Category Archives: screening

Does the BRCA 5-site rearrangement panel include BART testing?

My medical geekiness showed its colors today.  Last night, at the Young Survivors Sunday Starbucks group an amazing guest speaker mentioned the BART test for those who had tested BRCA negative.  So, I dug out my trusty notebook of lab results, flipped to the genetics section and found my Mar 2007 “Comprehensive BRACAnalysis.”  It lists the testing done as a “5-site rearrangement panel.”

Even with the technical specs, I can’t tell if this includes the BART or not. Continue reading

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Filed under breast cancer, screening, tests

A teensy bit scared

There’s this wonderful thread on breastcancer.org where you can do a “cancer sucks in this specific way” sort of post. A place to vent and rant. And rant people do, and you know what happens with rants after you really get into them? Funny, funny stories. Nothing like some dark humor to lighten one’s day.

Here is my “this sucks” post from yesterday (note not a hilarious rant, sorry):

Think I need to file today under “it could be worse.” Right?! Small cyst showed up on my liver u/s, of course they have to c/t it. Continue reading

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Filed under breast cancer, quality of life, screening

relieved

Digital mammograms are amazing things. No waiting, just the results – right away. Plus EPIC West rocks – they have chocolate to eat while you sit and wait for the radiologist to read the mammogram pics. (Deep stress calls for chocolate.) They called me back for one additional pic just to be careful, and I got the all clear. Whew. Continue reading

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Breast Cancer Screening Challenge

Ok, I am issuing an official 1-month challenge to all of my girlfriends who are in their late 30s and early 40s. Now’s the time – get screened for breast cancer, yesterday isn’t soon enough. My cancer was picked up on a routine mammogram, which I’ve done every year since I was 35. In Feb. of 06 my mammogram was clear, and in Feb. of 07 it wasn’t. It showed a 2.5 cm invasive tumor surrounded by 4-5 cm of DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ). And that was just in one year.

Ricky B. called today, she’s looking into thermography as she’s still nursing and doesn’t want the radiation. Alicia S. found screening through the Squaxin Tribe in Olympia and has her mammogram appointment set for the 12th. Whatever works, whatever you believe in, just get checked out.

If I had my druthers, I’d go with digital mammography all the way. Thermography is interesting, but I have the impression that accuracy is still a question, though maybe that’s improved in the 3 years since I researched it. And the MRI is extremely sensitive, but MRIs are not usually the first line of screening. Though MRIs are now officially recommended for women at high risk. Of course, a CT scan is ideal, so if you’re offered one for whatever reason, don’t turn it down, but the radiation is something to consider. Oh, and ultrasound is an option too – inexpensive, non-invasive and so safe that it’s used to see babies-in-the-belly. Of course pressing down hard on sensitive breasts hurts, but a painkiller before hand can help a lot.

As for breast self-exams – can’t hurt, but I have to tell you I had my annual pap smear and professional breast exam in Jan of 07, and the lump was not palpable at that time. Youngish women have dense, lumpy breasts and it’s just hard to tell. Both of my breast surgeons commented on how hard my lump was to feel. If you didn’t know it was there already, there was no way to tell by touch.

Ok, who is next? Leave a note, get your girlfriends to get screened too, and let me know.

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