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Kelly513's picture
Posts: 13
Joined: Nov 2012

Hey ladies new to this site 34 year old diagnosed with DCIS and IDC had right side mastectomy on Nov, 7 th recovery was pretty quick and not as bad as I thought it would be:) Went for follow up with surgeon last week found out my cancer was Er+ Pr- all six nodes were clear except for one node that had one cell. Fish test was inconclusive still waiting for that and Her2 test to come back, meeting with oncologist this Monday. Very frustrating but trying to remain calm and positive:)

Posts: 2
Joined: Sep 2012

I've never heard of a Fish test. What is this? Hope everything goes well. Stay strong, and focus on the possitive.

Kelly513's picture
Posts: 13
Joined: Nov 2012

Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) is a newer test that "maps" the genetic material in human cells, including specific genes or portions of genes.

Because a FISH test can detect genetic abnormalities associated with cancer, it's useful for diagnosing some types of the disease. In some cases when the type of cancer has previously been diagnosed, a FISH test also can provide additional information to help predict a patient's outcome and whether he or she is likely to respond to chemotherapy drugs.

In breast cancer patients, for example, a FISH test on breast cancer tissue removed during a biopsy can show whether the cells have extra copies of the HER2 gene. Cells with extra copies of the gene have more HER2 receptors, which receive signals that stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells. So patients with extra copies of the gene are more likely to respond to treatment with Herceptin (trastuzumab), a drug that blocks the ability of HER2 receptors to receive growth signals.

Because FISH testing is expensive and not widely available, it's not as commonly used as another breast cancer test: ImmunoHistoChemistry (IHC). Within the medical community, there's some debate over whether FISH is more useful than standard tests. But recent technological advances promise to significantly reduce the cost of FISH testing and increase its availability in a variety of clinical settings.

How FISH Works

During a FISH test using a sample of the patient's tissue, special colored dyes are attached to specific parts of certain chromosomes in order to visualize and count them under a fluorescent microscope, and to detect cancer-promoting abnormalities.

Abnormalities found in cancer cells include:

Translocation. Part of one chromosome has broken off and relocated itself onto another chromosome.
Inversion. Part of a chromosome is in reverse order although it is still attached to the correct chromosome.
Deletion. Part of a chromosome is missing.
Duplication. Part of a chromosome has been copied and the cell contains too many copies.
Translocations can help doctors identify some types of leukemia, lymphomas, and sarcoma. Duplications in breast cancer cells can help doctors choose optimal treatments.

Compared to standard cytogenetic (cell gene) tests, one advantage of FISH is that it can identify genetic changes that are too small to be seen under a microscope. Another advantage is that FISH doesn't have to be performed on cells that are actively dividing. Because other tests cannot be performed until cancer cells have been growing in lab dishes for about two weeks, the process usually takes about three weeks. FISH results are usually available within a few days.

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

Kelly, I'm sorry you have reason to be here. but, this group is amazing. I have found the people here incredibly compassionate, knowledgeable, and giving. I hope you find it to be the same.

Waiting, I think, is the hardest part of this whole mess. I hope you get the rest of your results soon. Then you and the docs can finish planning. Once you have a plan, know that there will be someone here who has 'been there, done that', and will share advice.

Please come back and let us know how you are doing, ask any questions you might have, vent, rant, and share your joys.



CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4014
Joined: Oct 2009

Hi Kelly. Welcome to the message board that noone wants to visit, but, having said that, you have come to the right place you will find lots of support here. Feel free to ask questions and, usually, someone will be here to help.

I know you are in shock and going through a rough patch. I am so sorry. Just wanted to give you a little hope.

I had Stage 3 IDC, ER+, PR+, Her2 neg with 4 nodes involved. I had a mastectomy (large tumor), chemo, radiation and tamoxifen and guess what? I was just 33 (just one year younger than you) at the time now. I am 59 now. Back then, noone was very positive about my prognosis, but tamoxifen turned my outcome around and I am still here. I celebrated my 25th cancer anniversary this past February!

So hang in there and, if you are overwhelmed, talk with your oncologist. Anxiety and depression are much more common in cancer survivors and your onc will know this and will also know what meds, if you find you need something, are compatible with your treatment.

Tests, procedures, etc. can be very anxiety producing. Many of us find we need help with this and, if not meds, just coming here to vent or talking with someone who understands.

Good luck and hang in there and please let us know how you are doing.

Kelly513's picture
Posts: 13
Joined: Nov 2012

Very worried about Tamoxifen because of all the scary side effects but my oncologist has mentioned this treatment to me on a couple occasions should find out for sure on Mon. Did you have any bad experiences with this hormone therapy? I am now faced with making a decision on left mastectomy my surgeon told me I had very aggressive invasive type of cancer that did not show up on mammo only showed up once in surgery.

Thank you all for your support and your kind words I will keep you all posted!!!!

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9085
Joined: Aug 2009

I am sorry that you had to find 'us' here

Sweet Sister~

The waiting is really one of the hardest parts. Once you have a treatment plan in place, things will start to go a lot faster. We on this board know about the waiting and the myriad of emotions one goes through -- so let us wait with you. Post whenever you feel the urge and we'll keep you company.

I think at this point it is easy to get overwhelmed with all the new things happening in your life. It might help to take things one step and one day (sometimes even one hour) at a time. Get your results, talk to your doctor, give yourself some time to digest, etc.

If you are hesitant about anything, get a second opinion as soon as possible.

As wonderful as we all are, I think I am not going out on a limb by saying none of
us ever wanted to be HERE~ battling with and talking about Cancer. It has
affected so much of our lives, as you know only too well. And whereas we can be
smart-mouths, and silly, bottom line is, we have all been altered by this

We are here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A "safe haven" . If this place
isn't the true definition of support, I don't know what is.

Prayers, positive thoughts and HOPE.

Vicki Sam

CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4014
Joined: Oct 2009

I had very few side effects with tamoxifen. After chemo, it seemed like a walk in the park. I actually took it for 7 years, because, bact then, we didn't know how long I sould take it.

The side effects for me were: a thin vaginal discharge (nothing to write home about), loss of sexual desire (more difficult but beats cancer), fatigue (worst at the end of therapy). I had a couple of endometrial biopsies and vaginal ultrasounds while I was on it, but all was fine.

After 22 years (3 years ago), I had a recurrence of the same cancer in my bones (discovered after rib biopsy). I am now back on hormone therapy and, thankfully, back in remission.

My mantra has always been that the very worst side effect is cancer, so I have always tried to be compliant with my therapy and then manage the side effects. Luckily, I have been able to manage my side effects--although it has not always been easy.

But, as a nurse practitioner, I have seen patients dying of cancer and it is just not pretty or easy either. I choose to take my meds, unless the side effects are life-threatening and/or impossible to deal with. Managing my side effects is like a puzzle for me to figure out and, mostly, I have been successful.

Good luck! I am praying for you. And thanks for the info on FISH as I don't think that my sisters or I had that (3 out of 4 sisters with breast cancer). We did have BraCa 1 and 2, but I think that is different? Very interesting!

Christmas Girl's picture
Christmas Girl
Posts: 3691
Joined: Apr 2009

Though I regret the reason you're here - glad you found this amazing, supportive & encouraging group.

Yes, agreeing with others - waiting is beyond difficult. Making lots & lots of decisions is stressful, too. Today is Monday - I do hope you've been provided with more information in order to continue moving forward.

I told myself the Tamoxifen was "just a very tiny white pill" (which it actually is). The side effects I experienced weren't extreme. And, please remember that SEs are "potential" - not everyone gets all of them! There are potential SEs with each & every drug - including OTCs.

Sending my most hopeful best wishes your way.

Kind regards, Susan

DebbyM's picture
Posts: 3293
Joined: Oct 2009

Hi Kelly. Just know that we are all here for you, 24/7. Keep posting to let us know how you are and how we can help you.

Hugs, Debby

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