It’s got to go! The myth that breast cancer doesn’t hurt causes way too much pain! Like many myths, this one has roots in a fact. Compared to a breast cyst, which is often very tender to the touch, a cancerous lump usually doesn’t hurt when a woman or doctor feels it.
We hear many reports from women that go something like this:
I found this lump in my breast, so I went to see the doctor. It really hurt when he did the exam. He told me not to worry because breast cancer doesn’t hurt, but I am worried. Shouldn’t he have ordered a mammogram or ultrasound to see what it is?
Probably the doctor made a determination based on the shape, texture and tenderness of the lump that it was a cyst. I hope that what he said to the patient was, “Usually a painful lump like this is not breast cancer.” However, what the patient took away was the message that breast cancer doesn’t hurt.&nb...
"Will I die?" That's the first question that occurs to most people when they find out they have breast cancer. The answer is, "Of course you will die, but probably not for a long time." There is an excellent survival rate for breast cancer these days. Most women live to be old ladies.
"Will it hurt?" That's the second question. The answer this time is "yes."
Pain is a part of medical treatment. Depending on the type of treatments you have, the pain may be range from uncomfortable to severe, but many strategies can minimize it.
Pain is a very subjective experience. Each person experiences it her own way. My own measuring stick for pain is how it compares to my hysterectomy. Nothing in breast cancer treatment has been nearly so bad. But I'm sure some of you will tell me about how your hysterectomy was easy compared to a recent procedure you had for breast cancer.
Women who have given bir...
Our annual meeting is this weekend, so I hope to have some good news regarding breast cancer treatment in future posts. I also have a backlog of questions that I will answer from readers – please keep those coming. More importantly, I wanted to make sure you knew about two disconcerting bits of cancer news , which have made their way to the lay press. The first news item is that the National Institute of Health, and the National Cancer Institute (the largest branch of the NIH) had a decline in their funding in 2007. This decline in research power was called “extremely discouraging” by Dr Allen Lichter, the president of our professional organization. A bit of an understatement. The NCI funds cooperative group clinical research trials that you probably have access to at your oncologist's office. For example, the clinical trials that showed giving herceptin adjuvantly can increase cure rate by 40% was available to our patients through this NCI funding mechanism...
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