Thursday, February 07, 2008

Relief...and Reality

Mammogram is negative. At least for this year.

Had a brief, but interesting, interaction with the radiologist. "Everything is fine," she said, "but you might consider getting a breast MRI. And due to your family history, you might consider genetic testing."

I smiled wryly.

"It kind of feels like I'm sitting on a time bomb," I commented. "There really is no prevention."

"Well, there's secondary prevention - detecting it early," she replied.

Yeah. There's that.

This is the deal. I have a higher than normal risk of breast cancer. My mom had it. I had children (well, child) late, not early. I had chest x-rays as a child (due to a positive TB test). I am an Ashkenazi Jew (Eastern European roots). I might have the breast cancer gene. But as far as I know, the only thing I can do is keep getting mammograms and physical breast exams to catch it early. There is no prevention.

Here is some more info I found
Society Advises MRIs for Some at High Risk for Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer Info from the ACS

As I look through the information, there is precious little that I can actually do. I can't change my mother or my background. I can't take away the x-rays. I can't have my son earlier.

I should exercise more. I should eat healthier, less red meat. I should probably drink less alcohol (but do I want to???).

But in terms of radical prevention, like having my breasts removed, or taking medications that may prevent breast cancer but cause other diseases: no way.

And so....I wait....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad all is well. You're right that there's little to be done in our own lifetimes due to genetics and childhood. I do try to use as few chemicals as possible, since I firmly believe that our toxic environment contributes. It may not help me, given the crap I ate growing up, but my voting with my wallet might help someone else down the line.