Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Breast Cancer Preventive Surgery? A link and a true story

One of the favorite times of my life was living at the beach.  On a day trip with girlfriends, I had met some people who lived near a naval base farther south in California. When the dust cleared, I was working for one of them, and alone far from home.  The woman in the group, let's call her "Jay," became my closest friend.

And as it can in favorite times, fear and tragedy crept in.  Jay called me one day to say she had a lump in her breast.  She had a family history of breast cancer, and didn't want to wait even a few weeks to monitor the lump.  Fear and the need to know sent her straight to the doctor.

Breast cancer.

She had some surgery, was in and out of the hospital.  Then the news no one wants to hear.  Ever.

They didn't get it all.  There was a disk on her chest wall, which of course did not show in the mammogram.  That was years ago, and in the interim I never heard of a similar case.

What has this to do with you?  A week ago, I was led to a article on breast cancer surgery to reduce the risk of recurrence.  The article led me through the terms that all just mean cutting off another breast after one has been diagnosed. And it gave some many specifics about who has a high enough risk to need this irreversible step.

Extreme caution before deciding to cut off the healthy breast was a prominent theme. (Yes, I use the words "cut off.") And I read some of the case for the many alternative treatments and why removing the healthy breast is no guarantee.  

Suddenly, there was Jay's story in front of me.  And I got a quick, unforgettable reminder and lesson in anatomy: 

Breast tissue is not all in one place.

"The chest wall, which is not typically removed during a mastectomy, may contain some breast tissue, and breast tissue can sometimes be found in the armpit, above the collarbone, and as far down as the abdomen—and it is impossible for a surgeon to remove all of this tissue. " *

This reminded me of Hot Topics - Breast Cancer 1, 2014. In May, 2014, I posted:  "The doctor who impressed me so much, Lisa Carey, MD, told us that some breast cancer cells are looking more like other cancer cells."  If various cancer cells can be mixed, this makes it easier for me to believe that our breast tissue cells can be mixed in with other body cells.

The article, SURGERY TO REDUCE THE RISK OF BREAST CANCER, gives a complete story of specific preventive treatments.  It's easy to read and if you are considering more surgery, it doesn’t take long to read all their news and facts.

I wish you health.


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