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Breast Cancer & Aspirin ... and reading my radiology reports

Posted Feb 19 2010 12:00am
A recent study showed that breast cancer survivors who took an aspirin a day had a lower chance of recurrence, and a lower risk of dying from breast cancer. Here's a link to the study: The results were so significant that I've bought some baby aspirin and have taken the first of my daily doses. It may sound silly to some, but if there's something as harmless as aspirin that may be helpful in my situation, there's no reason why I shouldn't take it. I've seen some comments on Facebook from people who say that it may just provide a false sense of prevention. But no one's saying that about all the other treatments out there. I've had a mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, and Tamoxifen and my cancer still came back. Does that mean that since none of those things cured my cancer forever that I should discount them? No! Reminder: There is no cure for cancer, people! If 100's of women received some sort of cancer preventative effects from taking an aspirin a day, count me in!

In a previous post, I recounted the latest issues with my Stage IV recurrence ("Update on Kim," January 17, 2010.") Usually I request copies of my results (labs, radiology reports, etc.,) but this time, I didn't for some reason. A week or so later, I logged in to mymdanderson, a system where patients can view their health records, get information on their diagnosis, review billing issues, etc. I noticed that my recent CT scans, bone scan, and labs were available for viewing. I viewed. Let's just say I was even more shocked reading them than hearing Dr. Green explain them. The reports sounded MUCH WORSE than what Dr. Green told us. Dr. Green had said that "one" lymph node in my chest had grown; the report used words like "multiple," "progressive metastasis," and "significantly increased." When I told Danny of this, he said "No, she didn't say that it was just one." Perhaps she had described several, but clearly, my mind had stopped processing after the first. It's so good to have someone else there with you when you go to the doctor's office! It's necessary.

Also, Dr. Green said that my tumor marker (CA 27-29) was within the normal range (0-38,) so that was good. She was right that it was in the normal range -- it was 18. BUT, in looking back at (well, studying) all of my previous CA 27-29's, it actually is a little elevated. At my first visit to MD Anderson in 2006, it was 70-something. A month later, 50-something. Three months later, 37. All since then have been below 12! So since early 2007, my level has been holding steady at less than 12. Now it's 18. Very disconcerting, but I keep telling myself that I'm being treated at the best place in the world. Surely my doctor, the head of the breast medical oncology department knows what she's doing! And I am not being sarcastic. Settle down, self! It's just hard, when faced with all of these facts.

April, when my next scans and labs are scheduled, cannot come soon enough! Oh, the worry. Deep breaths, prayer, deep breaths, prayer.
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