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Wife died of breast cancer. Invasive lobular carcinoma does not show in mammography till the advance stage? Guide?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2001
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My wife recently passed away from breast cancer,I am still very angry she went each year for her yearly mammograms and always got a good report so how could this happen.The oncologist said she must have had it for 5 to 8 years and none of the mammograms shoes it. A part of me still thinks it was careleness on the radiologist part but the oncologist said it was invasive lobular carcinoma which doesn't show on mammograms until it has advanced,her gynecologist knew her mom had breast cancer show why didn't they recommend andifferent test, guess u can tell I an very frustrated and angry she wa too young to die
Posted Mon, 30 Sep 2013 in Breast Cancer
Answered by Dr. Michelle Gibson James 56 minutes later
Brief Answer:
I am sorry for your loss

Detailed Answer:
HI, thanks for using healthcare magic

It is quite understandable to be upset and angry.

Currently mammograms are the main method of screening, though other methods exist such as ultrasound (for very dense breasts) and MRI.

With regard to mammogram,they rely somewhat on seeing deposits due to calcium in the breast as a result of the tumor. In invasive lobular ca, these calcium deposits (calcification) does not occur.
For this reason, the cancer is often missed. The false negative rate can be as high as 30%. This means 1 out 3 women with this type of breast cancer would be given a falsely negative result.

In patients such as your wife, where there is a family history of breast ca, blood tests may be done to determine if the genes BRCA1 or BRCA2 are present.

These are genes that help to repair damaged DNA, the presence of mutated or abnormal types of these genes mean that a woman is at significantly more risk for breast or ovarian cancer.

In some people with a increased risk , this blood test can be done and if positive it means there is an increased risk of developing the disease but does not necessarily mean that it will definitely occur.

This can possibly be followed a MRI of the breast. MRI is not normally suggested because it is much more expensive than the mammogram but it is sometimes used for persons with the blood mutations to identify cancer at an earlier stage.
It is however associated with more falsely positive results that result in other investigations such as biopsy.

Your wife was young to die and you have every right to be upset and angry. It is a normal expected response from losing someone close especially from this type of disease.
I am not going to say I know how you feel because I have not loss any one this way but I do understand that the loss would be devastating to you.

I wish you the best, feel free to ask any additional questions
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