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There’s Nothing Routine About A Breast Cancer Diagnosis


Pam Scott photoPam Scott’s sister missed her mammogram appointment and put off rescheduling it. Most women have done this with their mammograms or annual well-checks. We tell ourselves we’re too busy, the kids need us that day, it’s really not that important, we’ll go next month, or (more honestly), there pretty much isn’t anything we want to do less that. So we skip it.

Pam, however, did go in for her mammogram this year on August 5th.  Pam recalls, “I could kind of tell by the technician’s face that something wasn’t quite right, but you know they can’t say anything. I got the call the next day at noon that I needed to go back for another mammogram and an ultrasound.”  That second round of testing was more definitive, says Pam. “They said, ‘Yeah, there’s definitely something here.’’

Out of town for the next 10 days, Pam anxiously waited to get back to her Colorado home so she could go in for a biopsy. Within a few days, she received her biopsy results. “I met the surgeon on the 22nd and had surgery on the 28th,” says Pam, 51. “Stage one, invasive ductal carcinoma. It did not go to my lymph nodes, so I did not have to have chemo. I just started radiation yesterday. I have about six and a half weeks of that to do. It was caught early. I was very fortunate; I only had to have a lumpectomy.”

Pam isn’t quite out of the woods yet. She does still have a risk of breast cancer on the other side and a 6% chance of recurrence. “I’ll need to do multiple mammograms a year for a few years, and I’ll be on Tamoxifen for around five years. It’s made me a lot more aware of the importance of getting exams and listening to your body,” Pam says.

tutu medical alert braceletAfter breast cancer, there’s also a risk of lymphedema, so Pam started wearing Lauren’s Hope medical ID bracelets to prevent medical personnel from taking her blood pressure or inserting IVs on her affected side, actions that could induce lymphedema. “I wasn’t really a bracelet person before this. Now, I feel naked without my Lauren’s Hope bracelet,” says Pam, who has started a collection and says our pink Tutu medical alert bracelet is one of her current favorites.

What Do You Say To Women Who Skip Their Mammograms and Well-Woman Exams?

“It’s so important to get the exams. People of all ages, it’s not just over 40,” says Pam, whose sister did finally make that appointment and have her mammogram recently (which thankfully came back clean!). “There are a lot more women that are even younger than 40 who have breast cancer, and it’s just so important to know what’s normal, what feels normal. If something doesn’t feel normal, get in to your doctor. Yes, it’s a pain. It’s uncomfortable. But the alternative is worse. So much worse. A few minutes of pain is worth saving your life.”

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Mamogram is a word no women wants to think about..but a mamogram is what has saved my mothers life..yes u see my mom is an 83 yr.old lady who was diagonised with breast cancer and had a total breast removal in March 2013.. she has just finished radiation treatment 5 weeks worth..she is a suriver..I have since had a mamogram and am cancer free..but will concer it a chance to continue life.. as we are 4 generations of women thank you mom..so ladies a mamogram is not a bad word but not doing is a scary thing..I have since ordered a laurens hope braclet withe the breast cance ribbon..thank you
Posted @ Tuesday, October 22, 2013 2:51 PM by Armeda Marrero
Never miss your mammogram. It isn't that bad and the people who work with you are very nice. I've never missed in 30 years. My Dec. mammogram showed invasive ductal carcinoma; my left breast was removed. I am now in the process of reconstruction and I am so excited about it. I look and feel like a woman again.
Posted @ Tuesday, October 22, 2013 2:59 PM by Anita Marzorati
I can also say, "NEVER miss your mammogram." My aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer the day before her birthday in 2003. She went through chemo, radiation, a mastectomy, and reconstruction, and has now been cancer free for 11 years!!! She's my hero.
Posted @ Tuesday, October 22, 2013 11:39 PM by Kayla Kidwell
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