Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"I need a breast biopsy..."

per the frantic e-mail on my desk, "but can't afford it. Can you order the new blood test instead/ how much will it cost?"

Argh, that dreaded phone call about the abnormal mammogram. I've gotten one as have many of my patients. Follow-up, at times, is simply a matter of additional mammographic views, maybe follow-up films in 3 or 6 months, perhaps an ultrasound. Radiologists are extremely cautious in their reports, often calling patients back for further imaging, and sometimes--insomnia city-- advising a biopsy.

I've read hundreds of abnormal and suspicious reports. Often, there is a 'vague rounded density' that turns out to be just the superimposed shadows of breast tissue heaped on breast tissue, all normal. Frequently, there are 'microcalcifications' that look benign but a short-term follow-up is ordered to assure the little flecks are stable and not increasing in number.

But... this lady's report said "highly suspicious" and "spiculated" and these are not hedge words but a near definite diagnosis of cancer. This is not a dink around with a brand new screening test sort of report, but a work out a payment plan and get that biopsy done report.

Tomorrow: What's up with this new screening test? I didn't know, so I looked it up.


rlbates said...

That is always a tough call to get. Usually not easy answers

JeanMac said...

Feel for her - must be tough when money is an issue - but it's got to be done.

Midlife Midwife said...

Haven't heard of a blood screening test...what was it?

femail doc said...

MLMW: Post is coming!