Dear Dr. Bone:I just celebrated five years out from my breast cancer. This week I had a suspicious mammogram on my remaining real breast. Do you think the surgeon would be willing to remove my breast regardless of the biopsy result? I think it will be the only way I will sleep peacefully.
Anxiously waiting, Jupiter, Fla.
Dear Anxious:Your situation is not unusual. The good news is that statistically it should not be a cancer. My advice is to take it one day at a time and not try to predict your reaction ahead of time. If you wish to have a mastectomy regardless of the biopsy results, discuss it with the surgeon.
If your insurance company does not feel that it is a procedure they want to pay for, you will need to address that issue. Good luck.
For healthy smiles
Dear Dr. Bone:I had a sensitive area on my lower gum when I was brushing my teeth. Then my tongue noticed a rough patch there. My dentist took one look and sent me to an oral surgeon for a biopsy. Sure enough it was cancer. I thought you might want to remind readers that gum irritation and rough spots should not be ignored.
C.L. West Palm Beach, Fla.
Dear C.L.:Small irritated areas in the mouth, lips, and gums are common. They usually go away on their own or with a simple warm salt water rinse in about one to two weeks. If it does not go away, have it checked. Regular dental check-ups are a must. A thorough exam includes looking all over the mouth, teeth, gums, and even under the tongue for suspicious areas that patients may not have noticed on their own. If your dentist is not doing a thorough check, it’s time to switch dentists.
Here’s to healthy smiles!
New York Times News Service 2010