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Mammograms are not perfect

October 14, 2011
Morning Journal News


October is breast cancer awareness month. This is my sixth year following surgery for breast cancer. I thank God every day for the radiologist at East Liverpool City Hospital who read my mammogram and took the next medical step to save my life. I, like many women, thought I had nothing to worry about because there was no history of breast cancer in my family and I faithfully had mammograms for 17 years.

What I was never told, however, was that my breast tissue was dense and that makes it very difficult to detect cancer. My first doctor's visit post-op, I learned that the tumor had been growing for approximately 10 years.

As women age the breast tissue becomes less dense and that is how the radiologist detected "something." A sonogram was done the same day and he was able to see and diagnose my tumor.

I am asking all women reading this letter today to ask your doctor on your next visit if your breast tissue is dense and if it is, insist on a sonogram instead of a mammogram.

We must take responsibility for our own health and the only way we can do that is to be well informed.

If just one woman has a sonogram because of reading this letter and it saves a life, it is worth it.

Please spread the word to your friends and relatives that while mammograms are a great way to detect cancer if your breast tissue is not dense, it is almost useless if the tissue is dense.

The life you save may be your own.

Rosemary Mackall

Chester, W.Va.



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