• Anyone have this happen?

    Asked by jeannief on Saturday, December 16, 2017

    Anyone have this happen?

    Last week I had a lumpectomy, but now I find in the path report, microscopic cells were found in the margin edge of the extra tissue my doctor removed. At the time he also moved around breast tissue to fill the void removed. I haven't see him yet (next Tuesday 12/19), but I am thinking a mastectomy next time. He sent tissue away to see about chemo. His recommendation was to go with a lumpectomy and radiation. Or a mastectomy. Cure rates are the same I was told. I have stage 1. I am concerned now that tisuue was moved around....how does the doc find the cancer cells without removing the whole breast? My lymph nodes are negative at least!

    15 Answers from the Community

    15 answers
    • barryboomer's Avatar
      barryboomer

      If the lymph nodes are negative it's only in the small area. I'm a guy but I'd go with the lumpectomy and some Rads to kill off any cancer cells left....Good Luck! There is no right way....and Merry Christmas...

      4 months ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool (Best Answer!)

      If microscopic cells are in the margin, a
      re-excision is usually performed, to get clear margins. Here's one link (of many) on this situation: http://www.breastcancer.org/research-news/20120131

      I had to have a re-excision. After that, my margins were clear. Has your surgeon said you'll need that?

      I realize you asked about the need for a mastectomy because your surgeon moved around the breast tissue and in doing so may have inadvertently moved around some microscopic cancer cells. I have no information on that aspect, but I did just want to mention my own experience.

      I, too, was stage 1, triple-positive. Because of my HER2-positive status, I had to have four chemos and then radiation.

      Best of luck to you.

      4 months ago
    • jeannief's Avatar
      jeannief

      Thank you barryboomer and carool! I guess I will wait until my appt. to get clarity. I have plenty of books on breast cancer to read also! This is all so new.....

      4 months ago
    • cllinda's Avatar
      cllinda

      I had a lumpectomy and the same thing happened. So two weeks later, I had a second lumpectomy they removed tissue up to the bone. It is very common that the second surgery is needed. The doc had warned me it was at least a 25% chance of having a second surgery. And the way everything went for me, of course I had to get the second surgery. But all the cancer was removed, and then I started chemotherapy. And five years later, I'm still here! Good luck. And I would try a second lumpectomy before getting a mastectomy. I figure less surgery, less pain. But that is just me.

      4 months ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      I do also want to say that my re-excision resulted in only a small (indiscernible, to me) margin being removed. I guess it all depends on how much more must be removed to achieve clear margins.

      Jeannief, re your being new to this, I and many others feel overwhelmed at first, but it becomes more manageable as one starts treatment, etc. Sending hugs from Brooklyn. Please keep us posted, if you want to.

      4 months ago
    • jeannief's Avatar
      jeannief

      Thanks for your positive advice and vibes!!!!! I wish there was a way to reply directly.

      4 months ago
    • ChicagoSandy's Avatar
      ChicagoSandy

      Less is more. You can always go back for a mastectomy later, but not vice versa. Once a breast is gone, it's gone. Your surgeon would not have moved tissue into the tumor cavity unless it was tissue that wasn't adjacent to the tumor and the cavity contained no tumor cells. Re-excision wouldn't be recommended if mastectomy were necessary.

      4 months ago
    • Fuxitol's Avatar
      Fuxitol

      I agree, you want to hear "clear margins." Ask about more margin surgery. The chemo is suppossed to kill off the free floaters in your entire system, and the rad target the area. The "good" news, and this word used to make me mad at first, but stage 1 you are very lucky, and so was I. Having said that, you want to reduce as many risks as possible without doing overkill. But I do see many posts in another forum regarding unhappiness with a masectomy surgery or reconstruction, so yah, I wouldn't rush into it.

      4 months ago
    • MaryAnn's Avatar
      MaryAnn

      Same thing happened to me. Different hospitals/surgeons have different views on what clear margins entail and how wide they should be, and a lot depends on your tumor profile, too. I ended up reading medical journal articles on this and was reassured. My surgeon was world class and told me this is not one-size-fits-all. My grade, size, and proliferation rate were low and I only needed radiation, not more surgery. My surprise came when the tissue sample sent for study revealed I might want to consider chemo. That was 6 years ago and I never look back. Trust your surgeon.

      4 months ago
    • msesq's Avatar
      msesq

      Same thing happened to me the first lumpectomy did not get clean margins but the lymph nodes were negative. I insisted on a contrast MRI to make sure there were no additional tumors, what was left was DCIS. I opted for a second lumpectomy after my surgeon assured me she could get clean margins. I am 3 years NED and happy that I still have my original parts intact.

      4 months ago
    • msesq's Avatar
      msesq

      Forgot to say that it isn’t unusual to have two lumpectomies to get clean margins. I always imagined cancer would look different than normal cells to the naked eye. That’s not necessarily true.

      4 months ago
    • Donnie's Avatar
      Donnie

      I was stage 3 triple negative breast cancer ,four years ago. I had lumpectomy, chemo and radiation. I did not get clear margins. But after radiation I was clear. They told me chemo did not work on me. Do what you think is best for your situation and a second opion always helps.

      4 months ago
    • BarbarainBham's Avatar
      BarbarainBham

      Jeanief, your situation with unclear margins is VERY common. When I had my surgery in 2002, I received a book discussing the fact that "Breast-Conserving Surgery" was new and was recommended by the leading experts associated with the National Cancer Institute of NIH. Unfortunately because they don't take any "extra" tissue, they sometimes have to do a second lumpectomy. Overall they still see this as most beneficial to women. I had a re-excision in 2002 and have had no recurrence.

      I agree with ChicagoSandy---have a second lumpectomy, and if you need a mastectomy later, you can still do it. A mastectomy can have serious side effects, so there's no reason to have one unless you need it. Make a list of questions you have and discuss in detail with your doctor this week. He is the expert and is armed with statistics and information to help you make that decision.

      Best wishes.

      4 months ago
    • julester's Avatar
      julester

      I had two lumpectomies that didn't have clear margins. After that, I decided to have a bilateral mastectomy. I figured if cancer was floating around one breast, it was probably in the 2nd one too. I still needed chemo & radiation though, because it was in the lymph nodes. Life after a bilateral mastectomy isn't easy, but I didn't want to take any chances.

      4 months ago
    • jeannief's Avatar
      jeannief

      Thanks for all the responses! I am actually having more surgery to get clear margins. It will be easier than the first, but I will be more sore. My doctor has done a lumpectomy three times before going with a mastectomy. It sounds positive and I am going to keep myself that way. Stay warm, everyone!

      4 months ago

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