My mammogram caught cancer early; likely kept it from spreading
Karla Logston is a registered nurse and diabetes care and education specialist, who is a clinical director at Florida Blue. Karla and her husband love to travel in their RV in their spare time.
I started having annual mammograms at age 40. There was no history of breast cancer in my family, but I had very dense breast tissue so it would be extremely difficult for me to find a lump or notice any change on my own.
Two short years later in 2001, something suspicious showed up on my mammogram. Technology wasn’t what it is today, so I had a biopsy that found benign micro calcifications. I continued to have my annual mammograms, which were always normal.
In November 2013, I had my mammogram as always. My doctor called the next week to tell me about a suspicious area in my left breast and said I would need another biopsy. She wasn’t really concerned, and neither was I after my experience in 2001. I scheduled the biopsy for Christmas Eve, as we had that day off, and I had several days scheduled off after that due to the holidays.
I was surprised when my phone rang on New Year’s Eve and it was the imaging center. The doctor who had performed the biopsy called to tell me the results showed breast cancer. I remember her telling me she was calling because she had sent my results to my doctor and found out the office was closed for the holiday, so she didn’t want me to wait.
She said my doctor would “call me after the holidays” to talk about scheduling surgery and treatment.
As a nurse, it takes a lot to shock me, but that call took my breath away. My husband was at work and I remember calling him in tears. He immediately came home, and we tried to get through to anyone on-call at my doctor’s office that I could speak with.
I was so shocked by the call from the surgery center that I hadn’t really asked any questions, so the next couple of days were not fun. Following the holidays, I was referred by my doctor to Mayo Clinic. My diagnosis was high-grade ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which has a high likelihood of becoming invasive cancer.
The doctors at Mayo were fantastic. They answered my many questions at every appointment and were extremely supportive, calling me back whenever I was at home and came up with even more questions. After several consultations where we discussed a lumpectomy versus mastectomy and what would be best for me, I had a unilateral mastectomy on February 11, 2014. I went home the following morning and with amazing support from my family, friends and work family, and had an uneventful recovery.
I had reconstruction later that year. I passed my five-year mark but continue to be followed closely and continue to have an annual mammogram. I never noticed any changes in my breast prior to my diagnosis. Without annual mammograms, it was likely the cancer would have progressed without me being aware that anything was wrong.
Filed under: Healthy Living
Millions of women get their mammogram each year. Join them today! If you are age 50 to 74, schedule your mammogram by calling your primary care doctor, OB/GYN or an in-network Mammogram Imaging Center.
The Florida Blue health plan covers preventive screenings like mammograms at no extra cost when members see an in-network doctor or provider. For more information or help finding a doctor, go to Find a Doctor and More.