Thursday, November 21, 2013

Should I be worried?



So, someone close to me said their mammogram came back with "teeny, tiny specks of calcification" in one breast.  They have to have a needle biopsy done.  She was told it's usually 80% benign.

Obviously the odds are in the favor of everything being fine but of course, I'm worried.

Has anyone been through this?  How can I be there for her?  (What to say, what not to say while she waits to get the biopsy)  She's actually more scared of the biopsy process than the result.  So is it like really painful or is it just over so fast that the anticipation was worse?

(If you don't feel comfortable answering in the comments, feel free to email me)

====================
Like this post? Don't miss another one...subscribe via email or RSS feed. (Or you can follow me on Facebook and Twitter )

12 comments:

  1. I don't have any experience in this matter but I will just say that this stresses the importance of getting a mammogram and getting it often enough that you can catch things early.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely! When I had my baseline done 2 years ago, I couldn't believe how much the procedure had been maligned. It's literally like slapping your boob on a plate. There was no "smooshing" or "vice" feeling like people have said. (I'm sure it's a different story for a less endowed woman) These horror stories need to stop, they're scaring women into NOT having them done.

      Delete
  2. I work at a major hospital that focuses on breast care, and a needle biopsy is a very common "second opinion" to a mammogram. It's a giant machine, and while I wouldn't say its painless, its not terrible. Its essentially a giant needle with a hole in the middle (think of a deep hole punch) where it plucks out a tiny tiny tube of tissue to be analyzed. It sounds a lot scarier than it is, and the anticipation of it and the unknown is more scary than the actual procedure. Susan B Komen has great videos on how the procedure actually is and what she will go through, if you are interested in understanding more.

    http://ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/CoreNeedleBiopsy.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I saw Shannon Tweed get a core needle biopsy done on their reality show and the sound of the hole punch was like "HOLY CRAP!" I watched the video and that definitely wasn't the same thing I saw but yeah, I'll refrain from passing that on because she'd cancel the appt if she saw that! LOL I'm the kind of person that likes to arm myself with knowledge, she's kind of a head burier. I was kind of hoping for a fine needle aspiration for her but no such luck. Thanks for passing that on!

      Delete
  3. All you can do is make sure she knows she has your support. Offer to drive her to the hospital and sit with her if she doesn't have someone else. Or make her a nice dinner that she can just heat and eat that night and enough for leftovers the next day because she will be sore.

    My late MIL had more than one breast biopsy done (3 I think) and all of them came back negative but it was always scary. I don't really know what else to tell you. I bet the information from the Komen foundation would be a great place to start. They may even have advice from cancer survivors for how they wish friends/family had given support.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June of this year by needle biopsy. I also work in oncology. I just finished chemo and still have bilateral mastectomy and radiation to go. I think the huge machine that Kerry might be talking about is for stereotactic breast biopsies. A regular core biopsy is just a handheld device. So it depends on which she is having done. The doctor who did the biopsy was sure to tell me when the popping sounds were coming. The only part that hurt was the shot to numb the area which stung for a couple of moments. As far as support, I would offer to provide a ride if you can and to wait in the waiting room. I was going to go by myself and glad that my daughter and a friend ended up taking me. Tell her your there for her no matter what the results. Regarding mammograms, mine have always been painful especially if I scheduled them the week before my period but I've always sucked it up because it needs to be done and it only lasts a few moments.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Best of luck to your friend! It sounds like they are just being thorough. I know it's scary. I've had several done through the years.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I was diagnosed last year, and the best thing you can do is remind her that the odds are in her favor. The most stressful time for me was waiting for the results, so offer to spend time with her and follow her lead. She may want to talk about it, or she may prefer to distract herself. I had one friend who when hearing that I was waiting for my results, told me "Well if you do have cancer, have both breasts removed at once!" I really didn't need to hear that advice!! BTW, I had a lumpectomy and a few lymph nodes removed, followed by radiation. It was pretty easy and now I just take a pill every day. I got lucky, and most women who get breast cancer end up dying from something else.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have those as well in both my breasts (also have fibrocystic breasts). I had to get mammograms every 6 months for 18 months starting at age 38 (size J breasts...you can imagine the amusement park of fun I had with that). There is a difference between a needle biopsy and the "core" biopsy. With my mom's cancer, she said the core one was far worse than the "standard" one. I think partly with the core one, it was because they laid her down on the table on her stomach with her breast hanging down through a hole in the table, so that gravity didn't feel good to begin with. Depending on your friend's personality, laughter is the best form of therapy. Keeping things light can be a relief to the mental anguish that's going on in her head. Not everyone responds the same way, though, but knowing her personality the way you do, you'll know the best course to take.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have known two women who have had abnormal mammograms and needed to have biopsies. In those situations, I would say the anxiety of waiting for the results outweighs going through the procedure. Luckily, they were both negative. My former neighbor/dear friend was diagnosed with stage 3, aggressive breast cancer this year, at the ripe age of 32. It has been absolutely heartbreaking. I would let your friend lead the conversation. If you get vibes that she wants to discuss it, then I would. If she gives off vibes that she doesn't want to discuss it, then talk to her like you normally would, and give her some laughs and keep her occupied if she is anxious about the results.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I had a needle biopsy several years ago. It was performed at the local Breast center by the doctor there. I was also more terrified of the actual procedure than the possible outcome! I was pleasantly surprised when there was no pain to speak of...as said above, maybe a sting from the numbing injection, but that was it! The doctor explained every step of the procedure before doing it so I knew what to expect. My husband went with me, but I think the most comfort came from my sister who had one and let me know there was minimal pain involved.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I'm getting to this post kind of late, so God willing your friend's biopsy turned up cancer free. EFF cancer!
    2012 we lost dad to lung cancer and I remember when he was first diagnosed I asked the doctor what we could do for him.
    His answer made sense to me. He said to do our best to surround dad with positive energy and do our best to keep his spirits up. Keep him comfortable, happy and don't let him even think about quitting.
    hoping the best for your friend

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for taking the time to comment! I appreciate thoughtful readers like you! If your comment doesn't show up right away, check back in a few minutes. I promise it'll get posted. The system can get a little glitchy. (Rude or spammy comments will be deleted. Fair warning.)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...