My name is Stacy Barton, and I am a one-year breast cancer survivor. I had my first mammogram at the age of 46 after I felt a lump and had breast pain for a few months prior. On August 13th of 2018, I went to my gynecologist and was sent to have a mammogram along with an ultrasound on August 29th to find out more details on why I had the lump and why I was experiencing the pain. I was then referred for a biopsy on September 5th of 2018. On September 10th of 2018, I got the news that I had invasive ductal carcinoma (IDC) in my right breast, which measured 1.8 centimeters or about the size of a peanut. My gynecologist, Dr. Fowler, referred me to a breast surgeon the next day. On September 14th, one day before my 47th birthday, I had surgery to remove the cancer and my sentinel node through a lumpectomy, which is a surgery that removes cancer or other abnormal tissue from your breast. During surgery, it was determined I had clear surgical margins and the cancer had not metastasized to my lymph nodes. I was now stage 1A ER hormone positive and HER2 negative which is the easiest to treat.
I had genetic testing which showed that I did not carry the genetic mutation that causes breast cancer, so I guess it was just dumb luck that I had cancer. They sent my tumor through to have an Oncotype test to see what my risk was for reoccurrence and redevelopment of cancer. Out of a score from 0-100, I scored an 8 and no chemotherapy is needed if your score is low enough, which mine was. I researched and asked my radiologist if the accelerated whole-breast radiation was suitable for me, since it required less time (16 treatments) but higher doses of radiation at each treatment. Thankfully, I was approved. It was a pretty easy process, and I did not have much skin irritation until I was finished, and even then, it was minor. I suffered from some breast lymphedema, and I received therapy to relieve the collecting fluid. I started on a hormone therapy using Tamoxifen for two years, and after that, I will switch over to Aromasin and ovary suppression for another five years. I am now one-year cancer free, and I have had my one-year mammogram after treatment. I can happily say my mammogram was clear, and I am officially in remission!
My advice to women is to not wait until you have symptoms to get checked out, because mammogram testing saved my life.