A routine mammogram sent Kim Hodges of Athens to a hospital for a biopsy of what she thought was a calcification in her breast. Then, she received news that changed her life forever,
She was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“Had my doctor not wanted to make sure I had a calcification, not a malignant tumor, I may never had found the cancer,” Hodges said. “While the tumor was malignant, the calcification turned out to be benign.”
Hodges has been diagnosed with Stage III Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (ILC). Her treatment includes surgery, four rounds of chemotherapy and 60 rounds of radiation. Her positron emission tomographic scan, or PET scan) indicated the cancer had not metastasized.
“I found the best way to fight cancer is face it head-on and stay positive,” Hodges said. “It’s important to have a good support system, too.”
Hodges also knows the importance of getting her annual mammogram.
“I have never missed a mammogram, yet according to the doctors I have had this cancer for some time. I don’t have breast cancer in my immediate family. But I have cousins who have been diagnosed with cancer. Many who are diagnosed with breast cancer have none of the risk factors.
According to Johns Hopkins Hospital, ILC is the second-most common form of breast cancer diagnosed in the U.S., representing 10 to 15 percent of diagnosed invasive breast cancers.
This type of cancer is more difficult to see on imaging because of the way the cells stream through the breast tissue. Invasive lobular carcinomas are usually larger than expected from the mammogram. Most patients will receive a breast MRI to get a better sense of the extent. Invasive lobular carcinomas are usually strongly estrogen receptor-positive, which makes them sensitive to the anti-hormonal medications like tamoxifen.
During this Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Hodges and others are stressing the importance of receiving mammograms each year. Such a mammogram showed Robbye Grissom, one of the owners of BnR Country in Mabank, had a mass. She was diagnosed with Stage II Invasive Ductal Carcinoma — one of the more common breast cancers — in May.
Read more about Kim’s story here.