I had mammograms faithfully for about 15 years, then every six months when an "unusual mass" appeared in one breast. Then I was given a clean slate and no worry in March 2004. But my surgeon had scheduled a checkup in October which I decided I could cancel. Phone calls were not returned when I tried to cancel the appointment, so I went ahead with it. Lo and behold, he found a lump and stage 2 breast cancer which resulted in immediate surgery, six chemo sessions and 30 radiations. It was a ten-month commitment for a 69 year old grandma. My advice -- don't depend on mammograms but do the checking and don't cancel appointments. It is too life-changing, even when you survive. Now I have lymphedema (from the second surgery, which removed 20 lymph nodes), a compromised immune system and daily doses of anti-depressants when days are tough. Sometimes tying a knot in the end of the rope helps. It is the hanging onto the knot that is difficult. But it is worth it when I see a flower, rainbow, sunset, mountains, seashore, or visit with a grandchild or snuggle with a great-grandchild. No one said it would be easy, but it is definitely worth it. Thanks to family, friends, support groups and other survivors or I wouldn't have made it this far.
St. George, UT