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    sherm80 posted:
    A couple times now, when having a mammography, they say "incomplete" imaging, and then have to go through the process again. Is this usually due to more dense breasts, and thus harder to see the breast? And why are more dense breasts considered a risk factor for breast cancer? Obviously, this is a genetic happening, having more dense breasts??
    rachael67 responded:
    Dense breasts can definitely be one of the causes for incomplete data from a mammogram. So, too, can inept techs and radiation docs, and older, less efficient machinery. (It's suprising how the angle of the mammogram can make a big difference.)

    If this is an ongoing problem, I would offer a few bits of advice: First, seek a breast care center to do your mammograms; one with digital mammography equipment. (Both the machine and the folks who deal 24/7 with breast issues will help greatly!)

    You might also want to seek getting an ultrasound and MRI as each offer a different approach to viewing breast tissue.

    Above all, please sit down and discuss this fully with your physicain. Ask him the same questions you asked here, and explore the issue fully. No need to place you in "worry-ville" if it isn't necessary, right?

    Good luck!

    Just when the caterpillar thought her world was over, she became a butterfly! Don't give up five minutes before the miracle!!
    jenna291 replied to rachael67's response:
    The dense breast issue is a tough one. I had a clear mammography in June 2007 and in November found a lump which turned out to be 3cm stage II breast cancer. I was totally shocked considering the mammogram showed nothing unusual, but was told later that it is only 90% accurate in women with dense breast tissue. This is unacceptable. I feel the technology is there and would love to see more funds we are raising for breast cancer going to more accurate equipment, particularly if mammography is missing many women. I have heard this way too many times. We must all be diligent with our own bodies. I reacted quickly after finding my lump. I shudder to think what would have happended had I waited. That being said about mammography, it still is a necessity, I only wish there was clearer technology for those of us with dense breast tissue. I have seen some of the amazing, detailed pictures from outer space, yet we still have trouble with digital mammography viewing inside dense brease tissue. Hopefully with so many people in Hollywood being diagnosed and therefore calling even more attention to this epidemic, technology will begin to advance more quickly and thereby eliminating some of the possibe unnecessity of chemotherapy.
    zotie6 replied to jenna291's response:
    On the breast density topic, I have had now 3 abnormal mammograms w/ ultrasound (being told my left breast is unusually very dense) over the last yr and after the 3rd one just last week, they told me yet again to come back in 6 months and that there were "slight changes" from the tests 6 months prior. Well, my gut didn't feel right so after talking to my sister about it I called my ob/gyn to bounce it off him to see what he thought. He hadn't gotten my results since he wasn't the one that ordered my original routine mammogram. He looked at the results/films and called me right away and referred me to a general surgeon for a second opinion. My appt is 12/30/10. I am thankful I went with my gut and took my sisters advise vs. just letting this go.
    shrylwench replied to zotie6's response:
    I have dense breasts and a history of breast cancer in the family. I had a normal mammogram in November of this year. I found a lump two weeks later which after biopsy was found to be cancer. They have ultrasound machines, 3d ultrasound machines and yesterday i had a breast MRI. My cancer did not show on the two mammograms I've had. The first one mid november and the diagnostic mammogram I had once I found the lump. The ultrasound showed the lump and they could tell it's not a cyst. I would love to know why they don't use these technologies on people like us instead of mammogram which is useless. You did the right thing not letting it go. I found mine at 1cm and the breast specialist said if it had been deeper I would not have felt it. Good luck!
    kainpa replied to shrylwench's response:
    I'm new to this community. I'm a 54 old who just found out a few weeks ago that I had breast cancer. I had a simple mastectomy on 12-13-10. The results of a PET Scan showed no cancer in other parts of my body. I also had the sentinel lymph node removal. Only one node removed and biopsied-no cancer in it. I also had dense breasts and a family history of breast cancer. In October, the results of my mammogram was normal. In November, I had a breast MRI which showed about a 3 centimeter suspicious lump. It was my suggestion to have the MRI due to my family history. After a needle biopsy, and the results were given to my doctor, the most awful news was given to me...breast cancer...Just like most of you, I barely heard anything else the doctor told me. I went back to the doctor yesterday for my follow up and now am facing possible chemo. I have an appt. with the oncologist on 1-4-11. I thought since my lymph nodes were good, I wouldn't have to have chemo. Again, questions I should have asked my doctor weren't even thought about until later. All I know is that this cancer can't be helped with hormone therapy. I still don't know what stage I'm in or what exact type of breast cancer it is. I'm too emotional right now to think straight. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated.
    judyfams replied to kainpa's response:
    I am so sorry that you have to go through this at all, much less during the holidays. My heart goes out to you, but you need to know that your cancer was found early and can be treated.

    You should ask your oncologist if a test called the Oncotype DX test can be done to determine the DNA of your specific tumor and its % chance of recurrence over the next 10 years. Also this test can help determine whether or not chemo will be beneficial. The only problem is if the results of this test come back in the intermediate range - which means there are no statistics yet in this range to show the benefit of chemo.

    Also since you say your cancer would not respond to hormone therapy , you might have a type of breast cancer called triple negative which is usually treated with some kind of chemotherapy.

    You really should ask your oncologist for a copy of your pathology report which should tell you at least the type, stage and grade of your cancer.

    Did your surgeon mention the need for you to have any form of radiation for you based on the location of the tumor removed. Sometimes if the tumor was near the chest wall radiation is also recommended.

    Do some research on the internet or get Dr. Susan Love's book on breast cancer to help you know what to expect and what to ask your doctors as you try to take an active part in making decisions about your treatment.

    Much good luck to you and please stay with us and let us know how you are doing. We are all here to support you as we know what you are going through.

    kainpa replied to judyfams's response:
    Thanks Judy! when I see the oncologist next week, I will make sure I ask about that test and the chance of recurrence. That was one queston my surgeon recommended me to ask--find out what the percentage would be if I had chemo and the chance of the cancer coming back and if I don't have chemo what percentage chance of it coming back.Also, I'm going to get copies of the pathology report and all the other test results I've had. My surgeon really didn't say if I would have to have radiation or chemo, just to go see the oncologist and she will discuss the best treatment for me. I am going to check out that book you suggested. I need all the info I can get. My mom and sister both have had breast cancer. My mom had it probably 15-20 years ago. She had a mastectomy and then radiation and was on some type of cancer med for 5 years. She hasn't had any recurrance of cancer. My sister had it 6 years ago. She also had a mastectomy and 5 months of chemo and then radiation and 5 years of the cancer med. She told me her type of cancer was also agressive, but she is doing good now. She had cancer in 1 lymph node, so the did remove about 5 of them. I only had the one removed with no cancer in it. I am having pain and stiffness in my arm pit. Not sure when that goes away. I have to go back to work next week, so I hope this won't be bothersome. Anyways, thank you so much for all your helpful info and best wishes and a Happy Healthy New Year to you and everyone that visits this "community." I'll keep in touch...
    judyfams replied to kainpa's response:
    I am so glad that you have such great suppport at home from your mom and sister and they have had such good outcomes - lets' think positive - the third time has to be the charm!

    I too had armpit pain after my sentinel node biopsy and did the exercises on the wall for that and rigged up a towel on my headboard that I could grasp to elevate my arm as much as possible. I tried to constantly elevate my arm and even slept on my back with 2 or 3 pillows under my arm/armpit to keep it raised even while I slept. This just helps the fluid drain out of the arm since the lymph system in that area was traumatized due to the surgery. As the incision heals, the pain will lessen.

    Good luck next week with your appointment at the oncologist. Let us know how it goes.

    Happy and healthy new year to you and your family!

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