My MRI yesterday showed that the area that was problematic last summer had cleared, but two other areas lit up. After about two hours of multiple mammograms and an ultrasound, I was cleared for being fine, but needing to come back again in six months.
This article in today’s Plain Dealer accurately describes that MRIs should not be used routinely for all women and my experience, even as a high-risk woman, is exactly why: MRI technology, when used for breast cancer detection, still requires follow-up – a lot of follow up. After last summer’s scare, I had multiple mammograms and ultrasounds because of the MRI and the clinicians said: come back in six months.
The two doctors quoted in the PD article, Dr. Alice Rim and Dr. Rosemary Leeming, are the absolutely tops here and I highly doubt there’s anyone in the country more capable of giving advice for which detection techniques best serve which women. I’m under the care of both (I feel like anyone who’s read this blog already knows this but for those who don’t: I’m clinically defined as high risk because my mother was diagnosed at 44 (my current age), her mother died of breast cancer at 52, my mother’s father’s sister (aunt) died of breast cancer in her early 70s, her daughter died of bone cancer in her 50s, and her daughter had breast cancer in her 30s. In addition, my mother’s brother has had four bouts with cancer (prostate and other – I’m not sure which); I went through genetic testing, because I’m an Ashkenazic Jew, eight years ago and my mother tested negative for the known mutations at that time; I had children later in life and that is also considered a risk).
That said, if you think you need a test, get it – ask for it, demand it if you think you need it. But don’t be afraid to trust the doctors, either. Especially if it’s one of these two women, or doctors who work under them. I’m 100% confident: they don’t want you to have breast cancer either. I asked the same question probably five different ways yesterday to be sure that Dr. Rim was convinced that what I could see on the mammogram and the MRI was nothing, based on the ultrasound and her knowledge and experience.
And I trust her, even if I still have in the back of mind, could those areas be some pre-cancerous growth? At some point, you have to trust and move on.
At least for six months.