CSN Login
Members Online: 1

You are here

Breast Issue

oldbeauty
Posts: 282
Joined: May 2012

I went for a screening mammo early July and they called me back for 3D imaging.  This happened once before in 2015 and then they did u/s also.  In 2015, the radiologist felt that nodules, cysts and calcifications seen were not concerning.  Today's imaging and u/s different story.  Many more calcifications grouped in right breast than seen before. She prescribed a non-surgical stereotactic-guided breast needle biopsy done by a radiologist in the hospital breast center where I got my mammogram.  The one who would do it is a MD, PhD board certified diagnostic radiologist (Johns Hopkins med school and residency). 

I am supposed to have my final chemo for EC day after tomorrow.  And then we were going on vacation for a month beginning mid-August with a PET/CT set for late September when we get back to see how the chemo did and to check out the small soft-tissue lesion in my right groin area noticed on the June CT.  Hoping still that the trip would go forward, I went ahead and scheduled the biopsy for the day after chemo with the thought I would speak to my onco on Wednesday about this before chemo.  Now, my head is swimming.  The radiologist told me that even if it is cancer (and it would be a new primary and not endometrial tissue) it is early (there are no masses seen) and I likely would be treated with lumpectomy and maybe radiation.  

I realize now I don't even know what kind of doctor does breast cancer surgery or whether I should have this biopsy done by a surgeon instead.  Dr Google says it's a surgical oncologist who does breast surgery and looking at the directory of my local big university cancer center (where I'm seen for my EC), I see a number of surgeons come up on the search for breast cancer specialists.  I know some ladies on this board also have a history of breast cancer.  Does anyone have any advice on how I should proceed?  I plan to call my oncology nurse tomorrow to discuss whether she thinks my gyne onco will agree to the timing of this biopsy being done asap and how she thinks my doc will advise I proceed.   Thanks for any insight.  Oldbeauty

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 2825
Joined: Mar 2013

I had a lump and got a needle biopsy in 2009.  I was scared - but it really turned out to be very easy.  I needle poke to numb and 'pressure'. (funny how you are always told, "you'll feel some pressure"  - ha!)  I think it was a breast specialist...boy a lot has happened since there, but I still had to go in to get the lump removed after that.  It was benign and I didn't think of it but we ALL always here, "with your history".  

I am sure some of the other lovely ladies will be along soon.   Take a breath dear, and I agree with checking in with your onc nurse.

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 936
Joined: Feb 2016

I had breast biopsy years ago. I had to lay on my stomach and drop my boob through this whole in the table. I swear a man invented this table. I had a breast surgeon and it hurt but was over quickly. I took music to listen to. Fortunately at that time it came back negative. After this bout with cancer, I get all my screenings at my cancer center because they know my entire history and I think they are best equipped to deal with anything that may come up for me in the future.  Good luck and where are you going for vacation?

oldbeauty
Posts: 282
Joined: May 2012

I've also posted my question about getting a proper biopsy on the Breast Cancer board.  I will call the onc nurse in awhile.  For our holiday, we are going to fly to Seattle.  A departed dear friend's Celebration of Life is mid-August.  Then we are going to spend some weeks circling around--going to Vancouver then back to Seattle and departing on the ferry for a long Labor Day weekend in San Juan Island where I got us an AirBnB cottage, then back again to Seattle to pick up a friend and ferry over to Vancouver Island to spend several days touring Victoria and the Island.  I really do not want to pull the plug on this trip.  I am at the end of my emotional tether and need to try for some normalcy at this point before the post-chemo testing comes around.  I did start acupuncture for my neuropathy in my feet.  No miracle cure yet but I am going for 3 more sessions before the trip and I will rent a wheelchair for the duration.  Thanks for your encouragement.  Best wishes, Oldbeauty

ConnieSW
Posts: 1523
Joined: Jun 2012

Sounds like a wonderful itinerary. That's an area I've never been to. I do hope you get the go ahead. I'm rooting for you!

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 936
Joined: Feb 2016

Our Alaskan cruise ended in Victoria.  I only wish we had more time to spend there. We loved it!  We randomly ran into a lovely person who is Director of Destination Development for Experience Victoria. You might want to contact her regarding touring Victoria. Kira Harris, 250.885.1713. Kira@experiencevictoria.com. 

MAbound
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jun 2016

So now we know where your screen name came from!

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 936
Joined: Feb 2016

Yes. The little town I grew up in Michigan, Pinconning. Has its own cheese. it was 1976!  My only claim to fame. LOL

oldbeauty
Posts: 282
Joined: May 2012

The breast care folks called today and assured me this an appropriate procedure given that the calcifications are too small for a surgeon to see.  Of course, that begs the question what will there be for a surgeon to see later in a lumpectomy when all that will be visible is the titanium marker left behind in the area where biopsy tissue was removed.  Over on the breast cancer board, there is the suggestion to take it one step at a time, i.e., do this and then see about how I want to go ahead with other procedures and opinions as necessary.  My oncology nurse said there is a split of decision among docs in the practice whether they would OK the biopsy a day after chemo.  They'd prefer a day before but that's not possible here, unless we give up our vacation.  She said she thinks he'll OK it; I'll find out tomorrow.  He has veto authority, per the breast care folks. To be continued.  Oldbeauty

MoeKay
Posts: 297
Joined: Feb 2004

I had an in-office needle breast biopsy (negative), followed a couple years later by a Mammotome biopsy (other breast, also negative).  Fast forward about 10 years.  After a routine mammogram followed by an ultrasound, I was informed that I needed biopsies of both breasts due to calcifications.  I actually had a breast surgeon in my local area who I had been seeing twice a year since my first biopsy.  He suspected that both biopsies would turn out to be benign, but recommended that I have them just to be certain.  I must have been in an ornery mood that day, because I told him that I wanted to get a second opinion on my need for the biopsies. 

I scheduled an appointment with the surgeon who was then Director of the Comprehensive Breast Center at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia.  She reviewed my films and had her radiologist review them.  They both concluded that I did not need either breast biopsy.  She had me get another mammogram six months later just to be sure that nothing had changed (it hadn't) and then she followed me for another few years.  It's now been about six years since the time I was told I needed those two biopsies, and my annual mammograms have been normal every year. 

I'm not sure my story has any bearing on your situation, but I'm just putting it out there in case it might be of some help to someone who has been told they need a breast biopsy (or two).

MoeKay

MeinMississippi
Posts: 39
Joined: Aug 2017

I just realized that I'm 46, have uterine cancer, have a mother who had breast cancer, and have never had a mammogram!  I'm just gonna be honest, I don't want no stinking mammogram, but I've learned that I can no longer let things go. Now I'm afraid there will be something else....ughhhh!!  You know what?  As Tammy Wynette said, "Sometimes It's Hard to be a Woman!!" Hang in there Old Beauty...I don't know what will happen, but I think you need to go on your vacation and enjoy yourself. All of this other stuff will be there when you get back. 

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 2050
Joined: Nov 2009

I just went through this with my mother.  When she had a mass, I made several phone calls.   The first appointment we went to was a Surgical Oncologist.   He told my mom that he would rather she do chemo first.  My mom was against anytype of chemo and would only agree to a lumpectomy and maybe radiation.   The doctor wasn't having it and suggested seeing a medical oncologist first.  So then we went to a medical oncologist.   After reviewing her charts, he wanted to do chemo first, but my mom refused chemo but was talked into doing Herceptin as she or her tumor is HER2 positive.   After a year, and because the tumor had shrunk and nodules in lungs disappeared, the Surgical Oncologist did a lumpectomy.   She's doing fine and continues with her Herceptin treatments

oldbeauty
Posts: 282
Joined: May 2012

The biopsy was painless, both during and after.  I will get biopsy results next week some time.  I did not have my final chemo this week bc my onco did not want to risk that the drugs would decrease infection fighting and I'd have a problem with the incision site that o/w would not be an issue.  So, results next week and chemo on Wednesday.  We've rearranged our plans somewhat and will go on our trip a week or so later to give me time to recover after chemo.  If necessary, and if possible, I would do an initial consult with a breast surgeon (and/or my current oncologist re chemo) so I have some info to consider.  But I'm not doing anything about anything without the PET/CT that is set for September 25.  I also need to find out what the small soft-tissue lesion is that was seen in June in my right groin area.  I must say I'm disheartened.  I got the sense the diagnostic radiologist was preparing me for bad news.  She said it was unlikely to be invasive cancer, perhaps ductal or perhaps hyperplasia.  But I don't recall her saying perhaps it's nothing. I haven't the courage yet to read the report on my diagnostic breast imaging.  I did read a very informative article that explained the protocol breast imaging radiologists use in wording their reports and which suggested that all I need to know is probably in the reports about level of suspicion.  But we are focused on getting thru these next few weeks to get to our departure and the chance to relax in new surroundings.  I still wonder how I can be sick while feeling relatively well, except for chemo effects that do subside after 7-10 days.  I think I am seeing some improvement in the neuropathy from the acupuncture, which I will continue for 4 more sessions until our trip.  Thanks again for the stories.  They give me something to think about as I navigate these next several weeks.  Best wishes.  Oldbeauty

atjn
Posts: 3
Joined: Aug 2017

I have had both BC and EC.  I was diagnosed with BC first, and EC about a year later.  Coincidentally I was preparing to leave on a trip at the time of diagnosis for each!  Both of my doctors encouraged me to go forward with the trips, enjoy myself and get my mind off things.  They said that waiting a month for action in my case was not going to change anything, and both trips were important to me personally.  I'm glad I took them! I  feel like it recharged me and strengthened me and my family to take on what followed together.  

 

 

CheeseQueen57's picture
CheeseQueen57
Posts: 936
Joined: Feb 2016

Last year, Four weeks after having my hysterectomy (full abdominal) and before beginning my chemo with the blessing of my doctors I took a long-planned trip to Tuscany with my family. Best thing I ever did. Made the trip ever so meaningful and gave me the strength to get through chemo and radiation. 

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 2825
Joined: Mar 2013

oldbeauty, I hope you just focus on your trip and try not to worry about the breast biopsy.  Relax, enjoy yourself and let that be your 'treatment' for now.  Hugs

TeddyandBears_Mom's picture
TeddyandBears_Mom
Posts: 1700
Joined: Jun 2015

Old Beauty, I agree with NoTime! I hope you recover quickly from chemo and enjoy the heck out of your trip.

Love and Hugs,

Cindi

Nellasing
Posts: 529
Joined: Oct 2016

each day we have is a day we have to LIVE and no matter what the future holds we need to LIVE today right?!  No one is guaranteed any amt of time- we could get hit by a bus or any other thing.... stay in the moments and enjoy them <3 <3  ((((HUGS))))

Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2831
Joined: Jun 2010

I'm a breast and endometrial cancer survivor. Had them both at the same time in 2010.  I luckily had the "garden variety" EC and needed surgery only.  There are more types of breast cancer than you can shake a stick at and as many different treatments.  Like EC, it gets down to type, stage, grade, etc. and the only way to know what kind you have is to get a hold of the tissue, biopsy being the first step.  My biopsy was not difficult at all for me.  How fast and how much they react to it all depends on that tissue.  I had surgery, chemo, and radiation.  More aggressive cancers have more aggressive chemo, sometimes even before surgery.  Some cancers metastasize early, some don't.   It all depends. . . don't you just love that?  My advise is not to ignore anything, I was so calm when I had my biopsy because I was just sure it was nothing - it wasn't.  Know what you're dealing with first and then you can seek another opinion if you choose.  All of that pink hype honestly IMHO makes us think breast cancer is no big deal anymore.  It is.

Suzanne

NoTimeForCancer's picture
NoTimeForCancer
Posts: 2825
Joined: Mar 2013

Suzanne, I was hoping you would come along and chime in!  I knew you have had both EC and BC and could give good insight.

I had posted it on the breast cancer board, but my mother has one of those (must be slower) growing breast cancers.  At 80 she found out she had breast cancer, didn't want to tell us (we kind of found out and never pushed the issue), she has lived with it for 11 years (yes - she is 91) but now it has metasticized and the tumors are visible on the outside and are growing in.  For her, she said to me recently, "no stitches, no chemicals, no regrets".  I told her we are ok with that and there was no guarantee she would have lived this long had she had the treatment.  

I think how I told her 5 years ago I had cancer and I will always remember the look on her face.  Little did I know that she had already been living with her for five years and what was she thinking when I told her...my sister said she had heard on NPR how older women are not choosing to do anything when cancer is found.  I know we all have to be happy with what we do.  I am good with what I did and I am ok with what my mom did.  

oldbeauty
Posts: 282
Joined: May 2012

Yes, Suzanne, I am pursuing this.  The diagnostic radiologist posted an addendum to her biopsy procedural report on Monday.  It merely said "fibrocystic changes" and recommended mammogram in one year.  I have been reading what seems to me a wonderful blog by a Canadian breast radiologist called "Moose and Doc" that has hundreds of pages on the ins and outs of mammography, results, types of breast cancer, etc.  His notes on "fibrocystic changes" shows me more information is needed, i.e., if the cells are atyical they can be an early development of Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS).  So I am tracking down the actual pathology report which I hope reveals how this differential diagnosis was eliminated. I am curious how I went from a BI RADS:4B Suspicious; Intermediate Probability (of Cancer) to a nothingburger.  I've also asked my PCP, who provided the script for the mammogram to follow up and obtain the path report and make sure it gets posted to my patient portal where I can read it. I am being vigilant.  Thanks for your story.

To those urging us to go on this trip.  Thank you for the encouragement.  We are back on track with a week's delay in departure for me to recover from the final chemo this week.  We are looking forward to it and we need it.  Best wishes, Oldbeauty

MAbound
Posts: 1089
Joined: Jun 2016

What amazing strength your mom must have to make such a decision! I'm so glad she had those 11 years to live and enjoy her life and is at peace with what's happening now. You certainly show that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree! She must be so proud of you with how you've handled your experience with cancer and how you continue to help others. Praying for strength for you and your mom as you face this new challenge. 

Hugs and love,

Pat

Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2831
Joined: Jun 2010

One day when I was in the midst of all my drama, I asked my gyn/onc why he thought I had been diagnosed with both breast and endometrial cancers (both diagnosed over the course of routine Well Woman exam).  Of course, the answer was "we don't know", but he did say that it is not unusual for a woman to develop both cancers over the course of her lifetime, just unusual to have them at the same time.  And after saying that, one of my good friends had both at the same time, too!!  Just sayin . . 

Suzanne  

oldbeauty
Posts: 282
Joined: May 2012

The pathology report has been posted but is not meaningful to this layperson.  The specimens were received in two parts, one is diagnosed "fibrocystic change with intracystic calcifications" and the other is "fibrocystic change."  The tissue color/consistency description for both is "tan-yellow fibroadipose tissue."  I am assured that "microscopic examination substantiates the diagnosis."  This contrasts with my uterine cancer pathology from years ago where there was lots of description to read.  Of course, there was a "there" there and now maybe there's no "there" there hence not much to say.  In any event, I will follow up with my referring doctor.  I do find it odd that I would have breast cancer.  I had years of high-dose progesterone therapy to keep the endometrial cancer in remission and it is an estrogen antagonist so how could breast cancer develop??  I will keep on asking questions until I am satisfied.  Thanks all for your input.  Best wishes, Oldbeauty

Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2831
Joined: Jun 2010

Many are, but not all.  Your path report sounds good, but be sure to follow up with whatever they tell you to do.

Suzanne

Subscribe to Comments for "Breast Issue"