Learning About Breast Cancer
- Lindsay Ell, a Canadian-American country singer who previously opened up about her breast cancer scare, has reflected on her recent eating disorder diagnosis.
- “If you’re worried that your child may have an eating disorder, contact his or her doctor to discuss your concerns,” Mayo Clinic advises. “If needed, you can get a referral to a qualified mental health professional with expertise in eating disorders, or if your insurance permits it, contact an expert directly.”
- Back in 2019, Ell had surgery to remove pre-cancerous cells that were discovered after a routine doctor’s appointment.
- Mammograms look for lumps and early signs of cancer in the breast tissue; women aged 45 to 54 should have mammograms annually, and women with a history of breast cancer in the family should begin screening earlier than age 45.
- A breast biopsy is performed when a suspicious lump or calcifications are found on a physical exam or a mammogram.
The 33-year-old musician, who is set to go on tour with her music icon Shania Twain, took to Instagram this week to reveal she was recently diagnosed with an eating disorder.Read More
“I know that eating disorders are flags to the need for deeper work, and I would love to share my journey as I go through my recovery. I have no idea of what that fully looks like, but I’m figuring it out day by day,” she explained.
“I’m telling you all this because I know that it is the stories I hear that inspire me to be a better person. I hope in sharing this and my journey as I go along it, will inspire you to be honest with yourself – with what you’re feeling and what you’re going through,” Ell concluded. “Regardless of what that may be. Sometimes it’s so easy to take care of everyone else but yourself. Hopefully you won’t need to live 20 years feeling something that you never deal with.”
Ell, who will kick off The Queen of Me Tour with Shania Twain on April 28 in Washington state, did not specify what type of eating disorder she is battling.
However, when Ell spoke with Bristowead, she described how food “became this thing that was like a drug” that she was “abusing,” according to People.
“It was just this relationship that was no longer a healthy thing,” she said on the podcast. “It’s basically admitting to myself that I had a problem. And not in a way of like ‘Oh I am this’, though it’s something to blame. More in the way of ‘Oh wow, I’ve been letting this thing have so much power and so much energy from my life.'”
Most Common Types of Eating Disorders
Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder are the three most common eating disorders, according to Mayo Clinic.
People with anorexia nervosa excessively minimize their calories and those with bulimia nervosa have “episodes of bingeing and purging that involve feeling a lack of control over your eating.” Those who have a binge-eating disorder will find themselves eating too much with no control over their intake, leading to feelings of shame or embarrassment.
Red Flags of Eating Disorders
If you or a loved one have an eating disorder, the following are red flags listed by Mayo Clinic that may reveal an eating disorder.
- Skipping meals or making excuses for not eating
- Adopting an overly restrictive vegetarian diet
- Excessive focus on healthy eating
- Making own meals rather than eating what the family eats
- Withdrawing from normal social activities
- Persistent worry or complaining about being fat and talk of losing weight
- Frequent checking in the mirror for perceived flaws
- Repeatedly eating large amounts of sweets or high-fat foods
- Use of dietary supplements, laxatives or herbal products for weight loss
- Excessive exercise
- Calluses on the knuckles from inducing vomiting
- Problems with loss of tooth enamel that may be a sign of repeated vomiting
- Leaving during meals to use the toilet
- Eating much more food in a meal or snack than is considered normal
- Expressing depression, disgust, shame or guilt about eating habits
- Eating in secret
“If you’re worried that your child may have an eating disorder, contact his or her doctor to discuss your concerns,” Mayo Clinic advises. “If needed, you can get a referral to a qualified mental health professional with expertise in eating disorders, or if your insurance permits it, contact an expert directly.”
Lindsay Ell’s Breast Cancer Scare
Back in 2019, Ell took to her “What The Ell?” vlog on YouTube, after going to a routine doctor’s appointment that resulted in her getting a biopsy, to reveal she had pre-cancerous cells in her body that had to be surgically removed.
“Sometimes we can’t always understand why things happen to us in life, but what we can do is make sure we’re taking proper care of ourselves,” captioned her vlog.
“This is my story … and my unofficial PSA that you all should go see the doctor, at least once a year,” she said, Taste of Country reports. “Nobody ever likes to hear the word cancer, or anything to that severity … but if you catch something early enough, you never know when you could be saving your life.”
Based on your test results, preferences, and personal circumstances (such as your age), you and your doctor will make decisions about how to proceed with treatment.
Getting a Breast Cancer Diagnosis
Your mammogram or self-exam results may lead your doctor to recommend further testing with a diagnostic mammogram, ultrasound, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). If these tests suggest changes that might be cancer, you’ll need a biopsy–a test in which your doctor removes a small sample of tissue and has it checked for cancer in a lab. Only a biopsy can confirm or rule out whether you have breast cancer.
RELATED: Breast Cancer Overview
Although it can be frightening to go through breast cancer testing, SurvivorNet’s doctors advise that you try not to get ahead of yourself. It’s very possible for a biopsy to find that a lump is benign (not cancer).
If you do receive a breast cancer diagnosis, you’ll get a lot more information along with it—such as the type and stage of the disease. The stage means how far in your body the cancer has spread.
Should I Get Genetic Testing To Assess My Risk of Breast Cancer?
Though most breast cancers are not linked to inherited genetic mutations, knowing whether you have a mutation could affect the type of treatment you get. Therefore, it’s recommended that all women who are diagnosed with breast cancer be given genetic testing.
Getting a Mammogram to Screen for Breast Cancer
Mammograms screen for breast cancer and women aged 45 to 54 should have mammograms annually. Women with a history of breast cancer in the family should begin screening for this disease before the age of 45.
Related: When You’re Getting a Mammogram, Ask About Dense Breasts
Dr. Connie Lehman, the chief of the Breast Imaging Division at Massachusetts General Hospital, emphasizes in an earlier interview how mammograms save lives. She says, “If you haven’t gone through menopause yet, I think it’s very important that you have a mammogram every year. We know that cancers grow more rapidly in our younger patients, and having that annual mammogram can be lifesaving.”
“After menopause, it may be perfectly acceptable to reduce that frequency to every two years,” says Dr. Lehman. “But what I’m most concerned about is the women who haven’t been in for a mammogram for two, three, or four years, those women that have never had a mammogram. We all agree regular screening mammography saves lives.”
When Should I Get a Mammogram?
What to Expect from a Breast Biopsy
A breast biopsy is performed when a suspicious lump or calcifications are found on a physical exam or a mammogram. The procedure involves inserting a very fine needle into the suspicious area and removing a small amount of tissue to determine if it is, in fact, cancer. It’s typically a short procedure that may not be comfortable but shouldn’t be painful. There’s usually no scarring from a breast biopsy, though some patients may experience a little bruising.
There are several different ways breast biopsies are done. Most are done using mammography to locate the tumor. Ultrasound can also be used. And if neither of these techniques work, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a third option.
Learning About Breast Biopsies
Contributing: SurvivorNet Staff
Learn more about SurvivorNet's rigorous medical review process.