Sunday, 1 November 2009

"Sunday Times" & Ductal Carcinoma

When I started this blog in June 2009 I started looking at the possible causes of my lymphoma, particularly those related to stress. I rather glossed over one very difficult episode in my life, ductal carcinoma in situ which I mentioned on 29th June. An article in today’s Sunday Times criticising the Government for not ensuring warnings about mistreatment in their encouragement to women to have mammograms brings that back in focus.

If you have been following this blog you will find I am not entirely enamoured with the medical profession. In the late 1990s I was a fit, healthy woman. My then doctor was constantly wanting me to have a mammogram, not that anything was wrong, but it was like having a car MOT or maybe the practice got extra points for referrals. This was the worst mistake I have ever made.

I was recalled to the hospital to have a needle biopsy and faked a fainting fit half way through but not before they had made a start. Then I was told the shattering news. I had ductal carcinoma in situ. This is where pre-cancerous cells are detected in the milk ducts of the breast but haven’t developed into a lump or moved anywhere else in the breast itself.

I was told two ABSOLUTE LIES. Number 1 – it always developed into full-blown cancer and Number 2 – the only treatment was a mastectomy.

Even in my highly emotional state I knew that Number 1 was illogical – how could they tell that every case of ductal carcenoma in situ always developed into cancer – unless every woman who developed cancer had previously had a mammogram (that in itself could be a consideration). I was hustled into making an immediate decision by the scaremongering that hospitals can be very good at. Breast cancer was still regarded then as a major killer of women and I had my family to consider. My mother asked me why they could not treat the condition by laser – quite an intelligent remark in the circumstances. In the end I had to agree to the operation, not because I thought it was necessary, but because I was afraid that the needle biopsy might have disturbed an otherwise quite discreet site.

This operation set off a chain of events which were physically, emotionally and financially very, very costly……

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