bc with node involvement

JaineH
JaineH Member Posts: 3
edited March 2014 in Breast Cancer #1
I had a lumpectomy and axillary node dissection last week. I was told up until surgery that the cancer was in the very early stages as it was still in cell form and was very small. It was disappointing to find out that it had spread to the lymph nodes. I am now very concerned about this. I'm not sure what it all means yet. At first they thought I would just have to have radiation following the lumpectomy. Now chemo is in order. I do not know what stage the cancer is. Lots of uncertainy about my future. I will meet with the surgeon tomorrow and should have the pathology reports at that time. As I read the posts about breast cancer, most people who post indicate that they did not have node involvement.
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Comments

  • Christmas Girl
    Christmas Girl Member Posts: 3,682 Member
    Warm welcome, JaineH
    All here will agree that this is the best online support group for breast cancer - bar none. Though sorry for the reason - glad you found us.

    Based on your description - my own situation was quite similar. My tumor was so very small - prior to surgery, only radiation treatment was discussed in earnest, and described as an "insurance policy"... (always with the caveat that post-surgery final pathology results are the actual determination for treatments that follow). Two areas of nodes removal - both the breast (lumpectomy) and underarm area - resulted in 7 of 15 (almost half) positive for cancer. Although not unheard of, very small tumors that are aggressive are not common. The tumor qualified me as "early detection" - which has nothing to do with the actual passage of time, only with size. This was both shocking and even more frightening to me, back then. I was 45 years old.

    So, chemotherapy was added to radiation. It can be difficult, but it is doable - as I and many others here can attest to. I was diagnosed over 6 years ago, completed all "invasive" treatment over 5 years ago. None of my follow-up medical appointments and tests, so far, have indicated any suspicion of a recurrence. I sincerely hope this information provides you with hope. For us, hope is like water, food, shelter. We simply cannot survive without it.

    There are members here who are much farther along into longer term survivorship. Some who've battled BC more than once - and won. Although my medical oncologist continues to insist that we will "grow old" together (we're about the same age) - nothing instills me with more inner strength and resolve than being amongst my fellow BC survivors on this board.

    We travel the journey together, side by side. And will be here for you, too - each step of the way. Visit often - whenever you'd like or need to. The board is open 24/7, each and every day.

    Best wishes to you, JaineH.

    Kind regards, Susan
  • JaineH
    JaineH Member Posts: 3

    Warm welcome, JaineH
    All here will agree that this is the best online support group for breast cancer - bar none. Though sorry for the reason - glad you found us.

    Based on your description - my own situation was quite similar. My tumor was so very small - prior to surgery, only radiation treatment was discussed in earnest, and described as an "insurance policy"... (always with the caveat that post-surgery final pathology results are the actual determination for treatments that follow). Two areas of nodes removal - both the breast (lumpectomy) and underarm area - resulted in 7 of 15 (almost half) positive for cancer. Although not unheard of, very small tumors that are aggressive are not common. The tumor qualified me as "early detection" - which has nothing to do with the actual passage of time, only with size. This was both shocking and even more frightening to me, back then. I was 45 years old.

    So, chemotherapy was added to radiation. It can be difficult, but it is doable - as I and many others here can attest to. I was diagnosed over 6 years ago, completed all "invasive" treatment over 5 years ago. None of my follow-up medical appointments and tests, so far, have indicated any suspicion of a recurrence. I sincerely hope this information provides you with hope. For us, hope is like water, food, shelter. We simply cannot survive without it.

    There are members here who are much farther along into longer term survivorship. Some who've battled BC more than once - and won. Although my medical oncologist continues to insist that we will "grow old" together (we're about the same age) - nothing instills me with more inner strength and resolve than being amongst my fellow BC survivors on this board.

    We travel the journey together, side by side. And will be here for you, too - each step of the way. Visit often - whenever you'd like or need to. The board is open 24/7, each and every day.

    Best wishes to you, JaineH.

    Kind regards, Susan

    Thanks Susan
    Thank you so much for the reply. I think I just needed to hear from one person who has survived this with cancer in the lymph nodes.
  • Christmas Girl
    Christmas Girl Member Posts: 3,682 Member
    JaineH said:

    Thanks Susan
    Thank you so much for the reply. I think I just needed to hear from one person who has survived this with cancer in the lymph nodes.

    With time...
    I'm sure others will both welcome you and share their own stories.

    And, I'll be hoping for the best possible results for you tomorrow. Keep us posted.

    Kind regards, Susan
  • fauxma
    fauxma Member Posts: 3,577 Member
    JaineH said:

    Thanks Susan
    Thank you so much for the reply. I think I just needed to hear from one person who has survived this with cancer in the lymph nodes.

    Jaine,
    It's hard enough to

    Jaine,

    It's hard enough to hear the word cancer and then to hear lymph nodes involvemnt makes it way more scary. Probably half of the gals on here that have had lymph node involvement. They have gone chemo and radiation and some take hormone pills. Some had lumpectomies, some mastectomies. Having lymph node involvement means additional treatment but it is not as ominous as you are feeling. Lots of our survivors will chime in and tell you how they are doing and what chemo was like, etc. We also have survivors that have had recurrences, mets and many are years and years out from diagnosis. Try to relax (not easy I know) and breathe. We are here for support, guidance, and we will help you through this.
    Stef
  • laurissa
    laurissa Member Posts: 773
    Hi, Jaine
    I still don't know what stage I am because the doctor doesn't know for sure if the spot on my hip joint is cancer. So, I'm either a 2 or a 4. I'm about to finish my 6 rounds of chemo next week. If petscan shows the spot is gone, then it was cancer, if it's still there, it's arthritis. Months of not knowing is difficult, in 3 weeks I'll know. I will also be getting a lumpectomy on right breast and lymph nodes, too. These were large lumps and now they cannot be felt. Hopefully, the chemo took care of everything. I hope all goes well for you.
  • dyaneb123
    dyaneb123 Member Posts: 950
    Hey there think you'll find
    Hey there
    I think you'll find that a lot , if not most , of us have some lymphnode involvement.Some people on here have had like 20 nodes removed..years ago....so don't think that it is the end of the world if you have some positive nodes. My sentenil node was positive and I had to have chemo and rads....but I didn't have clean surgery margins so that made the difference in my case. Every case is different. But you can make it through whatever treatment you need to do....as we are all here to attest.
  • Marcia527
    Marcia527 Member Posts: 2,729
    I had node involved
    I had 2 out of 15 lymph nodes involved but it could have been more because I had 4 cycles of chemo first. My tumors were 6cm and 3cm and another smaller. I was diagnosed in 2003. A lot of us have node involvement. I had 4 more cycles of chemo after surgery and then 6 weeks of radiation.
  • jbug
    jbug Member Posts: 285
    Hi JaineH
    Welcome to the site no one wants to join! You'll find an amazing group of women here. There are women from all walks and all stages represented here. That's one of the best things about this site...there are lots of others (unfortunately) that have walked where you will be and can support you as you go thru it.

    Be good to yourself in the early stage, get a notebook and begin writing your questions down. Take that notebook with you to all your appointments and make sure you have someone with you as you go to your appointments, someone that can help you remember what the doctors are saying.

    I am one of those that was blessed w/no node involvement. I'm stage 1, just at the tail end of radiation. Lots of info on the ACS site that can help you and lots of ladies on the boards to help you as well.

    I'm sure others will give you lots more info...

    God Bless...

    Julie
  • Kat11
    Kat11 Member Posts: 1,931 Member
    Hi Jaine H
    I had a lumpectomy small tumor with 2 of 22 nodes positive. I also was told before surgery that it did not look like I would need chemo just Rads. Then they found more in surgery ( nodes ). It was hard to hear and I was scared. I have finished Chemo and it was doable. I am currently in Rads and it's doable. I still don't understand it all, but I trust in my doctors that they will see me though. You will always have a bunch of support right here. I think there is always uncertainy when you have been diagnosis with Cancer and there always will be. When I first came to the boards here I was told to take it 1 minute, 1 day at a time. That worked for me. Stay in touch.
    Kathy
    PS - By the way, you may be wondering about some of our pictures. We are not this young this is our high school pictures.
  • carkris
    carkris Member Posts: 4,553 Member
    Kat11 said:

    Hi Jaine H
    I had a lumpectomy small tumor with 2 of 22 nodes positive. I also was told before surgery that it did not look like I would need chemo just Rads. Then they found more in surgery ( nodes ). It was hard to hear and I was scared. I have finished Chemo and it was doable. I am currently in Rads and it's doable. I still don't understand it all, but I trust in my doctors that they will see me though. You will always have a bunch of support right here. I think there is always uncertainy when you have been diagnosis with Cancer and there always will be. When I first came to the boards here I was told to take it 1 minute, 1 day at a time. That worked for me. Stay in touch.
    Kathy
    PS - By the way, you may be wondering about some of our pictures. We are not this young this is our high school pictures.

    My freind had a 5cm tumor
    My freind had a 5cm tumor and 2 lymoh nodes and is just fine 18 years later
  • Mama G
    Mama G Member Posts: 762
    carkris said:

    My freind had a 5cm tumor
    My freind had a 5cm tumor and 2 lymoh nodes and is just fine 18 years later

    Wow thank you CARKRIS!
    There is inspiration right there!!!! Amazing. I wonder why some people make it like that and others don't with small tumor and no lymph node involvement. Weird.
  • Moopy23
    Moopy23 Member Posts: 1,751 Member
    Kat11 said:

    Hi Jaine H
    I had a lumpectomy small tumor with 2 of 22 nodes positive. I also was told before surgery that it did not look like I would need chemo just Rads. Then they found more in surgery ( nodes ). It was hard to hear and I was scared. I have finished Chemo and it was doable. I am currently in Rads and it's doable. I still don't understand it all, but I trust in my doctors that they will see me though. You will always have a bunch of support right here. I think there is always uncertainy when you have been diagnosis with Cancer and there always will be. When I first came to the boards here I was told to take it 1 minute, 1 day at a time. That worked for me. Stay in touch.
    Kathy
    PS - By the way, you may be wondering about some of our pictures. We are not this young this is our high school pictures.

    Yes, We Are that Young!
    Hi, Jaine, don't listen to Kat11. Myself, I am currently 17, just like I look in the photo.

    Seriously, I too know how it feels to get worse than expected news after surgery. We went into mastectomy surgery thinking no node involvement. I woke up with 6/15 nodes positive. It was a horrible moment.

    But, as others here have written, node involvement does not mean that you will definitely have a recurrence, anymore than no lymph node involvement means you will definitely not have a recurrence. We are all in a fight to beat bc, and we are all in it to win. More of us are winning every day, every year, every decade.

    So, please don't let the node thing discourage you, or at least, not for long. Surgery, chemo, and radiation are do-able, as others have written, and they can be a cure for you, too.
  • MyTurnNow
    MyTurnNow Member Posts: 2,686 Member
    JaineH, I just wanted to
    JaineH, I just wanted to welcome you to our group. I, too, had a microscopic cancer cell in my sentinel node. I went through 4 rounds of chemo, radiation and am about to start the hormone blocker, Arimidex. All of this is very do-able, as the others have also said. I'm glad you found us and keep us updated on your progress. We'll be there with you through the treatments. Take care and good luck.
  • Lymph23
    Lymph23 Member Posts: 23
    Lymph nodes
    Hi Jane

    I had a lumpectomy and they removed lymph nodes in fact 26 of which 23 were affected. To say that this came as a shock is an understatement. I had 12 sessions of chemo and 30 of radio therapy. That was 7 years ago now and I'm still here to tell the tale. Try to take it one step at a time and be positive. Best wishes.

    Lesley
  • JaineH
    JaineH Member Posts: 3
    Lymph23 said:

    Lymph nodes
    Hi Jane

    I had a lumpectomy and they removed lymph nodes in fact 26 of which 23 were affected. To say that this came as a shock is an understatement. I had 12 sessions of chemo and 30 of radio therapy. That was 7 years ago now and I'm still here to tell the tale. Try to take it one step at a time and be positive. Best wishes.

    Lesley

    Followup Appointment Today
    I had my followup appointment today with my surgeon. The sentinel node was the only node with cancer. There was none found in the nodes removed from under my arm. Nine in all. This was really good news. The not-so-good news was that I will have to have a mastectomy as small cells were found in the tissue of the outlying area around the lumpectomy. I will have chemo first. The surgeon feels that for someone my age (47) we must get those cells out of there. It's not the best news but it's not the worst news either. Thank you for your support.
  • Mama G
    Mama G Member Posts: 762
    JaineH said:

    Followup Appointment Today
    I had my followup appointment today with my surgeon. The sentinel node was the only node with cancer. There was none found in the nodes removed from under my arm. Nine in all. This was really good news. The not-so-good news was that I will have to have a mastectomy as small cells were found in the tissue of the outlying area around the lumpectomy. I will have chemo first. The surgeon feels that for someone my age (47) we must get those cells out of there. It's not the best news but it's not the worst news either. Thank you for your support.

    just wondering WHy some people have such different numbers
    mine was 8 out of 9, some of you are ? out of 15, or ? out of 26.
    Where do these numbers come from? I'm thinking they find the sentinal node and it's attached to a certain number of "linking nodes"? So if your cancer has spread to that particular node they automatically remover all it's linkers with it????
    AND Where do the do the Radiation if you had tham all removed as well as your breast?
  • Marcia527
    Marcia527 Member Posts: 2,729
    Mama G said:

    just wondering WHy some people have such different numbers
    mine was 8 out of 9, some of you are ? out of 15, or ? out of 26.
    Where do these numbers come from? I'm thinking they find the sentinal node and it's attached to a certain number of "linking nodes"? So if your cancer has spread to that particular node they automatically remover all it's linkers with it????
    AND Where do the do the Radiation if you had tham all removed as well as your breast?

    They did radiation on the
    They did radiation on the scar and surrounding tissue and under my arm where the nodes were removed and the nodes in my neck. The onc told me scar tissue doesn't have good blood flow so the chemo doesn't get in that area very good. I didn't have the sentinal node biopsy as I had chemo first. He just took what he thought would be a good number I guess. I don't know exactly why some get more removed unless they take them until they start getting clear nodes.
  • chenheart
    chenheart Member Posts: 5,159
    I had a lumpectomy and also
    I had a lumpectomy and also positive nodes~ 3 of 15. I did the chemo and the radiation~ and ( though my sisters in here are sick of hearing about it) have since been in 2 half marathons, I walk 6 miles or so 3X a week, do 5 and 10K's yearly, Jazzercise 3X a week, and otherwise Live Life! I was never an athlete, and I am not one now~but I am a participant in Life! I am ( sigh) 60 years young, and am a 7 year survivor. I hope that this helps you to know you can realize a full, fun, and active life, even with lymphnode involvement!

    Hugs,
    Chen♥
  • chenheart
    chenheart Member Posts: 5,159
    Mama G said:

    just wondering WHy some people have such different numbers
    mine was 8 out of 9, some of you are ? out of 15, or ? out of 26.
    Where do these numbers come from? I'm thinking they find the sentinal node and it's attached to a certain number of "linking nodes"? So if your cancer has spread to that particular node they automatically remover all it's linkers with it????
    AND Where do the do the Radiation if you had tham all removed as well as your breast?

    How many lymphnodes are removed?
    How Many Nodes Removed?



    You can usually get enough information by having ten lymph nodes taken out. But there are a few things to keep in mind:

    Your surgeon will probably remove any nodes that feel cancerous, even if that ends up being more than ten nodes.

    During a "standard" axillary lymph node dissection, the surgeon removes an irregular pad of fatty tissue in the armpit that contains the lymph nodes. The lymph nodes are embedded in this fat, and can often feel just like the fat. Often the surgeon can't count all the lymph nodes at the time of surgery. For this reason, you probably won't know how many nodes were removed and how many of those were "positive" (involved in the cancer) until the pathologist analyzes the tissue.

    The pathologist has to look carefully through the piece of fatty tissue taken from the axilla to find all of the lymph nodes.

    How many lymph nodes are removed depends just as much on your normal anatomy as it does on the surgeon's and pathologist's skill. Every woman has a different number of lymph nodes under her arm—some may only have five nodes and others may have over thirty.


    I hope this helps!

    Hugs,
    Chen♥
  • Chrispea
    Chrispea Member Posts: 123 Member
    I had one node "light up" on
    I had one node "light up" on the MRI, so they biopsied it, and said it was positive, but practically undetectable. They did not remove the node, they said that my chemo would take care of it.

    I haven't had surgery yet. My lump was too large, 4.5 cm, and they are shrinking it with chemo. I think it's about 3 or less now. (yippee). I've had 5 chemo's so far.

    I'll probably still have a mastectomy seeing that I'm barely an A.