Newly diagnosed and asking questions

cisbell0902
cisbell0902 Member Posts: 3
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Hello...

My name is Carol and I was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. There were two lesions, one was 1.1 cm and the other was .02 cm. I was told by my surgeon that I was a candidate for brest conservation therapy and radiation. I have had the surgery and there is no cancer in my lymph nodes (thank goodness).
I just got home from my oncologist's office and he told me I need chemotherapy in addition to the radiation. Is this common? Does anyone know where I can look up any statistics for this?
I am still in a state of shock over the cancer and am not sure how to proceed.
Any help you can offer me would be appreciated.

Thank you...

Carol Isbell
[email protected]

Comments

  • jeancmici
    jeancmici Member Posts: 665 Member
    Very common to get 4 cycles of chemo even if the lymph nodes are not involved because cancer can travel via the blood stream - sometimes - and skip the nodes at first.

    Those with one or more nodes with cancer - I had one involved - get the 4 you will have and then 4 of another chemo - usually taxol.

    This is a good place to ask questions and hear of the experiences of others.

    Good Luck! Your oncologist is just giving you the most recent common treatment.

    Jean
  • iris48
    iris48 Member Posts: 92
    Morning Carol,
    Learn as much as you can because ultimately you decide what is best for you. I too had 1.2 cm on right breast, but they also found ductual in situ not only on the right but left breast as well. None of my carcinomas showed on mamms or ultra sounds, so both you and doc should be checking both sides. It is common to recommend radiation when doing lumpectomy and chemo for the added advantage. I felt radiation was too destructive to esophogus, heart and surrounding tissues and wanted to avoid it. My finding the BC early enabled me to choose. I didn't want to worry every month if I detected or missed a possible reoccurrance, so for me i opted for a double mastectomy that was skin saving. It was because i prophalatically did left breast that I discovered from pathology it too has a ductual carcinoma. This saved me from having to do treatments twice or maybe missing it for longer period of time and having bigger problem. My mastectomys were done 8/21/01 and had expanders put in same time. Just this Thurs. 10/17 had implants (saline after much research and questioning) put in and I am cancer free and another step closer to having my life back. I am feeling stronger each day and the new "girls" are doing very nicely. The surgeon I finally selected to do the implants specializes in this area, so her operating time was half or the orginial doc. Her facility was smaller so less risk of staph infections ect prone to larger hospitals. I was treated like a real person, not a disease or a number which was refreshing. My discomfort is mostly due to the fact the other surgeon I had left the expanders in too long so my ribs are very bruised and sore. The actual implant part was friendly considering all I have been through. I didn't even require drains. Check out my profile by clicking on my name. If you want you can write to me. Feel confident in whatever choice you made and my prayers and healing wishes go with you.
    Hugs, Iris
  • jmears
    jmears Member Posts: 266
    Hi Carol
    Sorry to hear you have to go through this. My Oncologist probably would not give the chemo with your small tumors and no nodes ... but other factors like Her2/neu and estrogen + or -. Maybe because you had two separate spots they want to be more aggresive. One more thing my Oncologist takes into consideration ones age ... the younger you are the more treatment. I do think there is standard protical but each may vary. Good luck. Jamie
  • hummingbyrd
    hummingbyrd Member Posts: 950 Member
    HI Carol, welcome to the club. I know its scary and not funny, but better to laugh than cry. I was diagnosed 6/00, at age 38 4cm lump now stage 4 (bone mets) and lumpectomy from other breast. Studies show lumps have = cure rate as mastectomys (personal decision I think plus factor in fam history, etc.) First things first, start praying! Ask for wisdom for the MDs to treat you the best way possible for your situation and ask for comfort and strength and God's angels of mercy and healing to surround you. In Christ's name amen. Then at all cost KEEP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE! Faith heals, unfortunately you also have to usually go thru the surgery, chemo and radiation. Find out your tumor type, ER+/PR+/HER2NU and stage. There is a site, I'll have to find it later, that gives u an algorithm on treatment guidelines. Hate to say it but in most cases medical treatment is almost like following a cook book recipe. Anyway we'll get the algorithm and u can compare it to what your doc is recommending. Hang in there u caught it early that's usually a good prognosis. Don't let it scare u, our days are #'ed anyway. Diagnosis is not a death sentence, its just a trial of faith. Remember, u were never promised more than today before the diagnosis, you could have easily been hit by a truck, or seriously a plane could have crashed into your office, or a sniper picked u off. This is just a thing, at least u have been warned and can now prepare yourself for battle. When u make it thru this its like climbing MT Everest! There's nothing like the feeling of putting your trust in God and seeing him bring u through! God bless Hummingbyrd. (Next message won't be so long!)
  • bobbiejo
    bobbiejo Member Posts: 23
    jeancmici said:

    Very common to get 4 cycles of chemo even if the lymph nodes are not involved because cancer can travel via the blood stream - sometimes - and skip the nodes at first.

    Those with one or more nodes with cancer - I had one involved - get the 4 you will have and then 4 of another chemo - usually taxol.

    This is a good place to ask questions and hear of the experiences of others.

    Good Luck! Your oncologist is just giving you the most recent common treatment.

    Jean

    Hi Jean,
    I also had one node involved (micro amount .5 mm) and I am on six treatments of AC and taxatere. Do you know the difference between taxatere and taxol?
    Bobbie Jo
  • jeancmici
    jeancmici Member Posts: 665 Member
    bobbiejo said:

    Hi Jean,
    I also had one node involved (micro amount .5 mm) and I am on six treatments of AC and taxatere. Do you know the difference between taxatere and taxol?
    Bobbie Jo

    Taxol is the first of the taxanes from the yew plants - American. Taxetere is French - more recent - said to have an edge over the American and I think usually used for metastases. Actually both were only used for metastases in the beginning but now more aggressive treatment is given at the first diagnosis because it's easier to treat it the first time than the return times.

    I don't know how involved my sentinel node was, but they took all together 11- 13 - already forgot exact number - thought I'd remember forever! Good luck with your treatments.

    Jean

    Jean
  • jeancmici
    jeancmici Member Posts: 665 Member
    iris48 said:

    Morning Carol,
    Learn as much as you can because ultimately you decide what is best for you. I too had 1.2 cm on right breast, but they also found ductual in situ not only on the right but left breast as well. None of my carcinomas showed on mamms or ultra sounds, so both you and doc should be checking both sides. It is common to recommend radiation when doing lumpectomy and chemo for the added advantage. I felt radiation was too destructive to esophogus, heart and surrounding tissues and wanted to avoid it. My finding the BC early enabled me to choose. I didn't want to worry every month if I detected or missed a possible reoccurrance, so for me i opted for a double mastectomy that was skin saving. It was because i prophalatically did left breast that I discovered from pathology it too has a ductual carcinoma. This saved me from having to do treatments twice or maybe missing it for longer period of time and having bigger problem. My mastectomys were done 8/21/01 and had expanders put in same time. Just this Thurs. 10/17 had implants (saline after much research and questioning) put in and I am cancer free and another step closer to having my life back. I am feeling stronger each day and the new "girls" are doing very nicely. The surgeon I finally selected to do the implants specializes in this area, so her operating time was half or the orginial doc. Her facility was smaller so less risk of staph infections ect prone to larger hospitals. I was treated like a real person, not a disease or a number which was refreshing. My discomfort is mostly due to the fact the other surgeon I had left the expanders in too long so my ribs are very bruised and sore. The actual implant part was friendly considering all I have been through. I didn't even require drains. Check out my profile by clicking on my name. If you want you can write to me. Feel confident in whatever choice you made and my prayers and healing wishes go with you.
    Hugs, Iris

    Iris,

    Many surgeons give radiation even with a mastectomy because I was going to go this route and avoid radiation. He said: Well, you'll get the radiation either way because you still have tissue in that area.

    If I had been younger as you probably are, I might have made your decision instead.

    Jean
  • banker
    banker Member Posts: 317 Member
    Hi Carol,usually your onc.will look at the whole picture that might best fit your profile. Re: age, type of BC, ER neg. or ER pos.agressive,nonagressive etc.
    I had BC in 1998, 1.7 cm tumor,agressive,mastectomy, no lymph nodes involved, 6 mo of chemo CAF protocol.Tram Flap Reconstruction.This year I was diag. with BC again, other breast, 5mm lesion, lumpectomy, 34 radiation treatments, followed by 6 mo of chemo, CMF protocol. I will have my last chemo treatment this thursday. Its been a long road. I chose this chemo because I want to make sure I did everything possible and hope this desease won't come back. I am sure your Onc. has given you options to choose from. Find out as much as you can and then make your decision. If you have more questions just e-mail me. Glad to answer anything. By the way I am 58 and doing well. Think possitive we are here to help you and have been or going thru the same. My prayers are with you...hugs...Emmi
  • jamie61
    jamie61 Member Posts: 1
    hi my name is jamie i found out i have breast cancer in april i had to have a masecetomy and am on chemo right now then ill be on radiation after .i no what your going through thay want to do chemo to make sure thay get it all if i were you i would do the chemo to be safe better to get it all then to have it come back .good luck ill be praying for you .you can email me at [email protected] if you want to talk
  • maggs
    maggs Member Posts: 164

    HI Carol, welcome to the club. I know its scary and not funny, but better to laugh than cry. I was diagnosed 6/00, at age 38 4cm lump now stage 4 (bone mets) and lumpectomy from other breast. Studies show lumps have = cure rate as mastectomys (personal decision I think plus factor in fam history, etc.) First things first, start praying! Ask for wisdom for the MDs to treat you the best way possible for your situation and ask for comfort and strength and God's angels of mercy and healing to surround you. In Christ's name amen. Then at all cost KEEP A POSITIVE ATTITUDE! Faith heals, unfortunately you also have to usually go thru the surgery, chemo and radiation. Find out your tumor type, ER+/PR+/HER2NU and stage. There is a site, I'll have to find it later, that gives u an algorithm on treatment guidelines. Hate to say it but in most cases medical treatment is almost like following a cook book recipe. Anyway we'll get the algorithm and u can compare it to what your doc is recommending. Hang in there u caught it early that's usually a good prognosis. Don't let it scare u, our days are #'ed anyway. Diagnosis is not a death sentence, its just a trial of faith. Remember, u were never promised more than today before the diagnosis, you could have easily been hit by a truck, or seriously a plane could have crashed into your office, or a sniper picked u off. This is just a thing, at least u have been warned and can now prepare yourself for battle. When u make it thru this its like climbing MT Everest! There's nothing like the feeling of putting your trust in God and seeing him bring u through! God bless Hummingbyrd. (Next message won't be so long!)

    Dana-Farber at Harvard site had a decision tree published by the American Cancer Society. But I haven't been there lately so I don't know if it is still there. Call ACS and ask if they can send it to you. Gives you recommended treatments for each stage and decision guidelines...
    Maggs
  • mariaz
    mariaz Member Posts: 10
    Carol,

    I had a mastectomy last November & there was no lymph node involvement. I had to have chemo though. My was small-1.5 cm-but agressive. It was a grade 3 tumor. That could be the reason for the chemo.
    If you have any questions about chemo or anything, please feel free to write me. I think ot helps to talk to others who have gone through the same experience. Maria
  • geral
    geral Member Posts: 130
    Hi Carol! Welcome to your discussion group! I'm sorry about your cancer diagnosis and know how scary it can be. But as you can see, there are ALOT of us survivors still around! You're very fortunate to have caught your cancer early. Yes, chemotherapy in addition to radiation is very common. That's what I had after my lumpectomy 6/9/00. You stated that you're not sure how to proceed...You couldn't have done any better than starting out here at this website! I'm still learning from 'the girls'. Unfortunately, it took me over 2 yrs. to get to this site. The day I was diagnosed I went straight home & called The American Cancer Society (ACS). The lady that answered was so kind and supportive. She sent a 1/4" thick document on BC (Breast Cancer). This is like a cancer 'bible'. It will answer so many of your questions including treatments, staging, etc. Refer to this throughout your treatments. At first, alot of it won't make sense because you're new to the lingo. But over time, you'll be well-versed in breast cancer. Continue to reach out for support-family, friends, support groups. Take care, Geral
  • mjtarantino
    mjtarantino Member Posts: 8
    Hi -
    I was diagnosed on September 11 - what a day to get the news! I had a mastectomy on Sept. 30 and there was no cancer in my lymph nodes. My cancer was Stage I. The reason I had the whole breast removed rather than lumpectomy was because of the position of the tumors -too much breast would have been removed. One was 1.4 cm and the other was .6cm. I had some DCIS in the margin and my surgeon assures me that even if it was cut into it will not spread.(I also had invasive ductal carcinoma.)
    I elected to have chemotherapy - I guess it will give me some peace of mind to think I've done everything I could. I will also have radiation. I am also in shock. The last month has seemed like a bad dream. Breast cancer does not run in my family and I would never have believed that I was at risk. Have you tried the "Breast Cancer Facts and Figures" available on this website? It will give you a little more info. "The Breast Book" by Susan Love probably would answer you questions. I have the book and I read some of it prior to my surgery but put it away and haven't touched it since. Too much info before I really knew what I was facing was a little too scary.
    I wish you the best...
    Maureen
  • bebe1976
    bebe1976 Member Posts: 60
    Hi Carol,
    As I've been told, any lession that is larger than 1cm is usually treated with chemo and radiation. You're on the right path, recovery is a long journey that we all take, but it's worth the effort. I'm a 26 yr old breast cancer patient on the last leg of treatment. I will start my 7 weeks of radiation tommorow and am willing to answer any questions I can and talk to you about my experience. If you need support, we'll all be here.
    Love,
    Jenn