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Doctors…Let’s Get our Acts Together

This past week I learned of three healthy and fit women, all under 50, who are either undergoing breast cancer treatment or have become breast cancer survivors.  Each woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer has their own story of how they found a lump, what stage it was in and a unique process of how they made decisions around treatment.  It is the first part of the story, however, that truly concerns me: how you discover a lump and what you do from that point on is instrumental to your survival.

Although Melissa had found a lump that showed up in the mammogram, the other two, Jill and Karen, had mammograms that came back negative.  They were told, ‘No, you are fine.  It is nothing to worry about…you are just cystic.’ Jill listened to her intuition and obtained a second opinion.  A biopsy quickly confirmed her worst nightmare. Because of Jill’s perseverance, she is now free and clear and has been so for the last seven years.  Karen, on the other hand, believed her doctors and decided, worry-wart that she was, she would let it go, trust them and not worry.  After all, the mammogram came back clean and no one else felt the lump that she had felt. Today, Karen is in Stage IV of Ductile Breast Cancer.  Is a matter of fact, one doctor told her she should start preparing for Palliative Care (The care of patients with a terminal illness that doesn’t lead to a cure, but rather consists of pain relief, psychological, social and spiritual support…most often, preparing a patient for a more comfortable path to death.) A mother of two, Karen couldn’t accept this as her fate and went to find a doctor who told her that yes, they were going to fight this and she was going to win.I have a real problem with the fact that there are doctors who carelessly dismiss people’s intuition.  Jill was in tune enough with her body to know something was severely wrong.  She didn’t take no for an answer and believed in herself enough to tell her doctors that they were wrong.  Karen, however, is now facing the uncertainty of Stage IV Breast Cancer and has an extreme and risky treatment process ahead of her.  Had she fought back at the beginning, she most likely would be enjoying life, and would be a ‘survivor’ just as Jill is today.   

I find this very scary.  Isn’t the doctor at fault here?  I mean really, Patients are not the professionals.  They aren’t the ones who have mal-practice insurance.  They aren’t the ones who should know if what they feel is real or not.  As patients, we are doubtful enough about what is going on inside of us, that it seems to be all too much to have to question our doctor’s capabilities and diagnosis.  Yes, doctors are human and make mistakes…but their mistakes could possibly cost your life.  We need Doctor’s to take responsibility for the decisions and diagnosis they make.

We don’t know Melissa’s or Karen’s fates yet, but we hope that they both will pull through this.  Power of positive thinking does wonders.

If you or anyone else you know believes they have found a lump, I urge all of you to get several opinions.  The hassle today could be worth it tomorrow.  Further, follow your intuition…it is very powerful. 

Note: Breast cancer is the second leading malpractice-related condition with most lawsuits arising out of misdiagnosis and delayed treatment. One problem is that a mammogram may be negative, even for women with a breast lump, but a negative mammogram does not definitively rule out breast cancer. Further tests are necessary. Another problem is that women under 50 can get breast cancer, but many doctors will assume a diagnosis of breast fibrocystic disease because of their age.  –

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Posted in Brett's Blog, Mind-Body Tagged with: , , ,