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Potential Breast Cancer Treatment

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Chasingcars | 22:20 Sat 07th May 2022 | Body & Soul
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I noticed a slight puckering/crease to underside of left breast. Immediately saw Dr who referred me to breast clinic.
After examination,mammograms and ultrasound they also took a biopsy. Waiting for results this Friday (13th!) but been told highly likely it's cancerous .
The lump is 7mm and they believe it's contained and we've caught it early which sounds positive.
I also have an MRI booked next week too.
In meantime welcome any advice or information of anyone in similar situation as what treatment I can expect. Assuming surgery and then possibly radiotherapy or chemo.
I'm 43, non drinker, non smoker and fit and active. No family history at all. I have one daughter who's 9 years old ( I did breastfeed for 6 months) and breaks my heart that I may not be around for as long in her life as I thought.
I'm trying to remain optimistic but going to be a long week waiting!
Is 7mm lump big in the cancer world? My GP couldn't find it nor the consultant initially only that the left breast felt bit different. They said I did well to find the creasing and caught it early. Only mammograms and ultrasound that showed up the lump.
Many thanks in advance x

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You'll probably be around not only to see you daughter grow up but her children too!

Cancer survival rates are always given on a '5 year' basis. (i.e. they look at the chances of a cancer patient being around 5 years after their diagnosis). If your cancer is only at 'Stage 1' (as it might well be, given that you seem to have picked it up early, the chances of you being around in 5 years time are 98% (and the 2% who aren't about will probably die of something else, such as falling under a bus, anyway!)

If your cancer has reached Stage 2, the odds of you being here in 5 years time are still very much in your favour, at 90%.

Even Stage 3 cases have a fairly optimistic prognosis, with a 70% 5-year survival rate.

So don't start panicking just yet! (Yes, I know it's only natural really. When I was told that I'd got cancer, back at the start of 2020, the very first question I asked was "Will I still be here next year?" So I do know how you feel!)

https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/breast-cancer/survival

With regard to your actual treatment, it looks as if surgery might possibly be involved:
https://www.macmillan.org.uk/cancer-information-and-support/breast-cancer

NB: The internet is crammed full of information about cancer, with some of it being far more reliable than others. I've deliberately chosen to use links above that go to the two sources of information that hospital staff have told are fully trustworthy. Even so, my real advice is to ask the team at your local hospital loads and loads of questions, then go away and think up even more to ask them shortly afterwards. Far too many people end up worrying about cancer because they don't ask the people who actually know everything about their case!
My wife had the same symptoms as you and the same healthy lifestyle when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 60. The lump was removed followed by chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a period of the post-cancer drug letrozole. Because of the type of cancer, she was also given the additional drug herceptin. That was over 12 years ago. She’s fine. I hope that this gives you some encouragement.
success rate for treatment is so very good these days..and it does sound as if you have been caught early doors... try not to stress too much..my very best wishes go with you xx
I had stage 3 breast cancer 20 years ago. It was not oestrogen receptive (hormonal), so did not have to take drugs after. Mine started with thickening off the breast, but within a month of being diagnosed, a large lump had come in my breast, think it was 3mm. I elected to have my breast removed, just as well really because the mammogram did not pick up that I had cancer in another part of my breast. I was asked to go on some trials which I did, so had 8 lots of chemotherapy, not 6 which was the normal, and 3 sessions of radiotherapy each week for 4 weeks. Good luck, you will get through it, it takes a while with all the treatment to feel fully fit again, but there is a life in the other side.
Ignore us
and ask your doctors
they will know stuff we dont want to know - your age and histology, what receptors are being expressed

I had cancer once - actually three times - my experience is irrelevant to you

See doctor
ask doctor
My experience is irrelevant
The professor ( of nasty recurrences in the neck) said
2016 - you have relapsed. - actually we dont think you were eever in remission ( blood cancer)
and I squealed - - but over 50% of never in remission are dead in 3 m
He said nothing

and here I am

I have seen three consultants out - no I didnt kill them - they retired
Please try not to panic, as you said you have caught it early and treatments now give much better life expectancy than even a few years ago. Please try and stay positive, ask questions and take help from those that really know about these things - and above all, don't google.
Wait for the biopsy report and then come back to us if need be, let's have the true facts.
P.S.....it is not the size of the lump that is important but the pathology (what it is).
I found a lump in 2003. Went for mammogram. Lump was stage 3 cancer, 6mm contained and not affecting my lymph nodes. Had lumpectomy. Had chemo, but was told once I started that I could have just had radiotherapy!
I’m still standing! Had a couple of scares since, but mainly due to me being over cautious about lumps.
Like you, I never smoked, went to the gym, went running, breast fed my children. I asked the doctor ‘why me?’ He told me that if he knew that then there would be no breast cancer as they would have found a cure if they knew what caused it!
Take the chemo and or radiotherapy, it isn’t pleasant, but will make you better. Good Luck! You found it early like me. Now go and tell your female friends to check their boobs!
Hello Chasingcars.

My first point is to take everything just one day at a time. Then if you can put your faith and trust in the doctors, nurses and radiographers who look after you, you will help yourself enormously. In my case I definitely found that a positive attitude helped.

I attended 3 different hospitals in quick succession for my breast cancer on top of the initial mammogram in a mobile unit in a car park! I had stage 3. After my operation I was soon given daily radiotherapy for 18 days for which I drove myself to the hospital on a 50 mile round trip. The team who helped me were absolutely wonderful and by the second day I felt like I was visiting people I had known and liked for a long time. I would be given one day a week respite, usually to coincide with deep cleaning or maintenance of the unit.

The length of treatment could vary from day to day, but I was kept fully informed and never had any problem with that. I did not suffer any burning. I moisturised with Nivea soft several times a day from the day following the op and throughout the therapy. The scar, although quite long, is barely perceptible now. I suffered no burning. In fact, strange as it may seem, I enjoyed the whole experience because it allowed some "me time" which was strange - I am a carer 24/7.

I did not receive any chemotherapy, nor am I on any medication. Every 12 months I attend hospital for a mammogram for a period of 10 years. That is no big deal.

By all means ask questions of the doctors but I feel sure you will be fully advised at all stages. I had no problems in accepting everything they offered me without their coercion. Remember to be kind to yourself throughout.

I am delighted you found your cancer so early, it really is crucial. I send you my very best wishes that everything goes well for you x


Question Author
Thankyou all for sharing your experiences, it's very much appreciated. I know every case is different and no one person's treatment is the same as another but helpful to understand what I may be up against .
I have asked lots of questions to the Breast surgery team already and have lots more for Friday but hearing your own stories have really helped.
I'm remaining hugely positive and hoping that finding it early and it being small will go in my favour.
Been a long wait for the results, although just over a week, Friday morning at 9am still feels ages away.
I will send an update once I know. Thankyou all again x
So pleased that you are staying positive and I hope you have a lot planned over the next week to keep you busy and distracted.

Fingers crossed for very good news
Chasing cars
Not going to say a lot just that hope things work out for the best. I to have cancer so know what the waiting is like. Wasn't going to say much was I !! Sorry.
FBG40
Question Author
Hi everyone X
Apologies my update is a couple days later than planned.
Unfortunately my biopsy results did confirm stage 1, grade 2 lobular cancer.
So I'm remaining positive its early ish days and still quite small. Initially mammogram shows 7mm lump but have had MRI today which I believe shows more detailed images and could show slightly larger lump than initially detected even though I still can't feel anything!!
The MRI results should determine whether lumpectomy or mastectomy.
I have been told if lumpectomy then radiotherapy to follow.
If mastectomy I may not need chemo as I'm oestrogen positive so can take meds.
The final plan will be confirmed Friday at my next appointment with the MRI scan results.

So if anyone can relate to this particular type of cancer or any further advice then it would all be most welcome. It feels like zero to 100mph in just couple of weeks but feel positive that this outcome was a treatable one so for that very grateful along with the excellent care I've had so far.
I guess grade 1 would be better result than grade 2 but it is what it is so keen to get going with treatment now.


Thanks all in advance.
Hiya chasing cars :)

So pleased to read you are keeping positive, just the ticket.
Well, a lumpectomy could be day surgery with a pre-op before the day. It is so simple, and quite a quick op too. A guide wire might be inserted to help pinpoint the little devil but that is no problem.

With luck the surgeon could see you after the op to tell you that all of it has been removed. Radiotherapy could start just a few weeks after the op if the wound heals well (you just need to moisturise plenty) but I would expect you to get a call back to hospital to see how that is going.

As I said above the therapy is a piece of cake and you will soon feel like you have new-found friends.

It may seem all very fast progress but deal with it all just one day at a time. You will be in my thoughts x

While a cancer diagnosis is never welcome, it's definitely good news that it's only at Stage 1. It means that, unless you fall under a bus or similar, you should be around for many, many years to come.

With regard to the possibility of radiotherapy, I can tell you that it's an absolute doddle. (I had 37 sessions of pelvic radiotherapy but, irrespective gender or the type of cancer involved, the procedure is basically the same). You simply remove your clothing in the relevant area and lie on a table. The radiotherapists take just a minute or so to check that everything's lined up OK and leave the room while the machine does its work. Each treatment only lasts a couple of minutes or so, with absolutely no pain or discomfort involved at all. (There's also hardly any noise at all, except for a slight whirring sound as the machine positions itself). It's all over incredibly quickly and then you're free to get on with the rest of your day.

The only downside to the treatment is having to keep going back to the hospital day after day - in my case that was every weekday for seven and a half weeks - possibly plus a bit of tiredness.

Just a small hint though: When swinging your legs to get off the table, take care not to inadvertently kick a male radiotherapist where it hurts most, as I did! It's likely to leave his colleagues doubled up in laughter ;-)
Question Author
Thanks both super helpful to hear your stories and such positive ones at that.
I feel like I'm ok with everything at the moment, maybe wonder if I should be more worried but feel at ease with what's to come. Not sure it's all sunk in because everything's happened so quick.
Hoping there's no more surprises to come after MRI yesterday.
Love to hear the funny stories too :-) makes it all feel a more normal I guess.
Had a funny situation yesterday when I was presented with 2 cod live oil capsules...slightly panicked id have to swallow them , was told no, but to stick them on my nipples! Never heard of this but duly obliged. Tbh is have stuck them anywhere as long as I didn't need to swallow them!!

Anyway made me laugh . Just hope I'm not taking this too lightly. I'm ready to get going with treatment so hopefully have surgery date on Friday.
I'm wondering would they suggest best option for surgery? I mean lumpectomy was suggested but wondered if mastectomy is better in so far if this reduces risk of it coming back...? Guess they will discuss this.
They have mentioned recon can be done with surgery but sounds like thats if I have mastectomy.
For lumpectomy are you left with a dent or can this be reconstructed too?

Thanks again both x

>>> For lumpectomy are you left with a dent or can this be reconstructed too?

Quote (from the Royal College of Surgeons website):
"After a lumpectomy, you may experience a hollowing under the skin where the tissue has been removed. This is often called a defect; it is not harmful but it may bother you. If you are concerned about it, speak with your breast care nurse or surgeon who will be able to advise you"

Source:
https://www.rcseng.ac.uk/patient-care/recovering-from-surgery/lumpectomy/what-to-expect-after-the-operation
(That link looks to be worth a read, as it's got loads of info).

See also . . .
https://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/surgery/lumpectomy/what-to-expect
Feedback much appeciated.

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