Categories Other Cancers

Me: A Story of a Breast Cancer Statistic

I never thought I was immune from getting cancer. I mean, one-in-eight women will develop breast cancer, so why not me?

I just never thought it would happen at age 44. With no family history.

When I didn’t hear back from the radiology clinic about my results, I called them. I needed to know. So they told me over the phone. Nothing was absorbed but the words: lump, malignant, 4.5 centimeters. Four and a half centimeters? How could that be?

I called my brother, who had made me the executor (or executress, as we like to call it) of his will. I told him I had waited too long to get this checked out. It was big and it was aggressive and, not only that, I needed two more biopsies. I was a goner.

I believed this for two weeks.

Then I met my surgeon. My glorious surgeon who told me she loved her job because she “makes people well.” My surgeon who shared with me and my college roommate, like we were in our twenties again, a love of wearing hats, scarves, and, yes, wigs. My wonderful surgeon who informed me that the other two biopsies were benign. And, my surgeon, the bearer of good news once more, who stated she removed a lump that was not 4.5 cm but rather 2.5 cm.

I researched my treatment options. I found out that researchers, hot on the pursuit of breast cancer with estrogen (ER+), progesterone (PR+), and HER2 receptors, had virtually overlooked my group: the Triple Negative cases, so called because they have none of these receptors and therefore drugs like Tamoxifen and Herceptin can’t be used to prevent a recurrence.

I decided to participate in a study looking at the drug Ixempra, which I was given.

Going through chemo was rough, having seven weeks of radiation on top of it was tougher yet, but nothing prepared me for what was to come next: medically-induced menopause, chronic fatigue (that lasted nearly a year), and neuropathy that frequently left my hands numb. I won’t lie – while I was prepared to have a rotten year with all the treatment and its side effects, in many ways the second year was harder. For me, anyway. Had I known what to expect, I think it could have been a little bit better.

I now call myself a cancer survivor. I’ve been cancer-free for one and a half years. And, hopefully, I am no longer the one-in-eight but rather the “one and done.”

Categories Other Cancers

What to Expect from a Colon Cancer Screening Test

If there is a history of colon cancer in your family then it is advisable to get a test, or even if suffering some sort of discomfort; it is always better to be sure. For the average person, there will be a certain amount of uncertainty because they do not know what is involved with a colon cancer screening test; but this is understandable.

It is always advisable to take the advice of a doctor, although a person must be comfortable with a test they are about to undergo. With this in mind a doctor must be advised of any fears or reservations before action is taken. If there is a history of colon cancer in your family, a doctor might suggest a colonoscopy.

Regardless of what is preferred by the patient, the doctor will advise of what to expect from a colon cancer screening test. If it is a colonoscopy, then the procedure will be explained in depth, as this is one of the most advanced types of test for this complaint. Although not pleasant, because it involves the insertion of a flexible tube being inserted into the rectum with a tiny video camera at the tip of it; the final result will be peace of mind.

Due to this being a most advanced type of screening if any abnormal tissues are found they can be removed through the scope. This procedure will also enable samples to be taken. The entire examination will take from twenty minutes to one hour.

Medication before colonoscopy might need to be adjusted and solid foods must not be eaten the day before the examination. A sedative may be used during the course of the examination, which could cause some side effects, and could take up to a day to completely wear off.

If tissue samples are taken, the patient may experience some bleeding, but knowing what to expect from a colon cancer screening test will help a person decide to proceed with the examination, to eliminate any fears that may be harbored. For the sake of an hour, and a little discomfort, any uncertainty and fears can be removed.

This is usually what a colon cancer screening test comprises of, and the slight discomfort that will be experienced is far better than the treatment that could be the result if it is left untreated.