Saturday, July 14, 2012


Sometime next week I'll be getting the call to get a mammogram & breast ultrasound done.  A "right of passage" generally reserved for females over the age of 40.  I just turned 30 back in May.  This isn't an elective scan.

Last year at my yearly lady check-up my doctor had noticed my breasts were lumpy & mildly tender.  It was the first time a doctor had ever said anything about it, even though, from my recollection they've always felt this way and every year I've gone in for my yearly check-up.  It's not like it's a single lump or on just one side.  The lumpiness is fairly uniform & is worse at different stages of my monthly cycle.  Some weeks it's highly pronounced lumpiness. Other weeks it's just mild lumpiness. What I neglected to remember, or be told, was that I was supposed to return in two weeks and have her examine them again to check for any changes.  So it's been a year, since she last examined my breasts, and where her opinion is concerned, I was at a stage in my cycle when the lumpiness should have been at it's lowest point.  Instead the lumps were quite hard & tender.  Further complicating the matter is that the lumps area deep in my breast tissue, not far enough away from the general rib muscle to distinctively say that it's one thing or another.

The most likely culprit is that I have fibrocystic breast tissue, which is nothing really to worry about, except for the fact it makes traditional lump detection nearly impossible.  But there's still that slight margin of possibility that it could be something more serious. 

I do, mostly, have genetics working in my favor.  My mom has had several breast ultrasounds done for spots that would show up on a mammogram, only for them to be found to just be water cysts.  There is also no known cases of breast cancer in either side of my family.  That's not to say there isn't cancer in my family. 

My dad passed away just weeks after finding out he had stage 4 cancer.  Due to the fact it wasn't caught until he was at the end stages of it and it had already spread through all of his digestive tract, there's nothing to say it started off as just throat cancer, or colon cancer, or  pancreatic cancer, or stomach cancer, or any other organ cancer.  He died of a heart attack, but that's not to say the cancer didn't help push him there quicker, at 45, plus other surrounding circumstances.

My dad had two uncles die of cancer.  One had lung cancer, the other brain cancer.

Then there was my maternal grandmother who, at 75, was diagnosed with bone cancer.  She refused treatments, even refused to tell anyone in the family, until she was at the end stages of it, a year after her diagnosis. 

And that's it.  No other cancers.  No other genetic anomalies that put my family line at high risk for cancers.  My grandmother had always dealt with osteoporosis, due to her slight build, extreme dieting she always did, and I'm sure her job also contributed, in addition to multiple pregnancies back to back when she was in her late 30s.

The great-uncle who died of lung cancer had always worked in construction, he died in 2002, not long after the tie was made to asbestos and cancers.  The great-uncle who died of brain cancer was a military guy who was exposed to a great number of things.  He was just in his late 50s, died in the mid-90s.  My dad...he liked chewing tobacco, some say that's what his demise was from.  But he also had a bad heart that wasn't diagnosed as such until he was in his mid-30s, then was on a number of medications for that that may have help hide some of the early symptoms plus the circumstances he was living in for the last several years of his life that likely didn't help any of the matters.

So, I'm technically not worried about it being cancer.  At the same time though I'm not going to just blow it off.  I just hope they can get solid answers without having to drag it out too long.  Of course I do know that because of this I'll have to go in for regular scans, ultrasounds, and mammograms for the 'just in case' scenario.  Best to be proactive than to be blasé about it. 

But, I guess there's not much sense in worrying about something no one has any solid answers about, right?

Doesn't keep it from happening though.

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