After 13 years of mammograms, no family history and not one self- breast exam, how did I not know I had a walnut sized tumor? Why after every mammogram, did I receive small note saying “normal”, with dense breasts? What did that mean? How did I not know that this was a HUGE risk factor for me? How did I not know what a tumor could feel like? I have never seen or felt one, have you?! Why was I not informed about my genetic risk factors until after I was diagnosed? It wasn’t until I heard the words “you have breast cancer” that I realized there is a huge disconnect on how much we know about this complex disease. I want to make people aware of all of this in a way that resonates . I am so honored and grateful to have Dr. Nila Alsheik, Section Chief, Division Breast Imaging and Learn Look Locate Medical Advisor help us go behind the screens to UNHOOK CONFUSION!
Being female, the symbolism and meaning of the Mermaid ties to the Sacred Feminine, specifically Goddesses like Venus who rules love, and the Sea Goddesses like Calypso. This is not a woman who can be tamed. The fierce individuality among Mermaids is well known –so much so that they may resist settling down in any one spot.
Nila H. Alsheik MD
Section Chief, Division Breast Imaging. Co-Medical Director,
Advocate Caldwell Breast Center
After 13 years of mammograms, no family history, and no self-breast exam, I had no idea I had a walnut sized tumor. After each mammogram, I received a letter telling me everything was “normal” and I have “dense breasts.” What does that mean? I had no idea that “dense breasts” were a HUGE risk factor. How could that be? The way it was put in the letter made it seem like an afterthought, nobody mentioned that I needed additional screening. Do other people know this? I didn’t do self-breast exams because I had no idea what a tumor felt like. I had never previously seen or felt one. Have you ever felt a tumor? Why wasn’t I informed of my genetic risk factors until after I was diagnosed? It wasn’t until I heard the words “you have breast cancer” that I realized how little I knew about this complex disease. After my diagnosis in 2018, I created Learn Look Locate, a welcoming web/social media presence that resonates with women in all phases of cancer awareness, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment because it is built with and for them. Questions get answered, experiences are shared, and offerings are tracked down and promoted—all based on the community’s submissions, needs, and wants. I am extremely honored and grateful to have Dr. Nila Alsheik, Section Chief, Division Breast Imaging and Learn Look Locate Medical Advisor help us go behind the screens to UNHOOK CONFUSION!
EF Conant, AY Toledano, S Periaswamy et al. Improving Accuracy and Efficiency with Concurrent Use of Artificial Intelligence for Digital Breast Tomosynthesis. Radiology. Published online July 31, 2019. Learn more
Being 32 with dense breasts and a family history of breast cancer, I was never given the option to undergo genetic testing. Also because of my age I was not able to get mammograms, so simply because of my age I was unable to have any line of defense as it comes to pre-screening. Even when I found the lump in my breast, doctors turned me away that I was too young to have breast cancer, but I saw a breast surgeon because I knew in my gut something was wrong. The breast surgeon then told me, I was too young for breast cancer and most likely it was benign. So, I was requested a mammogram and ultrasound which showed a mass in my upper left breast. The biopsy confirmed that I did have stage 2 estrogen positive breast cancer. In my opinion, I believe doctors need to take the complaints of their patients more seriously without judgement based on race, age or gender. If I didn’t speak up, I would not be here today. If you see or feel something please say something and don’t stop until you are heard. You know your body better than anyone else.