I need to share something very important with you. It literally could save your life. Here’s my story with mammograms. I starting getting mammograms when I was 38. I was pretty proud of myself for not putting it off, I mean after all it’s not exactly a pleasant experience. But I patted myself on the back and was a good trooper and diligently got scanned each year. Thankfully, each scan I had came back negative for any signs of cancer.
Find a lump, get it checked, duh!
Then, I thought I felt a lump, so I did what any good patient would do – called my doctor to get it checked out. Boy I was I relieved to be told that it was nothing to worry about. Eight months later I had my next annual mammogram and was relieved once again when the I received the report in the mail telling me that everything was good. In fact, out of a scale of 1-5, 1 being all clear and 5 being big problems – all my scans came back a 1. Great!
Intuition Takes Over
However, a few days later as I kissed my husband goodnight – my hand grazed over the area on my breast where I had felt a lump. I was instantly flooded with a sense of dread. Good mammogram report or not – I told my husband right there and then that I was going back to the doctor the next day.
You have Cancer
Good thing I followed my instincts instead of test results this time, because after the ultrasound, and biopsy I got the phone call that everyone dreads and once you’ve received one, it’s one you never forget. Three little words on the other end of the line, “You have cancer”. Three annual mammograms had gone by and now I was stage 3. Stage 3! What the hell?
Oh, now we can see it!
Once I had been diagnosed, we were told that now that the radiologist knew what and where they were looking they saw the cancer, and we were also told that due to the size of the tumor that I had had cancer for roughly 6-8 years.
Do you have Dense Breast Tissue, too?
This is what I found out. Mammograms are not a very effective screening device if you have dense breast tissue, which I and thousands of other women have. In fact, studies have shown that cancer is missed 40-50% of the time in women with dense breast tissue. The reason is that breasts are primarily fatty and glandular tissue. If you have dense breast tissue it means that you have mainly glandular tissue. Fatty tissue shows up dark/black on the scan and glandular tissue white. The reason the cancer gets missed is that cancer, a lot of times, shows up white too. The more glandular tissue you have (higher density) the more unreliably the mammogram can be read.
So I plead with you…
to do the following: First – if you have a mammogram, find out what your tissue density rating is – it is part of the information that is recorded as part of the scan. Talk to your doctor and find out if a mammogram is truly the best early screening for you. IMPORTANT – take responsibility for your own health and do your own research – follow your gut, your intuition. It is my intuiton that saved my life. Not the mammogram and not the doctors. Learn as much as you can about mammograms and determine if they are right for you. It has been suggested that after seven scans your breast have received enough radiation to develop cancer. Do you own research, please. Secondly – studies have shown that as many women die from breast cancer that were diagnosed because of a mammogram as those that were diagnosed from a self exam. How comfortable are you with exposing your breasts to radiation? Please share this with every woman you know. Google it, fact check and don’t get caught like I did.
Here’s to our good health!
Marika Hamilton is the mother of two girls, Carly and Caitie and love of her husband Brian. Other than having a lumpectomy and 14 lymph nodes removed, she declined all other conventional treatment. Her mission is to bring hope and healing to those that have been dealt a traumatic diagnosis through the wisdom she has developed through her own journey back to health. She offers one-on-one wellness coaching, group sessions and is available for speaking engagements. To find out more about her coaching, please take advantage of a 30 minute complimentary wellness assessment here: http://www.dealingwithhealing.com/one-one-coaching-2/