Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is national Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the television and print media are doing a good job of bringing exposure to the topic.

I’d like to make a contribution as well.

My wife is 38 years old. She has always been in good health and hardly ever been sick. She rarely even gets colds or the flu.

She gave birth 3 times in her early to mid-twenties and breast-fed our first child. There is no history of cancer in her family…none at all.

My wife found out 3 weeks ago that she has breast cancer.

She had a lump in her breast and ignored it for a while before finally going to get it checked out. Ten days ago they performed a modified radical mastectomy, removing one of her breasts and some lymph nodes under her arm. She now faces 6 months of chemotherapy followed by radiation and she will have to take some kind of pill every day for the next 5 years.

She had never thought that it would happen to her. Neither did I.

I’m here to tell you ladies that although I hope it won’t happen to you, I’ll remind you that it can happen. She wasn’t even sick…just a lump…

Please perform the self-examination and if you even THINK that you’ve located a small lump, get it checked out IMMEDIATELY. A lump found in your breast might not be cancerous, but you won’t know that unless you get it checked. I believe yearly mamagrams are recommended for women once they reach their mid-thirties.

Thanks for listening to me.

Contestant #3

A topic near and dear to my heart. My mom had breast cancer as well. She had a mastectomy recovered to live another 30 happy years cancer free. Every year I participate in the run for the cure to try to do my part in aid of research that will hopefully one find a cure for this painful illness. My prayers are with your wife, you and your family for her full recovery and a healthy and happy future!!

We are, each of us angels with only one wing;
and we can only fly by
embracing one another

{{{{{{{{{C#3}}}}}}}}} {{{{{{{{{{and spouse}}}}}}}}

Thank you for sharing – I’ve been putting off that baseline mammogram for sometime now, and I hereby commit I WILL make that phone call this week.

Good luck and God bless – prayers are with you and your wife. Keep us informed, mmm?


I agree. And for this month, I’ll be more than happy to provide breast exams to anyone who will ask!

(Kidding, Heather!)

Yer pal,

C#3 - thank-you for sharing that. You may never know that you’ve helped someone; not everyone could post something that personal, but stories like your wife’s personalize this disease & help others break through their denial. Ladies - 11% (1 in 9) of us will get breast cancer. Not all of us will be 70 at the time.
Guys - it’s much less likely, but do not ignore a sweling or change in your breasts, either.

There is no absolute consensus on mammography recommendations; different agencies, with different agendas, provide different advice. A middle of the road approach seems to be one between 35 & 40, and then every 1-2 years from 40-50, and then every year from 50 on. These guidelines may vary, based on risk factors, & do not apply if you feel a lump.

Most breast cancers in women under 40, ARE discovered by the women themselves. (or their partners) Breast self exams are the key to early diagnosis, and any lump should be checked out promptly. Most (in women under 40) will not be cancerous, and a variety of techniques may be used to help determine whether a given lump is cancerous or not. Ultimately, some may require a biopsy, but these heal with no change in contour, minimal scarring, and terrific peace of mind. I know; I’ve had 2, including one at age 17.

C#3, I send my best wishes towards you & your family, along with some 1999 breaking information. There is a class of medications called bisphosphonates; Alendronate (Fosamax) is the best known of these. These have been used in women with breast cancer to help guard against osteoporosis; recent studies have shown unexpectedly decreased frequency of metastasis (spread) in breast cancer patients taking drugs in this class. I’m not usually one of the first to embrace a new treatment, but I’ve made an exception here. E-mail me off-line if you want more information, but I do suggest that you & your wife talk to her doctor(s) about this.

Good luck to you both!

Sue from El Paso

C#3: I’m SO sorry to hear about that. I hope that you and your wife are dealing well. Wish I could offer more than my best wishes and lots of cyberhugs, I really do.

“ChrisCTP-…the sweetheart of the SDMB…” --Diane
Chris’ Homepage: Domestic Bliss


Best wishes to you and your wife. Breast cancer in itself isn’t even that dangerous. I mean, to put it very bluntly, the removal of a breast cures the problem if you get to it early enough.

An aunt of mine had breast cancer about ten years ago. The doctors recommended a partial amputation of the breast. Two years later, the breast cancer was back again, now calling for a complete amputation. Intensive chemo after that, the works.

To no avail.

About 5 years ago, it turned out the cancer had now spread to her glands and was beyond operability. A few weeks later, 4 tumors in her head were found.

She died in February 1996 at the age of 49. There isn’t a goddamn day that goes by that I don’t miss her. She was one of the most courageous and humourous ('till the VERY last day!) people I’ve been lucky enough to know.

Carying her coffin to the grave with two of my cousins and an uncle was the single most difficult thing that I ever have done, and most likely will ever do. Nobody should have to go through that.

Most of the doctors say, in hindsight, that she probably would have been cured of cancer had they taken away the entire breast when cancer was determined 10 years ago. This is now the common procedure anyway in The Netherlands, which is (and was then) one of the leading countries in terms of cancer research and operations.

If this admittedly rather depressing story gets any of you down, I’m very sorry. I just wanted to make absolutely clear that whenever you find a lump and it turns out to be cancer, DON’t let anyone talk you into a partial amputation. Not a doctor, not a friend, not your husband.

Chop the damn thing off. It might save your life. Cosmetics ain’t worth your life now, are they ?

I do apologize that my knowledge and vocabulary of the English language are by no means effective enough to express myself correctly in this matter - I just whish I haven’t offended anyone by putting things harshly, but it’s the damn truth and I’ll do anything to prevent anyone (even a stranger living on the other side of the planet) from going through what my family has gone through.

C#3, once more, my warmest wishes to you and your wife. I hope she has a speedy recovery and is back on her feet again soon. I’m not a religious man, so you won’t be in my prayers, but rest assured you guys are on my mind right now…


“You know how complex women are”

  • Neil Peart, Rush (1993)

Well said and from the heart coldfire!!

We are, each of us angels with only one wing;
and we can only fly by
embracing one another

Thanks Sue. I suppose I shouldn’t worry too much about the language & getting the message across and all. Nobody’s gonna take entries in a thread like this lightly.


“You know how complex women are”

  • Neil Peart, Rush (1993)



I hope you didn’t take my joke as making light of your plight. It was not intended that way, only as a comedic diversion.

I hope everything turns out okay for you and your family.

The Prince of Darkness sure took my hint :slight_smile:


“You know how complex women are”

  • Neil Peart, Rush (1993)

My best wishes and prayers go to you C#3.

I’d like to add that since there isn’t a Testicular Awareness month (I have no idea why), that all males should be sure to periodically check for lumps down THERE to, once you turn 18 or so.

CanadianSue: I think those runs you do are fantastic.

You say “cheesy” like that’s a BAD thing.

When I was a junior in college, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. They caught it early - before it was even a tumor - and she opted for the modified radical mastectomy, a later prophylactic mastectomy of the other breast and reconstruction of both. Seven years later, she’s still cancer free.

Knowing my own lousy family history of cancer (both my mom and a maternal aunt), I will get my first mammogram when I turn 30 and probably do it bi-yearly after that.

C3, thank you for sharing your story. I wish the best for you and your wife. May she make a speedy recovery.

Sola bona lingua est mortua lingua.

I have some information on this subject as well. I have faced this horrible topic for the first time ever TWICE in two weeks (my mom and a friend of my wife). My advice is to make sure you do the self-(or partner) checks even if you are getting regular mammograms. My mom was into stage 3 (thank God not 4) and she gets an annual mammogram. As incredible as it may seem, my wife’s friend’s lump was also NOT detected with the mammogram (!!)

My mom’s doctor (no people person he) even chewed her out for not finding it herself. He told her the mammogram was only 80% effective at finding lumps. I assume he meant under some particular size.

Anyway…learn to do breast self-examinations! Teach your partners, too. It sure can’t help to have another person to remember to do the exams.

Contestant # 3, my heart goes out to your wife and your entire family. My grandmother died of breast cancer in her early 60s and now my dear Aunt is going through breast cancer treatment.

On a positive note, my Aunt’s prognosis is excellent, there have been real advances in treatment since my Grandmother died. She’s gone through two chemo treatments and has only two more to go. BTW, the first chemo treatment was a piece of cake for her and the second knocked her on her ass, but only for a few days, so if your wife needs chemo it won’t necessarily be as bad as it is portrayed (everybody reacts to it differently).

Since my Aunt discovered that she has breast cancer, I’ve begun sending out monthly reminders to all of my friends & family to do their breast self-exams. It really can save your life.

“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” Albert Einstein

C#3 – Keep your spirits up! Cancer is not the death sentence it used to be. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 42; had a radical mastectomy and six months of chemo; and is now cancer-free at 57. It was the hardest thing my family ever went through, but we did get through it – and you will too. Be sure to keep your kids in the loop (unless they’re really young); the only mistake my mom made (in my opinion) was attempt to keep her health a secret from us (initially) in the mistaken belief we wouldn’t worry so much then. Believe me, it’s better to know the whole story than feel you’re being left out of something so important and life-changing.

I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

C3, this post just nailed me right in the gut. My grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993. She had a mastectomy, and we thought she was fine after that. She didn’t follow up like she should have, though. The cancer metastasized (sp?), and now she has bone cancer. There’s nothing they can do for her now.

Telling you (& everyone) this is not meant to be a downer. It’s a reminder…keep all your doctor’s appointments afterwards, no matter how good you feel. Thank you for the reminder too, C3. I’m not good at remembering to do my self-exams. I will try to get better about it.

I’m thinking of you, C3.

Shameless post intended specifically to move this thread back up toward the top!


Adding my best wishes and prayers to all the rest, I want to thank c#3 for taking the time to think of us when so much else must be on his mind.

One of the groups with which I interact on the web has agreed to send a monthly reminder to us all. It’s a good thing, and we are all grateful for the person who agreed to be a nag.

I agree with Sue about Fosamax. A number of people in our group use it to prevent the breakdown of bone caused by medication. They all tolerate it well and have good results. Talk to your doctor about this option