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Get Your Mammograms!
My mother, my maternal aunt, and my maternal grandmother all had breast cancer.
So, I got my first mammogram at age 31, followed by another at age 35 after I weaned my younger son. At age 41, I went for my annual mammogram, and they detected a tumor – Ductal Carcinoma in Situ (DCIS) – or Stage 0 breast cancer.
With my family history, I didn’t have the typical “Why me?” reaction, but I was concerned because my two sons were so young (elementary school age).
I had a lumpectomy, followed by radiation therapy, and then hormonal therapy for five years.
Shortly before I finished my hormonal therapy, I had my annual mammogram, and they found a new tumor in the other breast.
This time, I had a double mastectomy, followed by six rounds of chemotherapy, and five more years of hormonal therapy.
It was a rough year going through all of that, especially as I continued to work as close to full time as possible while raising my two sons as a single parent. But I survived. My sons are both adults now and that experience is 13 years in the past.
It has been 19 years since my initial diagnosis.
Bottom line ladies – get those mammograms!
(3) Pisano et al. Diagnostic Performance of Digital versus Film Mammography for Breast –Cancer Screening. NEJM 2005;353:1773.