(WLNS) – We all know that prevention is the key to living a healthy life.
So what are the best methods to do that?
For me it turns out I need to do a couple things when it comes to screening for breast cancer.
I have dense breast tissue. It’s a condition we’ve talked about it all week on 6 News.
Basically it means I have less fatty tissue and more non-fatty tissue compared to younger women.
It also means, it can sometimes be more difficult to spot potential breast cancer.
I share my story with you, in the hopes that someone watching, will know you’re not alone.
Like most women who see their doctor every year for a regular check-up, I also follow the recommended guidelines to get a mammogram.
But the older I’ve gotten the more those mammograms hurt.
It was the pain from the compression of the mammogram, which, for me, sometimes lasted days. My doctor recommended I see a breast specialist. And he was the first one, ever, who told me I had dense breast tissue and” something called Fibrocystic Breast Disease.
It sounds worse than it is. Basically I have benign breast cysts, in addition to dense tissue, which explained why I experienced pain with a mammogram.
He also told me the condition I have, is hereditary.
So, I asked my mom about it and she said, “oh, yeah, I have that.”
What? I didn’t’ know that. We never talked about it. And that’s why my breast specialist suggested I get an MRI.
The challenge, insurance wouldn’t cover it for me, since I don’t have a family history of breast cancer.
After contacting screening clinics around town to get one on my own, I learned the out-of-pocket cost, without insurance, would be well over $1,000.
I’m grateful a friend told me about the Medical Imagining Center in Flint, where they’re doing research on dense breast tissue and offering breast MRIs. The cost was around $400 with no painful compression for women like me.
I am happy to say things checked out okay.
I plan to follow the advice of my physician and get regular digital mammograms, rotated with an MRI every couple of years.
It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor about what’s best for you, since every person is different.
I can tell you it’s a relief to know there are other screening options available for women like me.