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Stereotactic Core Needle Biopsy - PAIN?

CoeBruno's picture
CoeBruno
Posts: 19
Joined: Feb 2009

Yesterday, I had a Stereotactic Core Needle Biopsy - OUCH! I had a mammogram which looked suspicious, right breast only. My doctor had me go for additional mammography images and an ultrasound of my right breast. The Mammogram impression was an architectural distortion corresponding with a malignant appearing mass. Category 5-malignant features, biopsy recommended. The Ultrasound impression was a 1.2cm mass at 10 o'clock and 1.4cm mass at 11 o'clock. Category 5-malignant features, biopsy recommended. Needless to say, I made an appointment with my surgeon. The surgeon requested that I bring the films and reports from radiology with me. I did. That was yesterday morning 9:00 AM. My surgeon scheduled me immediately, the same day, for 12:30 PM to do a Stereotactic Core Needle Biopsy. To say the least, I was taken back by his urgency to do this procedure. Nonetheless, I agreed. However, I did ask for something to relax me, I was nervous. He assured me that I did not need anything, because it was relatively painless. He said I wouldn't feel a thing. I insisted, he agreed and gave me 5mg of valium 1 hour prior to the biopsy. OUCH, OUCH, OUCH! I had a terrible experience. I felt everything! I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy! I am so happy that it is over. Although, I am extremely anxious about waiting until Friday (3 Days) for the results to come back from pathology. Can anyone share their experience with this procedure as I have described it? Can anyone tell me why the majority of women do not have this awful pain, yet others do? Was it my surgeon? Or perhaps the location or depth of my masses? I truly don't believe my Dr. is to blame. But, why so much pain?

EveningStar2's picture
EveningStar2
Posts: 494
Joined: Jan 2009

I'm sorry that the procedure hurt you so much. I can only speak for myself but I was injected with lidocaine and really had no issues with the biopsy. My lesion was not terribly deep.

Stick around here, there is a lot of experience and support.

Maureen

rjjj's picture
rjjj
Posts: 1826
Joined: Jan 2009

I am glad you decided to post on this board. You will find many answers here from our sweet courageous sisters/brothers in pink. I also had mamogram followed by ultrasound and same day Core Needle biopsy. They also told me it would not hurt, (just a little prick) THEY LIED! This was one of the most painful procedures i have had. I tried to be brave but ended up crying like a wounded animal. The pain was not expected,,I will NEVER do that again without some sort of numbing for the pain. My radiologist told me it was 99% cancer before i ever got my pathology report back so i was already studying up on what i would have to do before i got the report. I don't know why they think it won't hurt!!!My tumor was 2.5 cm so the surgeon gave me the choice lumpectomy with radiation or masectomy. I just wanted to make sure it was all gone so i chose masectomy on my left breast. This was a good decision I think as 6 lymph nodes were positive out of 21 that he took out.
PLease post and let us know what you find out on Friday. You will be in my prayers. Good luck to you and God Bless
Hang in there sweetie
Jackie

fauxma's picture
fauxma
Posts: 3531
Joined: Dec 2008

So sorry that this was so painful for you and for you Jackie. I have had 2 stereotatic biopsies done. Neither was painful. Just a stick for the lidocaine and then a lot of pressure as they took the samples. I also had an ultrasound biopsy done. It was not painful either but it was more uncomfortable for me. I found it harder to have my arm over my head and leaning slightly sideways very uncomfortable. And it seemed like it took forever with the ultrasound wand to find the area. Just was annoying. I was scheduled for a ultrasound guided wire placement and a mammogram guided wire placement. One for the left and the other for the right, but they decided to do both with the mammo and I was relieved. It was not too bad either. Some more pricks and then probing and placement. Don't know why some are more painful. Could be area, depth, response to pain? We all have areas of greater sensitivity so this might influence. It is probably the same thing that governs the pain we are in after surgery. Some need mild meds and some need heavy duty stuff. Glad it is behind you and please let us know the outcome. There are so many on board here to help and answer questions. Glad your doctor is being so speedy with this.
Stef

CoeBruno's picture
CoeBruno
Posts: 19
Joined: Feb 2009

Stef,

I am so happy for you that you did not have the terrible experience Jackie and I had! I wasn't so sure about my Doctor being so aggressive, but after reading your comment - I am positive now that I was fortunate enough to have had a Doc that was speedy.

Thanks again,
Colette

CoeBruno's picture
CoeBruno
Posts: 19
Joined: Feb 2009

Jackie,

Thank you so much for your speedy and sincere response. I am sorry you had the severe pain that I, too, experienced. Thanks for including me in your prayers! I am so glad I posted on this board. You are an inspiration. I will let you know on Friday about my results. I will keep you in my prayers as well.

Colette

Aortus's picture
Aortus
Posts: 967
Joined: Jan 2009

Moopy didn't experience much pain from her biopsy. Not that it was any fun, either, but by that time we had more than a suspicion that a mastectomy was in her immediate future anyway. May God bless you with peace of mind and calm as you await the results. I remember going through that with Moopy in mid-November, and the memories are not exactly happy. Keep in mind that whatever might happen, you are taking your first big steps toward your new Life After Cancer.

Joe

lauren08
Posts: 29
Joined: Jan 2009

Hi CoeBruno,
I had the Stereotactic Core Biopsy back in Dec. I was nervous also & took a xanax that morning before I went. Now when I got in there the nurse said I looked like a deer with highlights on me that's how scared I was but despite that I was able to lie still the whole hour long procedure. I didn't feel any pain however a blood vessel was hit & there was some discomfort at the end because I was bleeding a lot & the Surgeon had to apply pressure on my breast for at least 15mins to get the bleeding to stop. I didn't really feel real pain til after I was in the car on my way home. I used an ice pack & took Extra Strength Tylenol for the pain for a day or two. I was sore for a full month after but called the nurse & she said this is normal & it could take from weeks to months to heal.

I only had a teeny mark the size of the needle head at the site but at the bottom of my breast I was bruised a dark purplish-black which lasted almost a full month.

Speaking of waiting now I didn't want my results on Xmas eve so I made my Dr wait to call me. Unfortunately I got the news the day before NY EVE that I have DCIS so I was spared for Xmas but ruined my New Years!

Hope your results are good. Take Care.
Lauren

phoenixrising's picture
phoenixrising
Posts: 1509
Joined: Feb 2007

Hi CoeBurno, Sorry you had to go through all that. I had 13 core biopsy's and even though they froze the site it hurt the more times they went back in. Near the end it was excruciating and I think they would have taken more if I would have let them. Afterward I went to the washroom and had a good cry. It was brutal!! I wouldn't do it again.

Perhaps the pain has to do with the location and how many times they go in. At first it was painful but I could handle it, after a while it was just too much.

Hope you get good results
love
jan

mmontero38's picture
mmontero38
Posts: 1523
Joined: Dec 2007

I had a needle core biopsy and was injected with Lidocaine so I can't give you any more info but I'm sure someone else might have had the experience. The waiting is the worse and I remember all those feelings too well. Please keep us posted. Hugs, Lili

dbs1673
Posts: 205
Joined: Sep 2008

I think I have a good pain threshold, but having this done more than once was terrible. The first time I had biopsies done in both breasts, one site each. I was in an upright position guided by the mammogram machine. After the wires were placed I felt like an alien as the wires were taped down and I went to the OR for surgical biopsies with general anesthesia. Couldn't they have put me under before all that. The results were left side negative, left side atypia hyperplasia. Move ahead 3 years, another need for biopsies.Was able to have ultrasound biopsy on the right but MRI showed spots on both breast that need core needle biopsies. Not again!! This time I was face down on the MRI table. One wire placement on the left and TWO on the right. More alien feeling and sent to OR. I do believe the placement and depth of the suspicious area is a major factor. I must say my surgeon, radiologist and nurses were absolutely wonderful!! When my results came back DCIS on the right, this entire ordeal was a factor in deciding to have a bilateral mastectomy. I don't want to ever go through that experience again. Not to mention I was small built and there only so many biopsies a breast can endure without losing shape.

mimivac's picture
mimivac
Posts: 2147
Joined: Dec 2008

It seems that how much pain one feels during any procedure depends on many, many factors. The skill of the physician/nurse for one. I had a core needle biopsy which didn't feel like a thing. However, my first neulasta shot was one of the most painful experiences of my life. The next two (with a different nurse) were just fine. Ugh. I am sorry you are going through this. Please let us know when you receive the results. We will be there for you no matter what they say.

Mimi

phoenixrising's picture
phoenixrising
Posts: 1509
Joined: Feb 2007

Mimi, what a fabulous picture!! Good to see you back, hope you are feeling OK.
love
jan

mimivac's picture
mimivac
Posts: 2147
Joined: Dec 2008

I am feeling much better, thanks. The fatigue just caught up with me for a few days, and it was really frustrating. Up and running around now, though.

Mimi

tasha_111's picture
tasha_111
Posts: 2041
Joined: Oct 2008

I'm not sure what I had but it was ultrasound led core biopy or something like that and it didn't hurt at all. Now yesterday my surgeon found a suspicious looking lump and insisted on 'aspirating' it..NOW THAT HURT! Ouchhhhhhhhh. And I have two weeks of sheer panic now to await the results, fingers crossed 'eh? Mimi, great pic and nice to see you back we all wondered where you had got to. Aortus, soooo glad you kept the turquiose jowl-to-jowl carpeting! Love to all J xxxxxxxxxxxxx

mimivac's picture
mimivac
Posts: 2147
Joined: Dec 2008

But sorry to hear about another procedure you had to have. I am sure it will be fine, though. Please try not to panic and let us know, OK?

Mimi

Chellebug
Posts: 134
Joined: Nov 2008

My pain was so bad from the procedure on my left breast, that when I found out two months later that they needed to biopsy a lymphnode on the right side I had panic attacks almost everyday leading up to the event. It is good that your doctor is proceeding quickly and we will all be praying that after all the trauma (both emotionally and physically) that you've had to endure, that you will have good news on Friday.

MelissaMF
Posts: 9
Joined: Feb 2009

Colette,

When you go to the dentist, do you usually need alot of novacaine? I had the same experience you did. They gave me about 3x the amount of lanacaine or lidacaine (whatever it was called) and it still did not help. I was in so much pain through out the whole thing. I felt the entire procedure. They told me afterwards that if I normally need alot of novacaine from the dentist for pain, then this is in the same family and it probably wasn't working too well for me. So you may have the same issue I did. Just curious to see if you need several needles when you go to the dentist to numb you up before he starts drilling.....that might be your answer. I do hope you get good news back. They asked me to wait after my procedure and said they were 99% sure it was cancer...and it was...but I still had to wait the 3 days for the official final report of what kind. I do hope you get better news than we have had!!! Good luck!

ajbf
Posts: 28
Joined: May 2008

I felt like I was a car they were working on . I felt everything too . the numming needle twisting and pushing in deeper, oh lord.. the jolt or flinch u dont feel (I though my nipple fell off..) and when u r only going to hear the engine part .( it felt like that numming needle ), then the marker they push in to u ,that was a little pinch,(I think the numming was starting to work) they didnot give me any valium. and I ask.. they promissed it wouldnt hurt,and every time I said that hurts they said oh it almost done, my biopsy came out clear, my mom ask so when r they going to remove the marker they put in. I replyed when I die they can have it back...then I told her they leave their so they know thats the spot where they biopsy. god bless annmarie

GreeneyedGirl's picture
GreeneyedGirl
Posts: 1001
Joined: Sep 2008

I am going in for my routine mammo of the healthy breast next week, should I be reminding myself of the pain of a stereotactic biopsy?? Ugh! I would rather give birth-at least there is something to hold when your done "delivering". Truly, tho I was numb, the closer they got towards behind the nipple area-the more discomfort I felt, moaning like i was in labor. So location probably has something to do with it.
Stay strong.

CoeBruno's picture
CoeBruno
Posts: 19
Joined: Feb 2009

Well, everyone, I finally got the phone call. Yes, in fact, I do have two malignant tumors. Both are cancerous. First, I would like to thank each and everyone of you for you responses and support. I am so fortunate to have had you all to relate to and share our experiences as far as the biopsy prodeures. It is Friday night about 11:00PM and I am finally alone. Believe it or not, I feel a piece of serenity sharing with you all. A few days ago I didn't know much about breast cancer or the overwhelming population of people that are fighting this disease. I receieved the dreadful news about 4:30 this afternoon. On January 11th I turned 50 years old. There is absolutely no history of breast cancer in my family whatsoever! I guess it has to start somewhere, Why not me? Enough about that. No need to wonder about the reason, right? It is what it is. I am choosing to be a fighter and beat this, with a strong optimism. Unfortunately, I will not know the extent of my cancer until Tuesday morning when I will meet with my surgeon. Again, I am faced with the waiting game. One of my biggest fears at this point is telling my 10 year old daughter, Jamie. I chose to wait until Tuesday after I have more information. Quite frankly, I don't know enough myself at this point. Nevermind trying to explain this to a 10 year old. On the other hand, I did share the news with my son Joe who is 20 years old. He seems angry at this point. But, supportive. My husband Tom is heartbroken. But, he too, is there for me. I am so lucky! This isi so much to absorb. Hopefully, with a good nights sleep, I will be able to think more clearly tomorrow.

With much gratitude,
Colette

Aortus's picture
Aortus
Posts: 967
Joined: Jan 2009

I feel so very deeply for you and your loved ones... but especially you. Next month my beloved Moopy will celebrate the first of many 49th birthdays. Like you, she had no family history of breast cancer. We found out the news two days after her biopsy: the evening of Tuesday, November 17. The phone rang around 5:00; it was Lisa's primary doctor, who wanted Lisa to hear the diagnosis from her and not the surgeon we were to meet the morning of Wednesday, November 18. Once Dr. Kim explained to Lisa that the cancer was "highly treatable," we were unbelievably relieved. The news wasn't good, obviously, but at least we knew what we were up against, and that we had a fair chance against it. By Wednesday afternoon, Lisa had an appointment for a mastectomy on Tuesday, November 24. My wife does *not* mess around.

While Moopy and I still had plenty of the "roller coaster" ahead of us (the pathology report, the port surgery, and the second opinion), and likely still do, at least the worst of the waiting was over once we got the official diagnosis. You will be in our thoughts and prayers as you wait out the additional information - here's hoping that the news is as good, or as un-bad as is possible. From what you have posted elsewhere I can tell you are a woman of great determination, just like my beloved Moopsy. For what it is worth, you have discovered a tremendous resource on this board. Please keep in touch, if only to vent!

Best,
Joe

EveningStar2's picture
EveningStar2
Posts: 494
Joined: Jan 2009

I'm sorry that your news was not more positive. Please keep us informed and I'm sure there are sisters here who have had to tell their kids. I have a 16 year old boy at home and I just kind of presented it to him that I had breast cancer, I was going to have surgery and we'd deal with it. My husband and I had more in depth discussions of course. Then I needed to call the other 3 kids. But as you said, it is what it is.

Keep fighting but don't be surprised that you emotions are all over the map. People tell me I'm doing well and I tell them that it's a minute to minute thing.

Maureen

fauxma's picture
fauxma
Posts: 3531
Joined: Dec 2008

So sorry for this diagnosis. It is not news anyone wants to hear. But you have a good attitude and that will take you far. Know that you will probably feel a bucketload of emotions throughout all this and that is normal. And know too, that we are all here for you. I think that it is a wise decision to wait to tell you young daughter after your Tuesday appointment. You will have more information and will have had a little more time to deal with this yourself. So glad that you have a supportive family. My husband was also heartbroken at my diagnosis. In some ways, I think it has been harder for him than me. He feels he has no control and can do nothing but I know that his love and support is what gets me through all this. He is my reason for everything. Again, Colette, know we are here and that almost any question you have can be answered by one of us. And all of us have good thoughts, prayers and support for you.
Stef

rjjj's picture
rjjj
Posts: 1826
Joined: Jan 2009

I am so very sorry you have been dealt the same dreadful cards as so many of us. My heart is going out to you this morning. I am proud of you for being determined and optimistic. It is so much to take in at first. Not only for us but for our loved ones. I think i have ran the whole circle of grieving more than once. Starting with denial, then anger, bargaining with God, depression and acceptance (that stage is a really tough one and don't know if i can really accept quite yet the fate being dealt to me) These stages go back and forth not only with me but with my family. This was the hardest thing i ever had to do is to tell my loved ones. Yet in telling them i gained their support and draw off their strength to fight.I also tried to wait to tell my children until i knew exactly what the plan was. But kids are smart and can sense when something is wrong and they felt better when i told them so they knew what to expect. They give me hope and are making plans for when i'm through with treatments. My daughter and i are already planning to walk in the relay for life! Never Never Never will we give up the fight!

There is so much to comprehend at first that it is overwhelming. Take time for yourself to think and find answers. Posting here on this board also gives me some peace. Such wonderful women and men offering answers and experience, and reminding us that we still need to cry, vent AND LAUGH!

I am praying for you that it won't be as bad as you fear. Be strong God won't give us more than we can take. I trust in the Lord to carry me when i can't walk.
My love to you and your family.
God Bless
Jackie

mmontero38's picture
mmontero38
Posts: 1523
Joined: Dec 2007

So sorry Colette that you also have to fight the beast, but you've come to a great place here on the boards. Everyone is sympathetic, helpful, and just great. We will walk every step of the way with you as some of us are still in treatment and other of us are done. I was diagnosed at 48 and had a 13 yr old girl and a 15 yr old boy who took it the hardest. It's difficult telling them, but stay positive and explain that it is treatable and curable. I finished treatments in Nov 2007 and am now on Tamoxifen. I have 4 more years of this medicine to go but it is doable. So, please post any questions you may have and we will all try to help out in any way we can. Hugs to you and your family, Lili

MelissaMF
Posts: 9
Joined: Feb 2009

I am sorry Colette you received that news. Now you will have to wait to see what type you have and figure out your next steps for treatments and surgery. That part is so hard. It may be best to wait until you have that information before you talk to your daughter. I have 4 girls (23, 15, 12, and 3). I told my 23 year old at the point you are at now, but I did not tell my other girls until I knew what kind of cancer I had and what surgery I was going to need. I knew they would have so many questions. I told them very calmly and said that we have really advanced with medicine and that this wasn't going to kill me. I told them I had to get a masectomy and would need their help during recovery with the 3 year old, but that we would all be fine. They took it really well. I was amazed that one of their biggest fears was that they were going to get it too. I wasn't prepared for that question when they asked. Stay positive and strong...we are here for you. Please let us know how you make out next week. We'll be praying for you.

shemiya
Posts: 17
Joined: Aug 2003

I had just turned 65 when I got my news I had breast cancer. They said it was so small a lumpectomy with rads would be all I needed. When the surgeon removed the lump the report came back everything was ok. A week later I was called back an error had been made and the margins were not clear. I went in for another lumpectomy to remove another section. This one came back full of precancer cells. A week later I had a mastectomy. That was 5 years ago in August. I had a very rough chemo. The red devil they called it FU5 and toxetere. I had 6 treatments 3 weeks apart. Finished the 23rd Dec 2005. Thanks to The Lord and my surgeon and my oncologist I am cancer free so far.Good luck to you and don't stop fighting. Keep the faith that all will be OK

CrystalW
Posts: 33
Joined: Sep 2008

Colette

I had two small children when I was diagnosed 7 years ago. My son was 10 and my daughter 8. That day was valentines day. My daughter had a doctors appointment that day but the surgeon called and wanted my husband and I to come in before her appointment. We did. My Doc gave us the good news and then we marched out into the waiting room where my daughter was waiting and took her to her appointment. Talk about a poker face. It really never set in until we got home and sat both of our children down and told them that I had cancer. They asked what that meant and we told them exactly what it meant. We did not sugar coat it at all. They asked if I was going to die from it, we told them I could but we were going to do everything in our power to see that doesn't happen. My son understood but I don't think my daughter quite did at that time. It still really didn't hit me until a short time afterwards (same night) my husband broke down and cried. After that the fight was on. He became my fighting coach and I must say without him, I don't know if I could of done it.
When I finally started treatment a couple of months later, we took our children with us. They sat right beside me in the chemo suite and saw what was being done to me and we discussed everything with them. It gave them a better understanding of why mom was sick and needed rest after treatment. They helped me when my husband wasn't home. They were wonderful. When my hair started coming out we had a shave Moms head night. Everyone got to take turns and we made it a fun thing instead of a bad thing. I must say that my kids have turned out to be very fine young adults with alot more appreciation for the people in their lives because they know how fagile life really is.
Good luck on this journey. You will get thru it. With the support of your family and loved ones...You can do anything. Come here often. These wonderful people have so much to offer it is amazing. Take care

(((((HUGS)))))
Crystal

MelJ
Posts: 3
Joined: Feb 2009

I feel for you and hope you will be OK. I also had a very painful core breast biopsy. I agree the way the tissue is removed verges on sadism. The long needle went in three times and I felt the needle each time. I have been left with a lump at the site of penetration and a hardness the width of my breast. I had to have at least 10-12 xrays taken before the procedure because they could not get a good location to go in. My breast was squished many more times in the machine because I am small. I was asked to turn left and turn right, lay on my sides and on my front. It was humiliating. The nurse also had to remove the soft table pad so I could set lower in the table hole. I had to lay on cold metal. I now need a wire placed inside my breast to find the inserted disc before a surgery. This will also be very painful. I am petrified to go back. I wonder if it is worth it. I do not know if it was the hospital staff or the location of the suspect area but the experience was awful.

CR1954's picture
CR1954
Posts: 1392
Joined: Jul 2008

I'm very sorry Colette, that this has happened to you. But, as has been said here, everyone on this board is here for you. Cancer has touched us all.

My daughter is a nurse, and she and my husband were both with me when I was asked to come to the doctor's office and got the "official" diagnosis. They were both a rock for me, as I had something of a meltdown.

My son on the other hand, who was 27 at the time, started crying like a baby when he was told. He is normally a very strong, no-nonsense-type person, but I found myself having to comfort him.
Every time he would see me over the next couple of weeks, he would start crying again. I was trying very hard to gather the strength and determination to get through what lie ahead, and frankly, I did not have the strength for both of us....

My daughter finally sat him down (unknown to me at the time) and told him that if he could not be strong for me, could not at least put on a brave face and stay composed, then he must stay away until he could. That snapped him out of it and from then on, he too, was my rock.
He became one of my many cheerleaders through all of the treatments!

Who would have thought that a 27 year old, self-reliant, confident guy like he is would have turned into a puddle over my illness. But he did. I guess you just never know how a family member will react to circumstances.
But I agree...the best thing that you can do is to arm yourself with all of the facts and as much information as possible before talking to your loved ones.

Sending you cyber hugs!

CR

dbs1673
Posts: 205
Joined: Sep 2008

Sorry Collette for coming on the journey that none of us wanted to be on. Allow yourself time to absorb the information that is being given to you; take someone with you if possible to hear when you can't possibly absorb it all.
I was 20 years old when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Somehow I thought that experience would help me in May 2008 when I was diagnosed and my daughter was 20. She was finishing her sophmore year in college (nursing major) and I just wanted to wait until her finals were over. My 17 year old son is in many ways the more sensitive, unshowing one. I was able to give the facts, the treatment plan and most importantly what is a very good prognosis. The door was always left open for questions from them. Not surprising my daughter asked the medical, factual ones. My son asked more about hopsital stays, recovery at home. Really, what 17 year old son wants to ask much about his mother's boobs, much less the removal of them! Any literature I recieved I left on the table for my husband, kids and me to pick up anytime. I have had the BRACA 1&2 testing done, both negative. My daughter knows this but I'm not sure she finds much comfort in that.
As for this journey, please know that it hasn't all been bad...far from it. You will find many wonderful, caring, uplifting, funny, amazing people along the way. Put your seat belt on, raise your arms up, scream and go!!!!

mimivac's picture
mimivac
Posts: 2147
Joined: Dec 2008

But you will get through it. The waiting is really one of the hardest parts. Once you have a treatment plan in place, things will start to go a lot faster. We on this board know about the waiting and the myriad of emotions one goes through -- so let us wait with you. Post whenever you feel the urge and we'll keep you company. I think at this point it is easy to get overwhelmed with all the new things happening in your life. It might help to take things one step and one day (sometimes even one hour) at a time. Get your results, talk to your doctor, give yourself some time to digest, etc. Please let us know later today if you feel up to it. We are here to support you.

Mimi

CoeBruno's picture
CoeBruno
Posts: 19
Joined: Feb 2009

First of all, thank you, thank you, thank you, EVERYONE! You all have given me a place to share, vent, and learn. You are all so generous and truly appreciated!

I live in Florida the past 8 years. But, I am originally from New York. I have 5 sisters and only 1 that lives here with me in Florida. Well, after getting the dreadful news this past Friday afternoon that I have two malignant tumors in my right breast, I have had more support and love from family and friends (I include all of you as my friends, too) that I could possibly ever have prayed for! Two of my sister's from NY arrived here on Monday night to be with me - God is soooo good!

Well, I went to my surgeon on Tuesday and he told me I have invasive lobular carcinoma (ILC).
He couldn't tell me what stage. The plan is to have a lumpectomy next week. He said at that time he would also perform a sentinal node biopsy. He said he would also try and implant a balloon for subsequent radiation treatment. If, in fact, the sentinal node biopsy was also malignant, he would remove my nodes immediately during the same operation.

So, I am trying to stay focused and take one step at a time. Through prayer and support from loved ones, so far, I feel composed. However, friends, can anyone tell me more about ILC? More about a lumpectomy? More about this balloon? Second opinions?

At this point, I am waiting for an appointment (probably tomorrow) for a few MRI's. My surgeon says he would like to do surgery next week. He also said I will be meeting with a medical oncologist and a radiology oncologist. He said after the removal of these lumps they would be sent to pathology and then I will know the stage of cancer. Again, "the waiting game"...

P.S. Thanks to you and your shared experiences, my daughter Jamie took the news just fine. I was so worried about that! She's only 10 and I truly didn't want this to absorb her totally - like at times it does to me.

With prayers and gratitude,
Colette

mimivac's picture
mimivac
Posts: 2147
Joined: Dec 2008

Colette,

I'm glad you have a plan of what to do next. It seems as if your doctors are on the ball. Usually getting the surgery done as soon as possible is a good idea. Invasive lobular carcinoma is a type of breast cancer that begins in the milk-producing glands (lobules) and then invades surrounding tissues. It acconts for 15-20 of all breast cancers. Most breast cancers are invasive ductal carcinomas. ILC tends to be larger at diagnosis (because it is less likely to show up on a mammogram), but generally has a better prognosis than IDC.

I had a lumpectomy as well. The surgeon will try to take out all of the cancer cells and then a pathologist will analyze the lump. The sentinal node biopsy will determine whether the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. For this they usually inject a dye into your system to identify the sentinal node, which is usually the first one into which cancer drains if it has spread. They will biopsy this node and up to 3 others to determine whether they contain cancer. Usually they do this while you are still on the operating table. If there is cancer in the nodes, they will do a axillary dissection to remove your lymph nodes. It is important that the surgery produce "clean margins," meaning that the margins of the lump are cancer free. Otherwise a second surgery may be necessary to make sure that all the cancer is out.

All this will help in staging. Staging is dependant on size of tumor and spread of cancer.

My lumpectomy went just fine. Sentinal node biopsy turned up no cancer, so I didn't have the dissection. I didn't have a lot of pain and got by on extra strength tylenol for a few days. The scar was also not a big deal at all.

If you are hesitant about anything, get a second opinion as soon as possible. I felt confident with my surgeon and knew I wanted the cancer out immediately, so I went ahead with surgery. I did get a second opinion when it came to chemotherapy. There is time for that later.

Anyway, you are well on your way, and I know it will be fine. We will be there for you every step of the way.

Mimi

Derbygirl's picture
Derbygirl
Posts: 198
Joined: Jul 2008

I agree with everything that Mimi covered. I also had a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy. I really wanted to have the 5 day targeted radiation with a balloon, but characteristics of my tumor did not meet the guidelines. Standard radiation followed. Glad that you don't have to wait too long for surgery and a definitive diagnosis. You'll know so much more once you meet with the cancer team. Stay positive, learn as much as you can about treatment options and visit this support network often because it's a group of people who have been through what you are going through now and can offer support 24/7. Good luck!

mimivac's picture
mimivac
Posts: 2147
Joined: Dec 2008

I would be interested in this procedure as well. I seem to fit all the criteria for one (early stage breast cancer, smaller than 3 cm. tumor, no spread to lymph nodes), but my doctors are recommending standard radiology. If anyone has info. on this for us, it would be appreciated.

Mimi

Derbygirl's picture
Derbygirl
Posts: 198
Joined: Jul 2008

Mammosite 5 Day Targeted Radiation Therapy. I can't remember all of the criteria but here's how it works. A balloon is surgically inserted into the cavity where the tumor was along with a catheter through which you receive radiation therapy twice a day for five days. The balloon is removed after day 5. This was recommended by my breast cancer surgeon and oncology radiologist until pathology of the tumor indicated certain characteristics that made me ineligible. You should be able to find more info about Mammosite on the internet. Hope this helps.

EveningStar2's picture
EveningStar2
Posts: 494
Joined: Jan 2009

I asked my breast surgeon about this and the position of the tumor made me not suitable for this.

Maureen

sunnygirl's picture
sunnygirl
Posts: 57
Joined: Feb 2009

Collette,

I know you've got a lot to absorb. My experience which began in Dec was with a lump I found myself about a week after my annual mammo. The surgeon looked at it with ultrasound, and said he did't like it. I had a lumpectomy a week later--had to wait a week because I was taking Advil. Doing the lumpectomy, he found a second lump-which meant a mastectomy for me because my breasts are small. The cancer was invasive lobular carcinoma, which can be a sneaky one, more difficult to detect. Jan 8, I had a mastectomy and the sentinel node was positive--so all nodes were removed, but the remaining nodes were negative. I had my first chemo this week, it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
One step at a time, breath deeply, cry when you feel like it, let people help and love you.
You are not in this alone.
Big Hugs,
Sunnygirl

Linda Marie
Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2012

I noticed your post from Feb. 09' how did things turn out? I had a stereotactic biopsy last week and rated it as a mild discomfort. I had anxiety about it for sure. But I came out clean for cancer. I will focus on a diet that is high in fiber and better. I'm one that likes to make home made breads and goodies all loaded with sugar and white flour. So I need to limit that stuff.
Linda Marie

24242
Posts: 1417
Joined: Mar 2001

I am sorry your experience was so painful but there is a certain percentage of the population that are sensative and I too had a horrid needle biopsy experience. I must admit that I was very ill at the time of the second lump growing in a week in my armpit so that might have added to the intensity of pain at that time.
I just want to remind you all how sensitive the breast area is and how many nerve ending are there. For some pain isn't an issue thresholds high for some. I am no baby and I have done my share of pain through my life being an athlete with knee injuries. I too had a child and never was able to venture there again never forgetting the Pain I associated with the birthing process but then again Pain is my game...
I spent 5 years after all treatments were done finding out the levels of pain one human can suffer through and believe me if no looks no one will find the diseases associated with some kinds of these pains. I found that I hit even most of the 1 percentiles of side effects and that was with every treatment given including surgery something I had 4 times throughout my ordeal.
I honestly believe inside we can feel the changes happening no matter the stage of our cancer if we would only listen. I look back and can't remember a time I truly felt well after high school. I had always worked in male dominated field so had to work my ass off to keep my job so often thought stress of that and single motherhood was enough of a reason to feel tired and ill most of the time.
It has been 12 years this March of my survival and very grateful for the time I have been given. Do I think I am cured, no... I believe I was given this chance to be here for my son and it can be as simple as that. It was important for me to see that what I was doing wasn't working hence the cancer and now have had to learn to live and give myself what I easily gave to others.
One has to continue the journey and the Support Of Others is better medicine than some drugs and happens to help us move on just a little each day. It does get better but we have to be willing to change and give more of ourselve's than we have ever known.

disneyfan2008
Posts: 5259
Joined: Oct 2010

during procedure I kept thinking these meds not working...they are not working..! I dint' think much of it until some days later found paperwork in my purse-I asked my hubby how it got there-he said you gave it to me and I put in in..shorten version I MUST HAVE really been out of it-even thought felt not...

they kind of thought I was nutty to ask for loopy pills...but I DID>>>!

bluwillo
Posts: 113
Joined: May 2010

My core needle biopsy was soo painful! At one point, the nurse stuck her face in my face and said "Are you ok? You're so still...but don't hyperventilate" I was nasty to her, said "Get outta my face, you're in the way of my visual"...I was drawing pictures with the holes in the tiles of the ceiling and doing lamaze breathing. After it was over, I told the doctor not to take it personally, but if a procedure is so painful that I have to use lamaze breathing to get thru it, I won't do it again unless I'm knocked out!

That taught me to speak up and tell nurses and docs that it's bad enough that I have to have cancer, does it really have to involve torture too? It also taught me that on poke #5 of what turned out to be 8 pokes to start a line for chemo, it's time to bring on the lamaze breathing! So, I'm all about bringing on the drugs too, hell yeah!

Linda Marie
Posts: 2
Joined: Jan 2012

I think a few things factor into the procedure. 1) competency of the Radiologist performing it 2)size of breast, I think those with larger more fatty breasts vs. those with smaller more dense breasts could make a difference 3) One's frame of mind, anxiety or fear level. The reason I had the biopsy was to determine how the calcifications looked and get a pathology report. I'm one with a smaller more dense breast so perhaps where there is less fat there may be more sensitivity. The Radiologist was very competent. As I have secondary links to breast cancer I had anxiety. My birad, risk factor was 4A which means there is "suspicion" 80% are benign for cancer but 20% in fact can be positive for it. I'm not always the most lucky so I felt very unsettled that I could be in the 20% group. Thus, I asked my dr. for .5 mg. of a Xanex generic version for anxiety. With it I laid perfectly still and was a very cooperative patient. I would say while there was some pressure as the vacuuming of tissue went on it was doable. Post procedure I did have some burning sensation and what felt like a sharp spearing feeling but as I iced the area and took Tylenol I was just fine. I think we have to look at the big picture in this and say how great it is to be an out patient rather than be admitted for a more invasive type of surgery as what used to be years ago. I guess all things considered I would rate it as a mild discomfort. And the best news is I am in the 80% that are breast cancer free. I will be more attuned to incorporating more fish and brown rice into my diet. I'll eat good veggies and anti oxidant fruits. I'll continue to walk at least 30 min. each day to stay on the right side of the equation. And I am aware of a dr. that practices at a Chicago university hospital that has both a background in western medicine as well as holistic treatment plans. If I ever came up with cancer he would be the one I would believe in. I am not one that believes in rounds of chemo, that wouldn't be for me. I think early detection is key so we need to do whatever is required to get a diagnosis. I hope this makes some sense.

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