Tag - Breast Cancer

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When Your Mammogram Is Abnormal
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What You Should Know Before Your First Mammogram

When Your Mammogram Is Abnormal

  I’m not one to think the worst or to worry to excess. Oh wait, yes I am. So the call that my recent mammogram was abnormal really scared me. My doctor made the call herself to assure me that this kind of thing is very common. A shadow, an obstructed or blurred view, anything out of the norm, and they follow up. Caution is a good thing. I know this, but the timing couldn’t have been worse—just two days after our family lost a very special person to breast cancer. I tried not to worry myself sick and for the most part, I did okay. There’s a lot to be said for deep breathing and positive thoughts and losing yourself in tedious tasks. My aunt, even when facing the most stressful and scary circumstance imaginable, always tried to live in the moment. She taught me (and so many others) lessons about being positive and present before “mindfulness” became a buzzword.  My appointment was scheduled for the day of my aunt’s Celebration of Life. Oddly ironic and terribly sad. Thankfully I was able to get on a cancellation list and got an appointment a week earlier. I teared up as the[…]

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What You Should Know Before Your First Mammogram

I walked in Toronto’s “Weekend To End Women’s Cancers” and met so many people touched by breast cancer. Too many. Concerned for my own health, I asked my doctor if I should have a mammogram. She explained that Canadian women are advised to be screened at the age of fifty, unless there is a history of breast cancer in the family, in which case the recommended age in forty. I asked if I should wait until fifty? She told me it was up to me. Then I asked the question I ask all doctors… “What would you tell your daughter?”  She said, “I would tell her to do it. Now.” She explained that breast cancer affects women (and men) of all ages, but it’s aggressive and develops quickly in younger women. By the time it’s detected, it may be too late. I made my appointment.   Mammograms can be scary. Especially your first. I tried to make the idea less daunting by pronouncing “mammogram” like you would if you were announcing a candygram (like in the old SNL shark candygram skit). It helped. But only a little. Sporting a tie-in-the-back gown, a friendly female technician showed me into a dimly lit exam room. She[…]

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