Can doctor be that confused?

dayemdom Member Posts: 28
My mom's first oncologist have told us based on the biopsy that she has a breast cancer that has metastasized to her backbone where she had surgery 3 weeks ago to remove part of the tumor. The biopsy results of the tissues removed from her back revealed that she may have breast , lung or bone cancer.
She went to see another oncologist last week who is specialized in breast cancer and he is a professor. After looking at her mammogram and examined her physically, he told her that he doesn't believe that she has a breast cancer or lung cancer and asked for the tissues to be biopsied again and for more blood test. The blood tests showed high cancer markers in her ovaries and lower marks in her pancreas and colon. Almost nothing in her breast or lung. He said that he can not confirm anything until the new biopsy results come out. She is having a PET scan on Friday and we are expecting the biopsy report to be out tomorrow.
Is is usually that difficult to diagnose the cancer type or there is something wrong going on with any or both of the oncologists?.


  • jessiesmom1
    jessiesmom1 Member Posts: 915 Member
    Difficult Diagnosis
    Oh my goodness, YES, diagnosis CAN be that difficult. I think I was certainly one of those cases. My cancer originally presented with swollen lymph nodes under the right arm, ONLY. Nothing showed up on the mammogram except the lymph nodes -nothing in the breast tissue. The ultrasound was suspicious. I was then sent for an excision biopsy of the nodes. The pathology report came back with squamous cell carcinoma. The surgeon said that was an extremely unlikely place to have that particular type of cancer so he wanted more diagnostics done. I ended up having a PET/CT scan, breast MRI, EGD procedure (esophagogastroduodenoscopy) and an axillary dissection. The path report from the dissection said poorly differentiated adenocarcinoma (NOT squamous cell). Still nothing was found in any breast tissue throughout any of this testing. Finally a tissue sample was sent to the lab for a Tissue of Origin test. That is the test that definitively determined that the cancer has originated in my breast tissue and not in my lungs, liver or some other area. I had a mastectomy followed by 16 rounds of chemotherapy.

    It sounds to me like your mom's oncologists are making every effort to properly determine where her cancer originated. Of course, that doesn't make the waiting any easier for either one of you. It didn't for me either. Did they do a Tissue of Origin test on your mom? How she is ultimately treated depends on where the cancer originated.

    Good luck to both of you. Let us know how it all turns out.