Why the little c?

On 17 July 2013, I went for what I thought would be a routine mammogram – my first. All was proceeding as expected when the operator said “We need to take a closer look at this area.” Suddenly, it wasn’t routine anymore.

The atmosphere ramped up as people bustled around carrying films with knitted brows. After a lengthy ultrasound, I sent JP the following message:

Note: JP and I call each other Ted

The specialist who took the biopsy seemed very concerned. So I started to come to terms with the likely outcome. The probability of this has been present for most of my life, as I lost mum to breast cancer in the mid 1990s.

Back home, Google did what it does and filled in lots of gaps and five days later, the GP confirmed the probability was now an actuality. “You have high grade DCIS, ductal carcinoma in situ. So it’s abnormal cell activity but it’s contained within the duct. So it’s not really cancer.”

Well Dr. Google disagrees. All the information about this kind of ‘abnormal cell activity’ was housed on sites that mentioned the ‘c’ word:

where to find out about a "not really cancer"
where to find out about a “not really cancer”

But I take her point that as a non-invasive strain it’s less worrisome. So it’s cancer. With a little c.

Next steps for me is a consultation with a surgeon, which I’m lucky enough to have arranged for tomorrow. I’ll report back.