What’s it like to be tested for a new cancer while already being treated for cancer?
“No thanks, I already have cancer,” I said to the radiologist. Since the magnified images of calcifications in my right breast looked neither obviously benign nor obviously malignant, he had just recommended a biopsy. Even after I explained that I have been dealing with advanced ovarian cancer since 2008, he must have judged me daft. But I was thinking: Who needs another?
Of course, my oncologist insisted that I go ahead. Afterward, I fulminated: If men had breasts, breast biopsies would be less ghastly. I realize I was floating the proposition as an “alternative fact” — in my case, a conviction fueled by infantile rage. My friend Alexandra, who accompanied me, waited until our return home to confide that she had fainted during her biopsy. “Very common,” a nurse informed her.
Breast biopsies come in several varieties. Mine was a stereotactic core needle biopsy. Beforehand, the doctors described what it would entail, but they failed to convey how grueling it would be.
I was positioned in a chair — the technician called it a “princess throne” — placed before a device that appeared exactly like ye olde mammogram machine. There I was prodded and repositioned — can you press in your chest, turn your head to the left, lower it, move your torso to the right? — while my admittedly small breast was laid out like a filet on a tray and then squeezed tight between two flat panels, first horizontally and then vertically. I was instructed to embrace the machine with my right arm and rest my chin on one of its ledges.
Read full article: Who Needs Another Cancer? – The New York Times
|Read Full Article: Who Needs Another Cancer? – The New York Times|