A couple of days ago, I unexpectedly received the following email from a friend.
By the way...I had my annual gyn appt today, and I scheduled my mammo for next year while I was there. I was waiting for the receptionist to find a spot for me in Dec and I thought of your blog....and heard myself tell her...."set me up for an ultrasound following the mammo, too." Thank you.
I had recently written here of this friend and the suspicious results she received after her yearly mammogram. It drove me to rant about the need for ultrasounds in conjunction with mammograms. From personal experience, I believe each alone are not enough in detecting early stage breast cancer.
My friend's unclear results led to a follow up ultrasound which was thankfully, normal, but couldn't days of worry have been avoided if the ultrasound was included along with the mammo initially?
And what if it were and her mammo looked fine, but the ultrasound detected something suspicious? As mine did back in 2009? Where would I be today if that ultrasound weren't part of my yearly?
Where are the many women in that situation that didn't have the ultrasound? How long will they walk around before the cancer is discovered?
Yes, I'm breaking things down simplistically, when breast cancer screening is anything but simple. Many variables determine whether or not an ultrasound can or should be included in a yearly screening. Insurance coverage being a huge one. Family history, age, doctor recommendations, cost, just to name a few.
I know too much about breast cancer to say early detection will prevent all advanced breast cancer. I know that's not true. Some women never see it coming and there is no way around that. A cure needs to be found for them, and the causes of this disease uncovered as the only way to protect future generations from knowing it.
But for now, one woman hearing the early detection message made my day and that's why I'm sharing her email. Maybe someone else will get the message, fight for her ultrasound and save her life. Maybe one woman at a time, we'll make some progress.
It's a start. So, demand the ultrasound, tell me about it and make my day.