I would like to share my story so it can help women and save lives.
I found a very small lump in my breast in late January 2010. I thought it was just a fibrocyst and nothing to worry about, since I was about to start my cycle. It would go away. But it didn’t! I waited a month and the area started getting itchy (but no rash) and the lump was just there and getting a little sore so I scheduled an appointment with my OBGYN (it was actually way past time for a PAP). Well she examined my breast and said she didn’t think it felt like a cyst but don’t worry, 80% of these are not in any way serious and go away on their own but we she did order both a mammogram and ultrasound. After the test, I received a very nice letter from my local hospital (not a cancer treatment facility) congratulating me on my cancer-free test BUT just come back in 6 months for a retest. HOWEVER my regular doctor received a much different report. While the mammogram did not show any cancer per se, the diagnosis on the ultra sound stated quite clearly “unknown suspicious mass in the right breast which cannot be fully diagnosed without biopsy.” My GP was not satisfied with the “wait and see” attitude and helped me fight my insurance company for a second opinion with a breast cancer specialist and retesting at a cancer treating facility.
Long story short, 4 months later the lump had grown from barely the size of a dime to the size of a golf ball. Biopsy was done, but not until I had the lumpectomy were they fully able to confirm diagnosis that my lump was a Phyllodes tumor with borderline malignancy…yep…I was the lottery winner in the top (or bottom) 20% as Phyllodes tumors are very rare and mostly benign but can change – and mine was beginning to change just as it was removed. If I had waited the 6 months originally recommended, had my GP doctor just filed that copy of that ultra sound and not really read it, I would be in a far worse position right now. Now I just have a swollen incision and removed breast tissue and the drag of having mammos and ultrasounds every 4 months for the next 2 years – no chemo or radiation at this point. Had I waited, I most likely would have had to get a partial (or radical) mastectomy, chemo, radiation, and reconstructive surgery, etc… All because my general physician told me to fight and I am ever so grateful she did. I am truly blessed to have a general physicial who is genuinely concerned with my health.
I am sharing my story with all of you because not all general physicians go this extra mile. And we as consumers, as mothers, as women need to fight for our rights to second opinions and medical specialists when something is wrong. If ANY of this is remotely happening to you, fight like hell and get yourself checked. Self examine EVERY month! Get your yearly PAP and mammogram. Don’t let your insurance company tell you it’s not necessary to have one yearly if you don’t have a family
history of breast cancer. It IS NECESSARY! THANK GOD I found the lump when I did. THANK GOD I fought for the second opinion. Ignorance IS NOT Bliss! Ignorance can cost you your breasts and maybe your life. I know breast diagnostic tests suck. But CANCER SUCKS WORSE. Keep Fighting and Love to you all!
This story is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.