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Triple negative high grade scary

AllisonW34
Posts: 1
Joined: Nov 2012

I was recently diagnosed with stage 1a triple negative breast cancer after removal of lump that surgeon thought was fibroademona (so no lymph check yet). PET scan, MRI, and mammogram clear (thank GOD) . I still have to get genetic test, have masectomy if positive or surgery to get clearer margins and do sentinel biopsy of lymph glands if not, and then start chemo. I am 34 with very limited family hx of cancer (paternal grandmother in her late sixties, paternal great great aunt reportedly had some kind of "female" cancer according to my great aunt now deceased, and told my maternal great grandmother had masectomy for some reason but lived until 90 something). I have a 2 year old son and this dx has really done a number on me. I am hoping to find some support here and really hope to hear from some who have similar diagnoses and are doing well. I am concerned that, with having to get approval for masectomy and everyone scheduled plus 3 weeks between surgery and chemo, it will have been 8 weeks from the time of the original lumpectomy and start of chemo. They say I can have surgery just to get clearer margins and check lymph and have masectomy after chemo but I am worried that having major surgery after chemo would increase chances for infection or other complications. Any ideas/suggestions/advice?

salls41's picture
salls41
Posts: 340
Joined: Apr 2012

I had my surgery after chemo. I am triple negative. My tumor was a little short of 6cm. I was stage 2b.

Gabe N Abby Mom's picture
Gabe N Abby Mom
Posts: 2415
Joined: Sep 2010

In my case, the cancer is triple neg inflammatory BC. I had the same worries about too much time between treatments. I had chemo first, then bilateral, then rads. Once I expressed these worries to my doc, and he explained why there was a wait, I felt lots better.

The wait time between chemo and bilateral was needed to allow my body to process all the chemo and get it out of my system. That would allow healing from the surgery, BTW that went smoothly for me. Again, my body needed to heal between the surgery and rads, otherwise the rads wouldn't allow the surgery wound to heal.

BTW, you only have to do the genetic testing if you want it. I did it (came out negative) and I don't know any more than I did before the test. If it's negative, your kids may or may not get cancer. If it's positive, your kids may or may not get cancer. Even though mine was negative I still worry about my daughter and breast cancer. There are others here who may feel differently about genetic testing.

To more directly answer your question, there are many who do chemo first, then surgery. Yes, chemo does effect your immune system. But your docs will wait and allow time for the chemo to work it's way through your system, and they will do blood tests before surgery. That way they will know that you are strong enough to heal properly.

Best wishes. Please come back and let us know how you are doing.

Hugs,

Linda

linpsu's picture
linpsu
Posts: 725
Joined: Mar 2010

Hi Allison, When I was diagnosed with a recurrence of TNBC two years ago, I was Stage 3C. I had chemo first, then surgery, then radiation. I'm doing fine now. My tumor was 8 cm; chemo shrunk it to .5 cm. When I was first diagnosed two years earlier with TNBC, I had a lumpectomy, then mastectomy, but no chemo or rads. In hindsight, I wish I had gone with chemo and rads the first time around and maybe I wouldn't have had a recurrence.
Take care,
Linda

mom2wil
Posts: 5
Joined: Nov 2012

Hey Allison, I too was dx TNBC a few months ago. It's all new to me, too, but everyday I learn something valuable from this board. I just finished my last chemo 2days ago. My drs intentionally started chemo first to get a jump on this tumor and it worked, at least I think so. I couldn't feel it or had any pain after my first dose. My surgeon also said it could shrink down to nothing when completed. That may allow for more surgical options afterward. My f/up tests are scheduled one wk after my last session to get started on the next phase. . .The surgery saga. They don't seem to be concerned about infection/weak immune sys, but I haven't given them a reason to be. I did well with the chemo side effects, etc. Good luck. My son is 9 yo. I know where ur coming from. . . Amy

laughs_a_lot's picture
laughs_a_lot
Posts: 1368
Joined: Mar 2011

Chemo is the best defense against TNBC. You are lucky to have had it discovered at stage 1. This almost never happens. Chances are good that you don't have any lymph node involvement since you caught it so early. Remember, Chemo runs all over your body killing cancer cells like a vigilante. This is just in case the lymph nodes have been a pathway for the cancer to spread anywhere else. But since this is an agressive cancer and you are so young when getting it, the doctor wants to use the chemo to run around and kill off any offending cells as if they were nasty gang members about to do damage to the neighborhood, (ie your other body organs). Clean margins can be attained later as the chemo itself might possibly insure a good margin. I think the approach he is taking has a lot to do with your age. But remember chemo is the best defense against this kind of cancer. He is giving you your best defense.

I am an older survivor of TNBC and the approach was different for me. I had stage 2 and two lymph nodes involved. I also had a tumor 6.6 cm at it's largest dimension. I have done a lot of research on TNBC and I kind of understand the reason he is doing it in the order he seems to have chosen. Chemo did not bother me too awful much. And I was able to bounce back to my old self at age 57 within a couple of months after finishing radiation. So think about it. There is a good chance you will bounce back at least as well because you are younger than me. I understand you concern about infection but there are many like myself who had no issues with infection. Remember I am no spring chicken going through this. So I know you can do it.

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