When I landed in Ohio Thursday night, my husband was at the airport to meet me. As we drove home, I unpacked my findings and explained my concerns. The trajectory would be as follows:
The biopsy is conducted. If it’s not cancer, the doctors may or may not remove the lump based on its type, how quickly it might grow, etc. If it IS cancer, they will either attempt to eradicate it with chemotherapy and/or radiation, or they will perform a lumpectomy. However, they will most likely insist on a round of chemotherapy and/or radiation after the lumpectomy. Why? To clean up the seeding that had a 94% chance of occurring in the days or weeks following the biopsy.
Indeed, the medical community is aware of this seeding dilemma. Sure, they take precautions. They mark the biopsy needle pathway with a titanium marker so that the follow-up surgeon has a better chance to “clean up” that mess, referred to as “prophylactic surgical removal of the needle track”. And, there are many articles that explain the extremely low probability that these rogue cancer cells will remain viable and implant themselves elsewhere in the body. But should I take that risk?
The American Cancer Society lists the signs and symptoms of breast cancer as follows:
“The most common symptom of breast cancer is a new lump or mass. A painless, hard mass that has irregular edges is more likely to be cancer, but breast cancers can be tender, soft, or rounded. They can even be painful. For this reason, it is important to have any new breast mass, lump, or breast change checked by a health care professional experienced in diagnosing breast diseases.”
They go on to list other possible symptoms of breast cancer:
- Swelling of all or part of a breast (even if no distinct lump is felt)
- Skin irritation or dimpling (sometimes looking like an orange peel)
- Breast or nipple pain
- Nipple retraction (turning inward)
- Redness, scaliness, or thickening of the nipple or breast skin
- Nipple discharge (other than breast milk)
I have a lump. It is small and, most likely, contained, which means that I am considered Stage 0, or, perhaps Stage 1 if it is cancer. It is painful, which is not typical of breast cancer. But, as stated above, pain does not rule out cancer. And, I also have swelling in all or part of the breast, although that could be attributed to hormonal changes due to perimenopause. I have no other signs or symptoms. And, much to the surprise of the medical staff, I have no other health issues and take no medications.
But there is one other critical decision that I had already made, long ago. If I was ever presented with the recommendation for chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments, I would refuse them unless I had exhausted all other options to manage my own health. While I respect women who make the decision to follow conventional cancer treatments, there is tremendous evidence that these approaches may do more harm than good.
If I get the biopsy, and it is cancer, I will unleash the possibility of seeding throughout my body. I will then proceed to put myself on an alternative medicine breast cancer protocol because I will reject chemotherapy and radiation. I have a LONG and successful history with alternative medicine, and I already know what would be required. If I don’t get the biopsy, and it is cancer, the same alternative medicine breast cancer protocol could eradicate it.
By the time Drew and I pulled into our driveway, we had made a decision. I picked up my cell phone and dialed the number. “Yes, this is Debbie. I’m scheduled to have a biopsy tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. I need to postpone the procedure. I’ll be in touch.”