How I Found Out
In November, 2009 I went in for my annual mammogram. Something in the images of my right breast looked suspicious to the radiologist, so they called me back for a Diagnostic Mammogram (the next step up from Screening Mammogram) in early December.
I waited until after our Christmas vacation to go in for the Diagnostic mammogram. It was on December 28. The technicians told me that the reason I had been called back was that something unusual, which was probably nothing, had been seen on the mammogram for my right breast. They were going try and see the same area more clearly.
After taking several images, the technician consulted with the radiologist. They told me everything looked fine, but since I had been called back two years in a row, they wanted to do a quick ultrasound just to put everyone’s mind at ease.
The technician performed the ultrasound and was just about to say “you’re all clear” when she paused and instead said, “oh, what’s that?” –not words I wanted or expected to hear. She spent several minutes documenting the size, shape and location of a lump in my right breast. It was located in the upper chest area which they call “12 o’clock” position, and was near the chest wall. She said at that size and in that location, I would not have been able to feel it. She then left to retrieve the radiologist. After he evaluated the area, he suggested that the spot was probably just a fibroadenoma, or benign growth. He offered the choice of a biopsy or just waiting to see what it would look like in 6 months. He was not concerned, and recommended just waiting.
I decided to take the wait and see approach that was offered. It bothered me, but I believed that the spot was harmless. A few weeks passed and I continued to feel uncertain about it. I discussed it with my more-knowledgeable older sister. She urged me to go ahead with the biopsy. I didn’t like the idea of the biopsy, but figured I would sleep better for the next several months if I knew for certain that the spot was truly benign. In early February I called and set up the biopsy appointment.
It was performed on February 10. It was not horrible. I was told that by all estimates, the spot still appeared to be a fibroadenoma. The radiologist and technician told me to expect the results of the biopsy in a couple of days.
On Friday, February 12, 2010, I received a call from the radiologist to inform me that the biopsied tissue indicated that I have Invasive Mammary Ductal Carcinoma. This is the most common type of breast cancer. The tumor is small, at under 1cm, and the tumor grade is low, a good thing. He told me that a breast MRI should be scheduled to fully check both breasts for more tumors since the density of my tissue makes it difficult to evaluate with mammogram. He indicated he would call my referring doctor (my ob/gyn) and that she would contact me to discuss getting set up with a surgeon.