do wonder whether internal bruising can result, possibly giving rise to damage that subsequently gives false positives. When I did some research when the first "invite" for breast screening arrived, I couldn't find anything that put my mind at ease. More recent googling throws up some links to fat necrosis in the breast, possibly resulting from trauma, and how difficult it can sometimes be to distinguish that from a possible tumour.
I'm a fan of science, but I can't get away from the idea if you take a breast, squash it hard and flat, then shoot some x-rays through it, and then think you can persuade me that that procedure is completely benign and won't cause any damage whatsoever, then you're not the kind of person to listen to my worries. <- That's a reduced version about my thoughts/rant about my local breast screening unit.
I think one of the problems is that mammography has been carried out in the same way since it was first invented, so there isn't much of an alternative. But sometime last year, I watched a TED talk about a different procedure, which apparently is much less painful because it uses much less pressure, as well as being more accurate in women who have dense breasts. Part of that talk is about the USA health system, but I found the new technique interesting, and possibly something I'd opt for if it were available here. Here's a link: www.ted.com/talks/deborah_rhodes.html
Yes, yes and yes...my mum had a cancerous tumour picked up last year at her mammogram which was too small to be felt- she had a speedy mastectomy and thankfully as they caught it so early was able to avoid chemo/radiation. That mammogram either saved her life or at the very least spared her the side effects of chemo and radiation treatment, so I am always going to be on the side of having it done.
"but statistically they could just as well have been those who'd've never known the had that cancer, but now bear the scars, physical and emotional that breast Ca treatment entails. No one knows!"
Would those be the scars of still being alive, Erebus?
I'm still under active treatment for my breast cancer. I've had the mastectomy, the chemotherapy, the radiotherapy and I'm now on the home stretch in my 18 cycles of Herceptin as well as being on Arimidex.
Twenty years ago a mammogram picked up DCIS. That time I only required two lumpectomies, 6 weeks of radiotherapy and Tamoxifen.
erebus, a dear friend of mine nearly missed a mammogram due to another health concern, Had she not gone she would not have discovered that she indeed had a cancerous lump in her breast of an aggressive fast growing type. Not detectable by touch either.
Unfortunately no matter how we feel about it, sometimes the only way to discern our health is to use the current medical abilities (ie the scans and associated radiation exposure) that are available to us.
If you are interested calcium bentonite clay has been known to remove heavy metals and radiation from the body.