Conversation Archives - Stories of the Girls

aa Whenever I get a mammogram, it really hurts. Any advice?

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A:  Many women complain of breast tenderness, even without pressure on the breasts. Mammograms apply pressure to flatten the breast tissue in order to get an adequate picture of the breast tissue structure. This pressure only lasts for several seconds, and is then released. Some women report taking ibuprofen an hour before their mammogram lessens this discomfort.

Best regards,
Heidi Memmel, MD

The expressed opinions, views provided are not intended to treat and/or diagnose any medical condition. When making any decisions regarding your health care, you should always consult with your physician.

aa Q. Both my breasts hurt and are very sore. I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary that would cause pain. They hurt whether I’m walking or laying or down, they still hurt. And this happened overnight. Taking OTC pain relievers don’t help.

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A:Pain is the most common breast complaint and is typically hormonally related. However, if there is a focal area of pain that persists through a menstrual cycle, a diagnostic workup with mammography and ultrasound is recommended to make sure there isn’t something else going on.

Best regards,
Sarah Friedewald, MD

The expressed opinions, views provided are not intended to treat and/or diagnose any medical condition. When making any decisions regarding your health care, you should always consult with your physician.

aa Q. I was diagnosed with breast cancer after I found a lump in my right breast. I went in for my biopsy and found that it was an aggressive strand. Within two weeks it had spread to the other breast causing me to have a double mastectomy. Now I am faced with reconstruction issues. Is there a time limit when I should have it done?

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A:If you have not yet had your surgery, ask your surgeon if you are a candidate for immediate reconstruction, which is performed at the time of surgery.  If you have already had your surgery with no reconstruction, then your doctor might want you to wait until after chemotherapy and/or radiation to have your reconstruction.  Talk to a plastic surgeon about timing, and about your options.  They may offer you either a tissue expander with later replacement by an implant, or reconstruction using your own tissue from the abdomen or back.  If you have radiation after a mastectomy, then they may encourage you to do the reconstruction using your own tissue.  Don’t be afraid to seek several opinions from plastic surgeons, and choose who you are most comfortable with.

Best regards,
Heidi Memmel, MD

The expressed opinions, views provided are not intended to treat and/or diagnose any medical condition. When making any decisions regarding your health care, you should always consult with your physician.

aa Q. My right breast itches often along with some uncomfortable pain within the breast. There is no history of breast cancer in my family.

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A: Itching and pain should be evaluated by a physician, who will likely recommend a mammogram and ultrasound. Itching is usually not associated with a breast cancer, but it’s important for a physician to evaluate the skin, especially around the nipple, for any signs of scaling, redness and erosion. Pain should also be evaluated by a physician. Breast cancer usually does not cause pain, but a mammogram and ultrasound are still important to determine if there is an underlying cause for the pain, such as a cyst or mass.

Best regards,
Heidi Memmel, MD

The expressed opinions, views provided are not intended to treat and/or diagnose any medical condition. When making any decisions regarding your health care, you should always consult with your physician.

aa Q. Is it normal to feel lumps in your breasts? Should I be worried?

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A:When you are concerned, it is always better to have a skilled breast surgeon do a physical exam and order the appropriate images.

Best regards,
Roseanne Krinski, MD

The expressed opinions, views provided are not intended to treat and/or diagnose any medical condition. When making any decisions regarding your health care, you should always consult with your physician.

aa Q. I felt a lump in my breast two years ago. I went to my doctor and she sent me to get an ultrasound. Nothing was found but the lump was still there. Today I feel it again. It comes and goes. I am only 29 years old and I have asked to get a mammogram. There is no family history of breast cancer and I was told not to worry because I am so young. Can I get a mammogram regardless of my age and what I have been told?

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A:At our center, we do mammograms on patients 30 years and older. For women who are under 30, we start with ultrasound evaluation. Not only do we try to limit radiation exposure from the mammogram in young women, we often do not get significant information due to the extreme density of the breasts. That being said if the patient is at high risk of developing breast cancer, the youngest we will image is age 25.

Best regards,
Sarah Friedewald, MD

The expressed opinions, views provided are not intended to treat and/or diagnose any medical condition. When making any decisions regarding your health care, you should always consult with your physician.

 

aa Q. I had a mammogram in 2006 and my saline implant was damaged and needed to be replaced. I’m scared it will happen again. I’m 50. Is there a safe procedure for implants? Also is it normal for some spots of breast to be tender and sore and hurt when pressed?

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A: Mammograms are the best screening method for detecting a new breast cancer, and are recommended once a year beginning at age 40. It is relatively rare, but possible, that an implant ruptures due to a mammogram. The older an implant is, the more fragile, and the more likely to rupture. Digital mammograms and the newer 3D mammograms seem to use a bit less pressure upon compression, so look for a facility with newer technology.

Tenderness of the breast is quite common and is usually not a sign of breast cancer. If the tenderness is localized to one area, a mammogram, ultrasound, and exam by your physician are indicated.

Best regards,
Heidi Memmel, MD

The expressed opinions, views provided are not intended to treat and/or diagnose any medical condition. When making any decisions regarding your health care, you should always consult with your physician.

aa Q. I have two cysts in my left breast and the pain is unbearable. Sometimes I feel I have cancer or signs of breast cancer. What do you recommend for pain or more testing should be done? In my case, I have to do an ultrasound every six months.

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A: Cysts can be painful especially mid-cycle. Reducing caffeine intake may help, as well as ibuprofen. Aspiration of the cyst may also be helpful. That is a simple, short, office procedure that drains the fluid out of the cyst. The fluid from the cyst can also be sent for testing to rule out cancer. The two best tests for breast cancer screening and to evaluate cysts are mammogram and ultrasound.

Best regards,
Gale England, MD

The expressed opinions, views provided are not intended to treat and/or diagnose any medical condition. When making any decisions regarding your health care, you should always consult with your physician.

aa Q. Can the density in my breasts cause breast cancer?

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A: Dense breasts do not cause breast cancer. Women whose images are dense on mammogram may be at higher risk for breast cancer and are encouraged to have 3D tomograms of the breast. These provide more thorough imaging of the areas that are dense on routine mammograms.

Best regards,
Roseanne Krinski, MD

The expressed opinions, views provided are not intended to treat and/or diagnose any medical condition. When making any decisions regarding your health care, you should always consult with your physician.