"Breast Cancer does not hurt" said Celia's physician - so it must be a cyst.Name: Celia
Date of Diagnosis: December 29, 2010
Age at Diagnosis: 57
Stage of Diagnosis: Stage 3b
Time from "normal" mammogram to diagnosis: 3 months
How was cancer detected: by me
Celia's story: I awoke mid-November with a searing pain in my right breast and a lump that had appeared, seemingly, out of nowhere. I placed my hand on my breast and could not believe that it was as large as it was. My physician assured me that it had to be a cyst because, "Breast cancer doesn't hurt," and my annual September mammogram was "clear" as were all the previous ones.
In December I had a breast coil procedure done. On December 29, 2010 I was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma and with cancerous lymph - stage 3b. My aggressive tumor was in all 4 quadrants of my breast and measured 10 centimeters in length and 3 centimeters in depth.
What a shock. How could this happen? I had done everything correctly I believed. I ate well, exercised 4 to 5 times a week, did not smoke or do drugs, and did monthly self examinations. After doing research and getting copies of my real mammogram reports (something that had never occurred to me to ask for because I had received my postcards) I learned that I had dense breasts.
On my reports it stated: Breast Density-Dense breasts can impede mammogram results in diagnosis of disease. This important information has been there all along but never told to me - I felt angry and betrayed.
I have completed 16 weeks of chemotherapy, an emotionally and physically devastating mastectomy, and have had 19 out of 30 radiation treatments. My next step in this process is next year's reconstruction surgery that includes a 5 day hospital stay and 4 to 6 weeks recouperation.
Thank you for having a forum where women can urge other women to know their density and to be advocates for their own breast health.