Mammograms and CLW? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 5 Old 02-23-2005, 11:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm hoping y'all can help me. Breast cancer "runs" in my family. Killed my aunt, made my older sister ill in their forties. My mom (nursed 6 children) had uterine cancer, but not breast cancer. I had an (huge) intraductal papilloma removed from my left breast in my 30's. I also had a giant fibroadenoma left alone in my right breast (my choice...wanted to have functional nursing boobies).

I'm 45 and haven't had a mammogram since I was 39. I'm nursing my 4-year-old quite a bit and comfort nursing my non-biological daughter (dp birthed her).

I haven't spoken to my doctor about it because I got the "there's no reason not to wean" when Pumpkin was 11 months old. (We see a family doctor who is generally wonderful and great with the kids.)

So, what do I do? Can I get a mammogram while I'm still nursing? I don't feel like I make a lot of milk, but dd1 says it's still there and dd2 sucks and swallows (although she has a distinct preference for dp's overactive letdown!)

What kind of referral do I have to have to get a mammogram? I used to have to see the dr for an exam, then schedule the mammogram, then go back to the dr for the results. Someone told me recently that you can just call up and schedule a mammogram. Is this true?

Anybody know?
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#2 of 5 Old 02-24-2005, 01:31 AM
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I've had mammograms while breastfeeding. Both times, I was nursing a two-year-old. I arranged for both through the doctor I was seeing at the time. One was done at a hospital, the other in the doctor's office. I am not sure if you can just call a hospital and schedule a mammogram.

The advice I kept hearing was to find a radiologist who is experienced in reading mammograms of lactating women. Easier said than done, especially if you live in an area where long-term breastfeeding is unusual. The first mammogram (five years ago) came back normal. The second (last year) showed "changes" and I had to go for a diagnostic mammogram on my left breast. (All was normal.) Part of me is convinced that the radiologist that read my screening mammogram just didn't know what she was doing.

I am not planning to go for another mammogram until my youngest, now almost 4, is completely weaned and several months have passed after her last nursing. (I'm not sure how I'll know, though--she nurses only a few times a week and I'm not sure how I'll know when she is really done.) Still, when you have a family history of breast cancer (I do, too), it's hard to decide to just wait.
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#3 of 5 Old 02-24-2005, 01:39 AM
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Just call your internist or ob and they can order one for you based upon your age and history. It is safe to do on lactating women. Mine came back reading "density" so I had to go back for another diagnostic I think but everything is okay. The third time I went I had a tech who was experienced in dense breasts and she really squashed the heck out of me but it was preferable to me than to have to get the stressful call to go back for another. It helped that I had my previous films to compare to. Since you are concerned, just do it for peace of mind. The only thing is that there may be a small (tiny small) amount of milk expressed on the table from being squished, no big deal. I went to a large teaching hospital for one and then to a women's center and I have to say the women's center is better in my area. I don't think lactating women are all that unusual.
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#4 of 5 Old 02-24-2005, 12:33 PM
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Check out thermography or

One of our local midwives just added it to her well woman services.

From the little I know about it, it can be a good mammogram alternative for nursing mothers.
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#5 of 5 Old 02-24-2005, 02:20 PM
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Maybe call some ob/gyns to find out if they know anyone that can read a lactating woman's mammogram. Mine referred me to an Imaging place with a doctor that she said could. The doctor at the imaging center met with me to discuss the results. Ds was around 2 and I sprayed when they compressed my breast. But the tech was totally cool about it. I haven't been back since as ds is 5 and still nursing intermittently, and without a family history of breast cancer, I'm not sure I want to go that route anymore...
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