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Old 27.02.2013, 19:29
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Breast cancer checkup

Hi,
I am new to Basel (just moved here for a new job) and I want to get tested for breast cancer. I would prefer a fine needle aspiration (FNA) over the traditional mammogram. Has anyone gotten tested for breast cancer around the Basel area, and which doctor/practice would you recommend? Or some good recommendations of health centers here particularly for (breast) cancer testing and treatment?
Thanks in advance.
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Old 27.02.2013, 19:35
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Re: Breast cancer checkup

You need to go to your doctor, they will refer you for tests. Ugh I had a mammogram 6 months ago... Never again, so painful, they actually broke my skin!
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Old 27.02.2013, 19:55
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Re: Breast cancer checkup

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You need to go to your doctor, they will refer you for tests. Ugh I had a mammogram 6 months ago... Never again, so painful, they actually broke my skin!
Hi IslandMonkey, thanks for your quick reply. Hopefully I can also get some recommendations for doctors (in Switzerland, preferably near Basel) that use the Fine Needle Aspiration technique instead of just the mammogram.

I recommend FNA in the future, mammogram will basically just show the mass, which could be harmful or benign (OK). FNA (fine needle) is better because it actually draws up the cells from the breast and determines if they are cancerous (the dangerous kind) or not.
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Old 27.02.2013, 19:57
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Do you have a lump? Or an area you're worried about? They're probably going to want to do a mammogram or an ultrasound before poking about with a needle in your breast.

InBasel, i think the university hospital is quite good. You'll need a referral for any sort of diagnostic technique from your gyn or gp. Do you have one or both of these primary care docs?

In zurich, there is a breast center, i've heard excellent things about them. In Bern, both the inselspital and lindenhof are very good - i've had all my treatment at the lindenhof, and have been very happy with them.

I know several women in Basel who've been treated for breast cancer - there's a very good support group. I don't know who their doctors are, but if you visit

http://www.cancersupportbasel.wordpress.com

Send them a message - you should get some good recs for doctors, etc.

Last edited by edot; 27.02.2013 at 20:08.
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Old 27.02.2013, 20:00
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Re: Breast cancer checkup

Sakura, 1st they'll do a mammography then an ultrasound then they'll decide if an FNA is required. The patient doesn't really have too much to say except her consent to accept their diagnosis or refuse and search for a 2nd one.

Mammography do not hurt, but if you have a lot of breast (even if you are slim) they some times twist and turn you around a bit and take extra pics due to the density of the breast.

I've been through an FNA and then more. The 2nd time if was done by needle but was a full operation and even if they send you home it does take time to recover. Though I was lucky and healthy, it still was an anxious moment
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Old 27.02.2013, 20:11
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Re: Breast cancer checkup

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Mammography do not hurt, but if you have a lot of breast (even if you are slim) they some times twist and turn you around a bit and take extra pics due to the density of the breast.
I beg to differ, I could have cried it hurt so much! Then the doc made me feel like a time waster as she couldn't find anything - charming (gp sent me to be safe, as I'd been suffering pain for a few months)

Yep you need to go to your GP to get a referral. Good luck.
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Old 27.02.2013, 20:14
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Re: Breast cancer checkup

Thank you, edot and sky, for your nice replies.

I have a lump on my left breast that developed last summer, which is not at the equal position on my right breast. It is hard and at first I thought it was an inflamed lymph node, but I am not so sure. I am fairly flat-chested so likely the mammogram won't hurt

I am more concerned about the mammogram giving a false positive, as this is quite common with breast cancer diagnosis. My doctor friends back in the U.S. were complaining that this is a sad truth. To be safe, I hope I can find a doctor that consents to me having a FNA instead of a mammogram

I will check out the website you mentioned and try to get a recommendation for a Basel-area doctor at the university, but I will also consider my options in Bern, which is close by. I really do appreciate your help and advices.

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Old 27.02.2013, 20:17
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Re: Breast cancer checkup

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Sakura, 1st they'll do a mammography then an ultrasound then they'll decide if an FNA is required. The patient doesn't really have too much to say except her consent to accept their diagnosis or refuse and search for a 2nd one.

Mammography do not hurt, but if you have a lot of breast (even if you are slim) they some times twist and turn you around a bit and take extra pics due to the density of the breast.

I've been through an FNA and then more. The 2nd time if was done by needle but was a full operation and even if they send you home it does take time to recover. Though I was lucky and healthy, it still was an anxious moment
Sky, could you detail more on your FNA experience? Did it hurt a lot and actually need much time for recovery? Could you take a proper shower right afterward? Did it leave a scar? Where did you get your FNA (which city)? Thanks again for your time and help in advance....
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Old 27.02.2013, 20:20
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Would you like a rec for a frauenarzt in Bern? If you're from the US you may find this weird, but lots of breast surgeries are done by gynecologists trained to do this stuff.

I had a punch biopsy, guided by ultrasound. I had the mammogram, we knew there was a lump, the radiologist said, i can biopsy now, or we can just follow it, it looks benign. I requested the biopsy, had it right then, results the next day (not benign), and 10 days later i had a lumpectomy. So now that i think of it i ddid have some control over this.
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Old 27.02.2013, 20:26
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Re: Breast cancer checkup

I would recommend that you go to your nearest GP first and get a referral, you can disscuss with them your options on where to go. I remember reading on here, someone had just gone direct for the tests without a referral and their Krankenkasse refused to pay as they said it wasn't necessary! Don't want you to be out of pocket.

I didn't mean my comment about mammogram being painful to be mean, think from what I read afterwards it very much depends on the person... Guess I was unlucky!

Hope you get it sorted and all is ok! X
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Old 27.02.2013, 20:30
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Re: Breast cancer checkup

Thanks IslandMonkey, that sounds good. I plan to get my health insurance sorted out very soon (am deciding between a couple different ones) and set a GP to see first. Thanks for looking out for me I wouldn't like to go direct for a test, and be refused one, with no referral from GP! So I appreciate your reply.
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Old 27.02.2013, 20:32
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You can choose both a gp and a gyn, i'm pretty sure.
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Old 27.02.2013, 20:35
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Re: Breast cancer checkup

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Would you like a rec for a frauenarzt in Bern? If you're from the US you may find this weird, but lots of breast surgeries are done by gynecologists trained to do this stuff.

I had a punch biopsy, guided by ultrasound. I had the mammogram, we knew there was a lump, the radiologist said, i can biopsy now, or we can just follow it, it looks benign. I requested the biopsy, had it right then, results the next day (not benign), and 10 days later i had a lumpectomy. So now that i think of it i ddid have some control over this.
Oh thank you very much! it is good to know that. Where did you get your punch biopsy/ultrasound, with such a quick turnover? And who do you also recommend for a frauenarzt in Bern? You can PM the details, if you wish.

Yes, I am from the U.S., so I am a bit surprised that the breast surgeries are done by gynecologists trained to do that
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Old 27.02.2013, 20:44
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Re: Breast cancer checkup

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Sky, could you detail more on your FNA experience? Did it hurt a lot and actually need much time for recovery? Could you take a proper shower right afterward? Did it leave a scar? Where did you get your FNA (which city)? Thanks again for your time and help in advance....
The 1st was just an aspiration with a needle (FNA). They give you a shot so you won't feel any pain. It's done in radiology (clinic or hospital) and is a very quick procedure. Though if I recall you can't drive immediately after. Life is back to normal within 48 hours.

The second was also done in Radiology but with a rotary cutter (far less fun). I couldn't raise my arm for a while. But the scar on the side is minimal. No you can't take a shower after that procedure, just a sponge bath. It takes a while to recover as this procedure actual replaces a lumpectomy.

In regards to the mammo, ultrasound and then FNA, it's not an either/or, it's a 1 then 2 then 3. They will not go in blindly without the support of the mammo and ultrasound.

Contact the American Women's club in Basel/Zurich for their list of referred doctors. I'm quite far away in the French part.

No worries though, a very large quantity of these are completely benign, but it's always smart to check
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Old 27.02.2013, 20:45
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Re: Breast cancer checkup

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The 1st was just an aspiration with a needle (FNA). They give you a shot so you won't feel any pain. It's done in radiology (clinic or hospital) and is a very quick procedure. Though if I recall you can't drive immediately after. Life is back to normal within 48 hours.

The second was also done in Radiology but with a rotary cutter (far less fun). I couldn't raise my arm for a while. But the scar on the side is minimal. No you can't take a shower after that procedure, just a sponge bath. It takes a while to recover as this procedure actual replaces a lumpectomy.

In regards to the mammo, ultrasound and then FNA, it's not an either/or, it's a 1 then 2 then 3. They will not go in blindly without the support of the mammo and ultrasound.

Contact the American Women's club in Basel/Zurich for their list of referred doctors. I'm quite far away in the French part.

No worries though, a very large quantity of these are completely benign, but it's always smart to check

Very useful to know, Sky - thank you kindly for your quick and thorough reply.
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Old 27.02.2013, 21:21
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One more thing: if you're not an established patient, i don't know how long you'll have to wait for an appointment. I'd hope not too long.
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Old 27.02.2013, 21:22
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Re: Breast cancer checkup

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One more thing: if you're not an established patient, i don't know how long you'll have to wait for an appointment. I'd hope not too long.
Good to know, as well - thank you, edot. I will try to book it as soon as possible (first with GP, then GYN).
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Old 28.02.2013, 16:39
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Re: Breast cancer checkup

Hi Sakura,

If you are willing to go in Zurich you may want contact

BrustZentrum
Breast Center
Seefeldstrasse 214CH-8008 Zürich
Tel. +41 (0) 44 380 76 60Fax +41 (0) 44 380 76 61info@brust-zentrum.ch http://www.brust-zentrum.ch/default.aspx There are specialists for the breast very competent and professional.The doctors there speaks english. The website is also in english. Good luck
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Old 28.02.2013, 17:14
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Re: Breast cancer checkup

I opted against the mammogram after doing a little research and for the arguments stated here. My mom had breast cancer so I am considered to be at high risk. Had an ultrasound done and check myself regularly. Almost all women who have developed breast cancer found it themselves.
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Old 28.02.2013, 18:04
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Re: Breast cancer checkup

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I opted against the mammogram after doing a little research and for the arguments stated here. My mom had breast cancer so I am considered to be at high risk. Had an ultrasound done and check myself regularly. Almost all women who have developed breast cancer found it themselves.
I don't know what the percentage is, but I found mine myself, despite fairly regular mammograms. I have a yearly mammogram because I'm over 50, and because I've had breast cancer. But my gyn does an ultrasound a couple times a year.

This autumn, I had my yearly mammogram and they found something small and weird in each breast. But they could only see the small weird things on one view each (of 3) and my gyn couldn't see anything on ultrasound, so then I had an MRI. The MRI showed it was scar tissue on the breast where I'd had the lump removed and some blood vessels or other stuff on the other. Breasts apparently have a lot of "stuff" in them.
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