I need a smart person.......

CR1954
CR1954 Member Posts: 1,390 Member
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
Ok, all along, I've thought that I was a stage IIB. After reviewing my path report, which is now almost a year old, I think I am really a IIIA.

Can someone PLEASE translate?

pT2 pN2 pMX

tumor size 4 x 3 x 2.5 cm. 6 of 17 lymph nodes.

Thanks!

CR

Comments

  • Aortus
    Aortus Member Posts: 967
    I'm not smart
    But maybe this will help. The American Cancer Society has a useful guide to BC staging (look toward the bottom of the page).

    As best I can interpret it, your tumor was in fact IIIa. I know that sounds bad. Moopy and I weren't any too pleased when we learned that her tumor was not IIb (as we had been led to believe) but IIIa instead. But since that time, we've been told over and over again, even by doctors, that traditional Roman-numeral staging counts for less and less in cancer treatment. The TNM staging system is far more accurate and far more helpful.

    The same is true of the stats at the bottom of the ACS page, which represent patients who were DXed as far back as 20 years ago. I was talking with my brother's mother-in-law last month, who was DXed with Stage IV BC in 1983... because of positive lymph nodes. She described her treatment back then like comparing a 1983 Ford Escort to a 2009 Mercedes. She also pointed out that her little girl was a high school freshman when she was DXed - and here she was, watching her little girl's youngest son graduate from high school!

    Hope this helps at least some!

    Joe
  • CR1954
    CR1954 Member Posts: 1,390 Member
    Aortus said:

    I'm not smart
    But maybe this will help. The American Cancer Society has a useful guide to BC staging (look toward the bottom of the page).

    As best I can interpret it, your tumor was in fact IIIa. I know that sounds bad. Moopy and I weren't any too pleased when we learned that her tumor was not IIb (as we had been led to believe) but IIIa instead. But since that time, we've been told over and over again, even by doctors, that traditional Roman-numeral staging counts for less and less in cancer treatment. The TNM staging system is far more accurate and far more helpful.

    The same is true of the stats at the bottom of the ACS page, which represent patients who were DXed as far back as 20 years ago. I was talking with my brother's mother-in-law last month, who was DXed with Stage IV BC in 1983... because of positive lymph nodes. She described her treatment back then like comparing a 1983 Ford Escort to a 2009 Mercedes. She also pointed out that her little girl was a high school freshman when she was DXed - and here she was, watching her little girl's youngest son graduate from high school!

    Hope this helps at least some!

    Joe

    Thanks Joe!
    You have been a tremendous help! I must admit that I was upset when I got out the report and realized that it was probably IIIa. I wanted to make sure that I was "deciphering" it correctly.

    Frankly, looking at the report at all kind of makes my stomach knot, so I try not to look at it much...if that makes any sense.

    At any rate, even though I am really IIIa, it doesn't change anything. I don't feel any differently now physically than I did yesterday, when I THOUGHT that I was IIb. So, on I go.......

    CR
  • Paula1001
    Paula1001 Member Posts: 35
    CR1954 said:

    Thanks Joe!
    You have been a tremendous help! I must admit that I was upset when I got out the report and realized that it was probably IIIa. I wanted to make sure that I was "deciphering" it correctly.

    Frankly, looking at the report at all kind of makes my stomach knot, so I try not to look at it much...if that makes any sense.

    At any rate, even though I am really IIIa, it doesn't change anything. I don't feel any differently now physically than I did yesterday, when I THOUGHT that I was IIb. So, on I go.......

    CR

    Not smart, but been there
    My initial diagnosis was III. After surgery (double mas) it was IIIA and there were 5 tumors, not four, and 3 of 13 lymph nodes involved. Reading the path reports sent me into a tailspin. It sounds catastrophic. However, after discussing all this with my oncologist, I felt much better. It's certainly not a great place to start our journey, but we will overcome it.

    Good Luck and look ahead.
    We're all on the journey together.
    Paula
  • CR1954
    CR1954 Member Posts: 1,390 Member
    Paula1001 said:

    Not smart, but been there
    My initial diagnosis was III. After surgery (double mas) it was IIIA and there were 5 tumors, not four, and 3 of 13 lymph nodes involved. Reading the path reports sent me into a tailspin. It sounds catastrophic. However, after discussing all this with my oncologist, I felt much better. It's certainly not a great place to start our journey, but we will overcome it.

    Good Luck and look ahead.
    We're all on the journey together.
    Paula

    Thank you Paula!
    I hate reading the path report. It gives me kind of a panicky feeling. Kind of silly because I know that I have been treated for breast cancer. Yet, reading about my cancer scares me all over again.

    Yep, looking ahead! I remain optimistic!

    CR
  • Akiss4me
    Akiss4me Member Posts: 2,188
    CR1954 said:

    Thank you Paula!
    I hate reading the path report. It gives me kind of a panicky feeling. Kind of silly because I know that I have been treated for breast cancer. Yet, reading about my cancer scares me all over again.

    Yep, looking ahead! I remain optimistic!

    CR

    CR
    My hubby could not except the fact that I had cancer until he saw the physical evidence (he is a detective) in black & white. When I ask him why, he said that seeing it on paper with my name attached to it and looking at all the details about a part of my body confirmed that the cancer existed to him. It left no room for doubt like a verbal report did. Sorta like a "show me" type thing.
    So I think when we read our report, we get that sinking in the stomach feeling because we're looking at the evidence that says "yep, you got it!!" :) Pammy
  • lynn1950
    lynn1950 Member Posts: 2,570
    I thought I was IIB at first
    Hi Cindy, My surgeon thought I was IIB and that's what she told me. I saw the IIIa as I read my medical records which I had requested a copy of. I felt panicky at the time and at my next visit talked to my onc about it. He said the way that people are staged had changed; this was last July? Do that may be where the confusion lies (lays? I never learned the rule for that one!). It took time for me to absorb IIIa, but I've accepted it now. Didn't you have a recent onc appointment? Love, Lynn
  • dmc_emmy
    dmc_emmy Member Posts: 549
    lynn1950 said:

    I thought I was IIB at first
    Hi Cindy, My surgeon thought I was IIB and that's what she told me. I saw the IIIa as I read my medical records which I had requested a copy of. I felt panicky at the time and at my next visit talked to my onc about it. He said the way that people are staged had changed; this was last July? Do that may be where the confusion lies (lays? I never learned the rule for that one!). It took time for me to absorb IIIa, but I've accepted it now. Didn't you have a recent onc appointment? Love, Lynn

    Lynn-the same thing happened to me...
    I was told I was IIB, but when I got my prognosis I was "coded" as stage III. I simply asked my onc about it last week and he told the same thing: the staging has changed. He looked over my report and said, "No, you're stage IIB." I think they are as confused as we are., eh?

    I had so much other stuff going on that I didn't pursue it. I don't even have a personal copy of my med'l record. Tmr I will call and ask for it, along with some pain meds, and a PT appointment for the lymphodema as soon as I return from TN.

    dmc
  • lynn1950
    lynn1950 Member Posts: 2,570
    dmc_emmy said:

    Lynn-the same thing happened to me...
    I was told I was IIB, but when I got my prognosis I was "coded" as stage III. I simply asked my onc about it last week and he told the same thing: the staging has changed. He looked over my report and said, "No, you're stage IIB." I think they are as confused as we are., eh?

    I had so much other stuff going on that I didn't pursue it. I don't even have a personal copy of my med'l record. Tmr I will call and ask for it, along with some pain meds, and a PT appointment for the lymphodema as soon as I return from TN.

    dmc

    Lymphedema
    dmc - You might consider seeing the lymphadema specialist before you visit your folks - especially if it is causing you pain. You don't want it to get worse.

    It is interesting that the IIb/IIIa designation is still causing confusion. My prognosis with Arimidex is 86%. I wonder why yours is different.
  • rjjj
    rjjj Member Posts: 1,822 Member
    CR1954 said:

    Thank you Paula!
    I hate reading the path report. It gives me kind of a panicky feeling. Kind of silly because I know that I have been treated for breast cancer. Yet, reading about my cancer scares me all over again.

    Yep, looking ahead! I remain optimistic!

    CR

    I am also 111a
    and i try (i said try) not to dwell on stats or prognosis. I only look when i have to (for ins. etc.) but like Joe said there are so many variables that it could not be the same for many if any. And to dwell on it could be a BIG waste of my precious time and unneeded worries. They told me i was ER and PR pos. also and didn't find out until after my last treatment that was not the case , in fact I was neg. for both. I really let that throw me for a loop. Although nothing had changed, it only changed in my mind. (if that makes any sense)

    I was treating myself to a pedicure on my last day of rads and a woman sat down beside me and "what is your prognosis" i didn't even know her and thought this was very rude, as if she was trying to burst my happy little bubble. As i said i "try" hard not to think that way but thee are so many people that bring it up continually. UGHH!

    Hugs, jackie
  • Kat11
    Kat11 Member Posts: 1,931 Member
    lynn1950 said:

    Lymphedema
    dmc - You might consider seeing the lymphadema specialist before you visit your folks - especially if it is causing you pain. You don't want it to get worse.

    It is interesting that the IIb/IIIa designation is still causing confusion. My prognosis with Arimidex is 86%. I wonder why yours is different.

    Same thing here. Was told
    Same thing here. Was told about stage 1 then stage 2 now 3. Onc told me not to worry so much about the stages, but it scared me anyways.
  • susie09
    susie09 Member Posts: 2,930
    Aortus said:

    I'm not smart
    But maybe this will help. The American Cancer Society has a useful guide to BC staging (look toward the bottom of the page).

    As best I can interpret it, your tumor was in fact IIIa. I know that sounds bad. Moopy and I weren't any too pleased when we learned that her tumor was not IIb (as we had been led to believe) but IIIa instead. But since that time, we've been told over and over again, even by doctors, that traditional Roman-numeral staging counts for less and less in cancer treatment. The TNM staging system is far more accurate and far more helpful.

    The same is true of the stats at the bottom of the ACS page, which represent patients who were DXed as far back as 20 years ago. I was talking with my brother's mother-in-law last month, who was DXed with Stage IV BC in 1983... because of positive lymph nodes. She described her treatment back then like comparing a 1983 Ford Escort to a 2009 Mercedes. She also pointed out that her little girl was a high school freshman when she was DXed - and here she was, watching her little girl's youngest son graduate from high school!

    Hope this helps at least some!

    Joe

    That staging is scary.
    That staging is scary. Especially for stage 3 and 4. :(
  • CR1954
    CR1954 Member Posts: 1,390 Member
    Kat11 said:

    Same thing here. Was told
    Same thing here. Was told about stage 1 then stage 2 now 3. Onc told me not to worry so much about the stages, but it scared me anyways.

    Kat...
    You are stage III?

    CR
  • outdoorgirl
    outdoorgirl Member Posts: 1,565
    Aortus said:

    I'm not smart
    But maybe this will help. The American Cancer Society has a useful guide to BC staging (look toward the bottom of the page).

    As best I can interpret it, your tumor was in fact IIIa. I know that sounds bad. Moopy and I weren't any too pleased when we learned that her tumor was not IIb (as we had been led to believe) but IIIa instead. But since that time, we've been told over and over again, even by doctors, that traditional Roman-numeral staging counts for less and less in cancer treatment. The TNM staging system is far more accurate and far more helpful.

    The same is true of the stats at the bottom of the ACS page, which represent patients who were DXed as far back as 20 years ago. I was talking with my brother's mother-in-law last month, who was DXed with Stage IV BC in 1983... because of positive lymph nodes. She described her treatment back then like comparing a 1983 Ford Escort to a 2009 Mercedes. She also pointed out that her little girl was a high school freshman when she was DXed - and here she was, watching her little girl's youngest son graduate from high school!

    Hope this helps at least some!

    Joe

    Thanks Joe
    never noticed that on this site before. Thanks for bringing it to our attention!
  • DianeBC
    DianeBC Member Posts: 3,881 Member
    Akiss4me said:

    CR
    My hubby could not except the fact that I had cancer until he saw the physical evidence (he is a detective) in black & white. When I ask him why, he said that seeing it on paper with my name attached to it and looking at all the details about a part of my body confirmed that the cancer existed to him. It left no room for doubt like a verbal report did. Sorta like a "show me" type thing.
    So I think when we read our report, we get that sinking in the stomach feeling because we're looking at the evidence that says "yep, you got it!!" :) Pammy

    Did you read the stats for
    Did you read the stats for stage 3? That is sad! I pray those aren't real anymore.
  • chenheart
    chenheart Member Posts: 5,159
    (((HUGS))))
    "All the world's a STAGE and the men and women are merely players"....with apologies to William Shakespeare. Age, weight, B/P, height ( unless you happen to be 50'tall), percentiles, and the like are just statistics. And I love what my oncologist said about them: "Statistics don't count when YOUR name is on them." We were all dx, we were or are being treated, and we will have Life After Cancer, no matter what stage we are!

    Hugs,
    Claudia
  • Jadie
    Jadie Member Posts: 723
    susie09 said:

    That staging is scary.
    That staging is scary. Especially for stage 3 and 4. :(

    Susie and Diane
    We are not statistics. We are individuals. Everyone is so different. Listen to these threads about stage 4 survivors of 20 yrs or more.

    Please be careful what you read and who you talk to.
    Hugs
    Jadie<3
  • Noel
    Noel Member Posts: 3,095 Member
    chenheart said:

    (((HUGS))))
    "All the world's a STAGE and the men and women are merely players"....with apologies to William Shakespeare. Age, weight, B/P, height ( unless you happen to be 50'tall), percentiles, and the like are just statistics. And I love what my oncologist said about them: "Statistics don't count when YOUR name is on them." We were all dx, we were or are being treated, and we will have Life After Cancer, no matter what stage we are!

    Hugs,
    Claudia

    If they say "staging" has
    If they say "staging" has changed, then, why are they still using it? And, if it is different now, then, why don't they put out some new statistics and not keep those grim ones out there?

    I guess I believe that the staging is good because it does make a difference in your treatment. It can or does mean that the higher the number, the more aggressive your cancer is and that is needs to be treated more aggressively. Right? And, that you most certainly need to be more aware.
  • joesjoey
    joesjoey Member Posts: 4
    Surviors with Stage IV
    I met two people that were diagnosed with Stage IV breast Cancer. Now in her early 40's it's been over 9 years. The other in her 60's, it's been over 15 years. These ladies are very positive people. I think that helps a lot. They belived they are healthy.

    Many Blessings.

    Joey.
  • Moopy23
    Moopy23 Member Posts: 1,751 Member
    chenheart said:

    (((HUGS))))
    "All the world's a STAGE and the men and women are merely players"....with apologies to William Shakespeare. Age, weight, B/P, height ( unless you happen to be 50'tall), percentiles, and the like are just statistics. And I love what my oncologist said about them: "Statistics don't count when YOUR name is on them." We were all dx, we were or are being treated, and we will have Life After Cancer, no matter what stage we are!

    Hugs,
    Claudia

    What Claudia Said
    Our 50-Foot Woman does have a talent for expressing truths in a simple but forceful way. Thanks again, sister in pink.
  • Jeanne D
    Jeanne D Member Posts: 1,867
    CR1954 said:

    Kat...
    You are stage III?

    CR

    If the staging isn't what it
    If the staging isn't what it used to be, as in that article that Aortus

    posted about, then why even mess with it anymore?

    Because I assumed that the staging today was still as it was in that article. Am I wrong?

    I hope so!