Get Your Mammogram!

Ok, I know that mammograms are not fun, but they are necessary; in fact, having one could save your life. Because of having yearly mammograms, I found out that I had *DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ) a few years ago. Basically, DCIS is stage zero cancer. Of course, it can be a start of real cancer, but with early treatment, it’s gone. I have had DCIS twice, and because of that, I get a mammogram every year.

Now just because it is “zero cancer” doesn’t mean to forget about it. To be on the safe side, the second time I got it I had radiation therapy (which honestly was a breeze), and I was put on *Tamoxifen, which I still take to this day. Even DCIS needs to be watched, so if you are diagnosed with it, do listen to your doctor.

My mother died of **metastatic breast cancer (or MBC), which means it has possibly gone into the bones, lungs, liver, etc. When Mom’s doctor told Mom that she had MBC, she told her that she had two options: 1) chemotherapy and drugs or 2) letting Nature take its course. Mom chose the latter. My dad, who researched what can help slow down cancer, put Mom on a healthy diet of fresh vegetables and fruits, fish, walnuts, and legumes (beans, peas, and lentils). On this diet, there was no meat or sugar. I believe that this way of eating gave her much more time.

However, as time went on, the cancer became more aggressive. Although Mom didn’t eat meat anymore, she loved sweets. She and Dad realized that the end was approaching, and she decided to eat what she wanted, especially sweets. One of her dearest friends made Mom her favorite cake almost every week.

Mom lived quite well for a long time; she ate well and enjoyed the company of friends. She had done everything she ever wanted to do, and thoroughly enjoyed her life. She had medications for pain, and even to her last day, there was no fear; she simply drifted off.

I tell you these things because I’ve gotten DCIS twice. I will tell you that having mammograms can save your life. If you have no family history of cancer, you may not need a mammogram each year, but DO talk with your doctor so that you can make a plan to stay healthy.

I realize that all this information can be scary; but if there is a chance that you might have breast cancer, don’t ignore it. Also, having breast cancer does not always mean a death sentence. Oh yes, it can be uncomfortable to stand half-naked in front of the nice nurse who is arranging your breast between two sheets of glass. Many women don’t get mammograms because they are uncomfortable. Here’s a good tip that actually works; when you are standing in front of what I call the boob squisher, bend your knees slightly. It takes a lot of pressure off your breast, and I’ve never had any serious pain since.

Talk with your doctor about mammograms. If you have breast cancer in your family, it may or may not mean that you will get it as well. Be aware, not scared.

*From Breast Cancer Org: Benefits of tamoxifen

Since its approval in 1998, tamoxifen has been used to treat millions of women and men diagnosed with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. While an aromatase inhibitor is the first hormonal therapy medicine choice for postmenopausal women, tamoxifen is the first choice for premenopausal women and is still a good choice for postmenopausal women who can’t take an aromatase inhibitor.

**From MBC Info center: Defining MBC

When breast cancer metastasizes, that means it has spread to other places in your body outside of the breast. Whether the cancer spreads to the bones, lungs, liver, or another place, it is still considered breast cancer. This is because these metastases have the same type of cancer cells as the primary cancer located in the breast.

Staging

MBC is sometimes referred to as advanced breast cancer or Stage 4 breast cancer. It is important to note that while “Stage 4 breast cancer” is commonly used interchangeably with “MBC,” the 2 terms do not always mean the same thing. The stage is determined at or soon after diagnosis, based on whether the cancer is limited to 1 area of the breast or whether it has spread to other areas or organs at said time. Over the course of the disease, your stage will most likely remain the same, even when the disease becomes metastatic. This means that you can have Stage 2 breast cancer and still have metastatic disease.

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