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Mammogram results--Need some answers

carolynj
Posts: 61
Joined: Apr 2002

Just got the results from the first mammogram taken since lumpectomy on 1/14/02 and 6 weeks of radiation on right breast.
The report states: stable benign-appearing microcalifications are present in the left breast. Recommendation: a 6 month followup mammogram to continue monitoring the post treatment changes as well as to exclude recurrence. Should I wait the 6 months to do the mammogram or are there other options?
I'm again a little stressed with this new results. Can't seem to have clear or clean tests. Still doing the CT scans every 3 months for the spots in the lungs and liver. Will have that done on 12/3/02. Will need some prayers for good results.
Thanks for your continued support and prayers. Hope you're all doing great.

Hugs from Carolyn

hummingbyrd's picture
hummingbyrd
Posts: 965
Joined: Sep 2002

Prayers for good results on your CT scans, I too am having a CAT scan this month. On 12-6, of my brain, that shouldn't take long! LOL As for the mammo, did they do a CAD mammogram (computer aided detection) with an ultrasound? Those are the best as far as picking up any abnormalities. The CAD improves the MDs diagnosis by 15-20%, that means without it 15-20 women out of every 100 have an early mass that is missed! It's worth asking your doc about. God bless and may it be God's will that you have nothing but good news! hummb

inkblot
Posts: 705
Joined: Jul 2001

Hi Carolyn:

I'd suggest that you put a call in to your surgeon, if he isn't aware of the mammo results. He is the best person to determine whether you need any further tests now or if it's reasonable to wait 6 months.

Within my medical team, my surgeon is the dr. who writes the scripts for my mammo's, so the reports go directly to him, first. They are also sent to my oncologist and radiation onc. for review. All of them also "look" at my films. Gives me a bit more piece of mind and is their preference.

Keep in mind too that radiologists have to add just about every disclaimer imaginable to the reports to cover themselves legally.
It's that jibberish at the bottom of the report which really makes us sweat...that mammo does not discover every lump,(yeah, well, we know this already!) etc., etc.. And when our reports don't say "normal", period, it's very easy to start imagining things, indeed.

Radiologists will usually order additonal films if they have any concerns or need to see something more clearly. I always have to sit and wait until they've reviewed everything thoroughly before I can get dressed...just in case.

Early after treatment ends, they are typically maniacal in studying the films for anything out of the ordinary and may report all kinds of things which make no real sense to us. I'd be willing to bet that if you review your previous reports (before surgery, etc.) you'd probably find reference to those "stable benign appearing" microcalcifications". (which would indicate that they're nothing new) As I understand the situation: some microcalcifications are perfectly normal...it's the clusters or strings of them that are cause for concern. I have several "pings" (that's what I all them, because they look like the teeniest of lights) on my films...3 in the "good" breast and one in the bc breast. They just sit there and do nothing. One has been there for 15 years! My surgeon says they're even more common following menopause. Since I'm in chemopause, I guess I can expect a new one from time to time? So far, so good...just the same ole pings.

I think the "rule out recurrence" part of the report is referring to the standard recommendations of having a mammo every 6 months for the first 18 months following treatment. Maybe he just used the term "rule out" as opposed to "follow up"?

Talk about the imaginings!!!!! My first mammo, post radiation...the radiologist, it seems, didn't really know how to say that it was evident that my previous tumor had been removed. So, he stated it like this: Surgery appears to have been performed to remove a lump which appeared on a mammography film, dated thus and such! Can you believe that? As if he wasn't sure that the scar and the hole where the tumor used to be was proof enough?! Six months later, another radiologist reported it entirely differently, noting the scar tissue, as a result of surgery, simply as a natural process.
Two different guys...same women's center. Go figure! I think the first guy maybe needs to lighten up on the caffeine!!

Try not to worry and do talk with your surgeon for guidance and intrepretation of the mammograms. Any one thing you can eliminate from your worries is a GOOD thing to do.

I'm wishing good things for your CT next month and wish you and your loved ones a peaceful day of giving giving thanks on Thursday.

Love, light and laughter,
Ink

geral
Posts: 132
Joined: Sep 2002

Hi Carolyn,

In addition to contacting your medical team with your concerns, you may want to contact the ACS oncology nurse. Just click on 'Contact ACS' at the top of this screen. Under subject, choose 'cancer-general questions'. I've used this feature many times. It's amazing the resources ACS gives us.
Good luck with your cat scan. Let us know your results.
Take care, Geral

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