J.T. asks from Flower Mound, TX on May 11, 2008
Mammogram While Nursing
Have any of you ever had a mammogram while nursing? My OB suggests I wean baby and then wait a month before having the mammogram.
I found some information about finding a radiologist who is skilled at reading the mammograms of nursing moms.
Thanks for all of the info- let me give you a little bit more of the background story.
My twin sister (age 32) was diagnosed with breast cancer in mid- April. She had a double mastectomy (cancer in one breast) on May 1.
The whole situation is almost surreal. She is doing great, and she will begin chemo soon.
I am just struggling with the idea of giving up nursing.
If you have done this, please let me know where you went and the name of the radiologist, if you can remember.
J.S. answers from Dallas on May 12, 2008
Congratulations on your ability to question your doctor! This is the first step to quality management of your health and your baby's!
Here is an article I thought might help you understand the issues better and make appropriate and informed inquiries:
Mothering magazine is a natural family magazine with lots of good information you would never get from your convetional health providers.
The recommendations I found most interesting were:
1. Find a radiologist who is EXPERIENCED in reading mammograms of lactating breasts.
2. Bring very hungry baby with you and nurse immediately prior to the mammogram to drain the breasts. This seems like a GREAT idea. My breasts were always positively deflated after my daughter chowed down.
3. Continued breastfeeding actually REDUCES the risk of breast cancer by HALF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Does it make sense to remove the best preventative measure you have against breast cancer (extended nursing)?? Especially if there are ways to evaluate the lactating breast properly!
A separate Q&A in Mothering magazine stated other forms of evaluation may also be helpful such as ultrasound, MRI and CAT scan.
As far as where to go, I would go somewhere central and large, with a good reputation. I went to the breast imaging center at Presby Dallas (Walnut Hill and 75) and I must say, was very impressed with the facilities. Frankly, it felt like a spa. I would, however, ask questions about the names and experience level of the radiologists. Ask for evidence of experience in reading mammograms of lactating breasts. Maybe one of them actually did a journal article or research paper on the issue. Then if you are impressed with the background of someone in particular, request that person to read your films.
If you haven't found a lump, it may be that you don't need this at all right now. But if it is keeping you up at night, you may be better off going. You, of course, must make the decision you feel most comfortable with. Seek guidance from within your own heart and mind and follow those instincts.
1 mom found this helpful
W.P. answers from Dallas on May 12, 2008
I was told to wait 3 months after drying up to have a mammogram. You need to give your tissue time to return to normal to ensure no false readings on the films. But I agree with the other Mom's, Why is your doctor wanting you to have one now? Can't it wait until you are ready to stop nursing? I simply wanted to have an early baseline mammogram due to a family history, not because my doctor felt something in an exam. If your doctor has found something you need to what he suspects it may be. Then decide which is more important right now, nursing a bit longer or the mammogram. Best of luck to you.
S.W. answers from Dallas on May 12, 2008
If you are concerned, there are other scans that can be done on breast tissue, like a breast MRI, which is often better than a traditional mammogram. If you (and a doctor) decide that a mammogram is necessary, try going to a facility with full-field digital mammography. It's more accurate than traditional mammography and limits your exposure to x-rays. Baylor Irving's Women's Imaging Center has digital mammography, but I'm sure they aren't the only one.
M.W. answers from Dallas on May 12, 2008
I've never heard of an OB doing this. I've had 3 kids and worked on a post-partum unit and don't know of a single OB who requests this. I would call and be nice but firm and tell the nurse or doctor, if you get to speak to him, EXACTLY why he is requesting this. If it's something he is concerned about you should be made aware prior to going somewhere for a mammogram. Not to scare you but this makes me think he has found something and wants to make sure it's not a blocked milk duct, cyst, etc... If he/she is not comfortable with telling you what is going on you should really get a second opinion. With your baby being 10 months you can switch OBGYN's with no problem. I found a lump back in July and my OBGYN sent me for a sonogram first, which is standard course of action, then on to the surgeon. Don't wait however, just in case there is something he is not telling you. Good luck, blessings and let me know how it all turns out.
L.S. answers from Dallas on May 11, 2008
Is there any reason he/she wants to do a mamogram at this point (other than age)? I was 40 when I had my son and nursed (with no objections) for several years before getting my mammogram last year. Never was I pushed to wean. They can (and will) do an ultrasound on any areas that need to be checked.
R.B. answers from Dallas on May 12, 2008
I have read that mamograms are not really that accurate in women under 40. You do not need to give up nursing to find out if you have breast cancer. Seven years ago I had 5 tumors in my right breast but chose not to do sugery,chemo or radiation. There are many safe alternatives. I can recommend several doctors who will give you options and tell you my story if you would like to call me. My number is ###-###-####
R.W. answers from Dallas on May 12, 2008
Please do not listen to your OB when it comes to mammograms. If you are concerned about something, then find a gynocologist or breast doctor who will know a speciality radiologist who can read the mammogram (or ultrasound!). Do not put it off if it's something that's concerning you.