Mammogram didn’t detect cancerous lymph nodes
Re The cancer risk women need to know about,
Oct. 30 For 20 years or more, I had annual mammograms at the CIBC Breast Cancer Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital. My last clear mammogram was in February 2014. In September of that year, I found a lump and in November, a 15-centimetre tumour was removed from my breast as well as 14 positive lymph nodes.
Even my surgeon was shocked. It wasn’t a secret that I had dense breasts. I was also told that calcification identified on the mammograms was nothing to worry about.
Since the surgery, the cancer has migrated to the lining of my stomach and my bowel. This metastasis was also undiagnosed for over a year, despite much physical discomfort and several CT scans. It was my naturopathic doctor who suggested getting a gastro-endoscopy/colonoscopy, which was where the problem was finally identified.
Years ago, a nurse practitioner used to do the preliminary breast examinations manually before the patient was sent to see the technician and mammogram machine. Especially in the case of dense breasts, this physical examination by educated hands was critical, in my opinion. It’s costing the medical system much more now to keep me alive than the payment of these nurses’ salaries. Alexa DeWiel, Toronto