Local Doctor Discusses Breast Cancer - WHLT 22 Connecting the Pine Belt

Local Doctor Discusses Breast Cancer

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Co-medical Director at the Forrest General Cancer Center Dr. Mike Cheng agrees with most doctors that every woman should have a base-line mammogram at age 40.

"However, that does not preclude you from doing a self-breast exam because there's two cancers that a mammogram doesn't pick up," Cheng said.

Those are inflammatory which is very aggressive and characterized by redness and warm skin that looks similar to a bug bite and lapular cancer which happens in between the ducts.

"So what you have to do when you do a breast exam is feel the ducts against the muscle of the chest wall," Cheng said. "Try to feel like a little pebble in them."

He said the best time to check is when a woman is in the shower or bath, and be aware of things that are abnormal.

"The skin should be smooth," Cheng said.  "If you have dimpling like an orange peel, that's not normal. If your born nipple sticks out and goes back in, that's not normal."

He said if you were born with an inverted nipple, it's okay and although many woman worry that their breasts are different sizes, he says that's completely normal.

Also, he says there's an important area that many women might leave out.

"There's a tail of breast under your arms," Cheng said.  "A lot of women think it's fat, but it's tail of the breast, and you have to examine those areas."

Although opinions vary about mastectomy's versus lumpectomy's, Cheng said he promotes breast conservation.

"Even though you can have plastic surgery, you can never reproduce breast, nipples or sensation," Cheng said. 

He said there is not much difference in the chance of the cancer returning.

However, Joanne Lazenby is currently battling stage 1 Invasive Cell Carcinoma in the breast and says for her the choice was clear.

"I feel like after I had a mastectomy that I feel like I removed the cancer from my body, and you go on with life, and life is good," Lazenby said.

She said, like anyone, she was afraid of the diagnosis she received last November.

"The opportunities for treatment are so many, so I turned my woe is me into okay let's get on with it and let's get busy treating it and get rid of it," Lazenby said.

 

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