News Columns & Blogs

Second opinion brings peace

I recently learned the value of a second opinion — peace of mind!

I owe my thanks to Dr. Jeffrey Wasserman, radiologist extraordinaire, and deft surgeon, Dr. David Goldsberry, who doggedly pursued a suspicious spot on my mammogram until they were convinced that they had enough evidence to declare it benign.

Believe me, the ordeal of multiple diagnostic mammograms, followed by ultrasounds, a stereotactic biopsy, then more diagnostic mammograms, an MRI and, finally, an incisional biopsy was trying indeed.

At times, I was ready to call it quits, but the nagging questions that troubled Wasserman also troubled me: There just wasn’t enough evidence to support a benign reading.

It was hard to silence the “what if’s” especially given his interpretation of the findings.

The spot was first noticed on my 2008 mammogram. The radiologist at the time ordered an ultrasound. After viewing the films, he declared the spot was benign. I accepted his finding and moved on, happy to hear what I wanted to hear.

Then, I met a lady whose adult children had talked her into getting a second opinion on a similar benign finding. Turned out, it was actually a very early cancer. By listening to her children, she received timely, successful treatment, which has greatly increased her odds of survival.

At the same time, I met Dr. Wasserman. I asked if he would look at my films. He warned me that unless the ultrasound was a “slam dunk” he would order more tests. Since I was due for my annual mammogram anyway, I scheduled an appointment. Well, Wasserman did not consider my films a slam dunk; the spot was still there, slightly enlarged from last year. During the tests at the Breast Care Centers at Manatee Memorial Hospital and Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, I had a first-hand look at the Hologic Digital Mammography System, which produces images so sharp that even tiny problems can be seen. Those images served as a road map for the biopsies that fortunately gave me peace of mind.

My thanks to Drs. Wasserman and Goldsberry for closing the loop on a difficult diagnosis.