Why Do They Do So Many Freakin Tests?

The Difference Between ‘Ready, Fire, Aim’ and Accuracy

So, now I had a lump that  was deemed suspicious and worthy of a needle core biopsy. At this point I’m still not overly concerned – I’d been through two previous biopsies (one on each breast) over 25 years, so this was just my medical team erring on the side of caution.

The 10 day wait between the diagnostic mammos/ultrasounds was the most challenging. Fortunately, I had lots to distract me at work, so I compartmentalized. And, per my previous post about research, I allowed myself to dig around a bit about needle core biopsies.

The thing I was learning, was that as soon as something was suspicious – and let’s not kid each other, that suspicion was ‘is this cancer’ – you are in line for a lot of tests. My annual mammogram is 4 shots (2 on each breast) and takes a grand total of maybe 20 min. The diagnostic mammos were at least 6 different angles/shots on each side, plus the 360 shot. This took about an hour, including the wait in between while a radiologist examined the results. The diagnostic ultrasounds were about 30 min.

Plus, multiple clinicians had poked, palpated, massaged, and generally felt all around both breasts and well up into my armpits to check the lymph nodes. (note to self – glad I shaved that day)

Now, I was adding a biopsy to the list of tests and clinical exams. Depending on the type of cancer, I’m sure there might have been more tests ordered just to be sure. But for my situation, the needle core biopsy would provide the definitive answer.

The Globe and Mail has an interesting article on cancer tests and best practices.

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