Sunday, July 25, 2010

Breast cancer screening - why not?

Recently there was an announcement that breast cancer screening rates are around 80%, which while good, is not 100%. Advocates would like to see the rates higher. Yes, it would be nice to see them higher but I do not think it will ever be 100%. I think cancer screening tests are like genetic testing to some - they simply do not want to know. Some of us will think that it is common sense to get tested for something that would be caught earlier and it might be a lifesaving test. Others I think will say they simply don't want to know - if they are meant to get cancer, they will. I think this is also true of colonoscopies.

Personally I don't want to be genetically tested to see if I am more likely to develop a nasty disease (I already know I am more likely to get cancer so I'm quite happy with that). Is it like reading tea leaves? I don't know. They say that a genetic test will tell if you are more likely to get something but there is no guarantee you will get it.

Look at the BRCA gene testing for breast and ovarian cancer. It simply tells if you are more likely to get either type of cancer. Many women upon hearing that they are positive for this gene, have an oopherectomy and a bilateral mastectomy, just so they won't worry. Hmmm... I'm not sure I would go that far as to have preventive surgery. I think I would prefer increased vigilant watching and testing instead. My doctors are more likely to send me off for ttests than to tell me to wait and see.

Basically this all comes down to personal preference. Do you want to know or don't you? Its your body, your choice, your decision.

Yesterday I did not drive on pain meds. I walked, or attempted to walk. I went to the hairdressers (what an old fashioned word - I don't get my hair dressed, I get it cut) and got my hair cut. I sat while I was there so walking home was not as bad as on Friday. But I was not pain free. Today my goal is to be able to survive on one pain pill at a time instead of two. Yesterday I went from freezing cold to really hot/flushed all day long. It drove me crazy and then I looked up the side effects of my pain meds and there it was 'flushing'.

Today so far, my pain level isn't too bad. I did feed the cat, which meant I could bend down. But I did get up in the middle of the night and take another pain pill. But I will take another one shortly. My life on pain meds: I can't focus on anything. I can't read anything remotely intellectual (my brain works at the level of People magazine). I watched four (yes really) episodes of 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' in a row (no wonder my brain was so fried).

1 comment:

linda said...

I hope your pain subsides soon. Drooling in front of the television is only fun for a few days.

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I started this blog when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. Blogging really helped me cope with my cancer and its treatment. Howe...