• Can cancer come back if you are in remission almost 3 yrs

    Asked by Neeser on Friday, January 15, 2021

    Can cancer come back if you are in remission almost 3 yrs

    I had triple neg stage 3 masstated in to 4 lymph nodes i had 5 removed and I choose to have a reconstruction of the breast they took my plastic surgery is hult due to he is concerned that it might be back in my lymph nodes? Does anyone have any suggestions thoughts or been threw ot then my oncologist is worried I may have bone cancer cause my bones hurt but only in my leg ,any information I would appreciate Thank you

    36 Answers from the Community

    36 answers
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      Unfortunately, yes, it can come back. But many non-cancerous things can cause pain (as you know). If you and your oncologist are concerned, your oncologist can give you tests (bone scan, MRI, PT scan) to see the cause of your pain and if there’s any detectable cancer in your body.

      BTW, if a breast (or other) cancer spreads to a distant spot (a bone, for example), it’s considered to be a breast cancer that metastasized to the bone (it’s not bone cancer).

      Almost every cancer survivor worries that cancer has returned, when something hurts or there are other symptoms that don’t go away after a few weeks. I hope, of course, that you’re okay. Please let us know how you’re doing.

      about 1 month ago
    • Neeser's Avatar
      Neeser

      Thank you yeah when my pmp is not wanting to see me over some things straight to oncologist its a scarey rd that will never go away I was just mainly concerned cause all the tissues they removed from my breast was cancer free or stage o minimal scaring they went to the 5th lymph nodes just to make sure nothing was hiding and my surgeon said that he's concerned cause my arm is going numb and has a knot under in my arm pit have have a ultra sound done threw and a ct scan on bones I am literally going to slow from all the stuff they need to use thank you for taking your time to respond its a touching subject for me nobody understands my kids say I am lazy I used my cancer as a excuse for not having energy its gone and that hurts me deeply I had no support in treatment at all and my dad had stage 4 non small lung cancer at the same t1im1e I stop my treatment for my dad ..but he passed so I get threw my day doing things with that arm I am not supposed to ext and tell myself I never had cancer I am in denial about it all of it down to my breast gone that was my body and nobody ask for that ...

      about 1 month ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      I’m so sorry you have this difficult situation and no emotional support. And I’m so sorry about your dad. Sometimes loved ones don’t get it when it comes to the after effects of a cancer diagnosis and treatments. In addition to the lingering fear and anxiety, treatments can cause physical problems and, as you’re experiencing, loss of energy (and the depression that sometimes comes with a cancer diagnosis can also decrease energy).

      I’m glad you’re here again on WhatNext. I hope that your symptoms turn out to be caused by your surgery to remove those lymph nodes. Sending you virtual hugs and best wishes. Please let us know how you are.

      about 1 month ago
    • Neeser's Avatar
      Neeser

      Thank you very much, yeah its hard making it when no one is in your corner you well I sometimes feel like is it worth it

      about 1 month ago
    • Neeser's Avatar
      Neeser

      Thank you very much, yeah its hard making it when no one is in your corner you well I sometimes feel like is it worth it

      about 1 month ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      Yes, it’s worth it. Can you talk with a counselor or religious leader (if that would work for you) and tell them how you’re feeling? Apology if you’re already doing that. When I was through with my treatments, I still felt extremely anxious, so I finally saw a psychiatrist in my cancer center (my insurance covered that). She prescrihed an antidepressant/anti-anxiety medication. It did help, though I’m still an anxious person, for all kinds of reasons, including the very scary things happening in our country now.

      Anyway, your hospital may have a social worker who can help you, even just to talk to.
      And there’s us at WhatNext, but that’s not always enough.

      about 1 month ago
    • po18guy's Avatar
      po18guy

      Yes, my T-Cell Lymphoma relapsed after 4 1/2 years in remission. Actually, our bodies produce mutated cells daily, hourly, by the minute in some cases. It is up to our immune system to kill them and 99% of the time, it does. If you count all my cancer, I am in my 5th remission.

      Do you have a cultural, familial, psychological or spiritual belief system? If so, I would advise you to dive in, as all belief systems deal with worry and anxiety. Something that will reside within you, so you cannot forget it at homer or the prescription runs out. Something reliable.

      about 1 month ago
    • MLT's Avatar
      MLT

      I am so sorry you do not have family support. Any close friends? I would be lost without my friends! I can call them anytime. Please reach out for support and push for those scans. Even a virtual support group would help. I am metastatic TNBC and doing pretty well on treatment. You've got this!!

      about 1 month ago
    • legaljen1969's Avatar
      legaljen1969

      Neeser. I am so sorry to hear that you have a lack of support from your family. It can be so hard to get through cancer even under the best of circumstances. Yet, when your family is not in your corner- it seems even more difficult.

      It's hard when you have symptoms and you have illnesses that your family refuses to recognize. I had a unilateral mastectomy about a year ago. Some days I wake up and think how lucky I am that mine was early stage- DCIS and they didn't have to go deep into my lymph nodes. Other days I wake up and I am so mad at my body having only one breast. Surgery and treatment can really steal your energy, even if it is just endocrine or hormonal therapy. I am so sorry your children are saying that you use cancer as "an excuse." It is hard when you need someone to talk to and those around you seem to be upset about that, or disinterested.

      Are your children at an age where the world needs to be perfect all the time? Like maybe teens or early 20's? I have a number of friends who have gone through various types of cancers and they all have children of different ages. I have noticed the ones who have younger children (pre-teen) seem to have decent family support. Their children still like "doing things for mommy." Then by mid-20's, the support seems to pick back up again because they have had a few of their own REAL knocks in life- a bad breakup, a job loss, some illness or surgery. The ones who have teens at the time of diagnosis and treatment? They have a rough time. I mean, I can understand. Kids want/need security and just as they are figuring out who and what they are- all of the sudden this landslide hits their family. And I think many of us can remember that, as teens, image and status were everything. Teens don't want to be "different" or have friends or family members who are "different." Anything that causes them not to be able to do things with their friends, be where they want to be, look how they want to look (that includes the "image" their surrounding people project too. I know I definitely went through a stage where I thought my parents clothes and hairstyles were... ugh... LOL)

      Anyhow, I will leave it to those who have experienced a recurrence of cancer- having the same type come back, metastasize or getting a different type of cancer to explain the intricacies of dealing with that. I am still just over a year from initial diagnosis and just under a year since my surgery.

      WhatNext is always here for you. We are all here to lend some positive words or wisdom if we can share it. I do agree with many though. Finding a good counselor, whether a pastor or a psychiatrist, psychologist/ mental health counselor- may be invaluable. I keep meaning to start that journey myself.

      I mean nothing bad toward you, but remember that your family is processing how your cancer affects them as well. Unfortunately, one family member's diagnosis usually turns into a "family affair." My husband's anxiety ramped up and he started smoking again. I was so mad because he had worked so hard to quit, but he would go to my neighbor's house and they were all smoking and he started up again. I was mad at them for encouraging him to smoke and giving him a "safe space" to do so when they knew it was not the best thing for him or me.
      It may be that your kids need to talk to a pastor or a school counselor or someone as well. If any of your children are old enough, perhaps if you have a really patient oncologist (many are, but some aren't) maybe having them come with you to an appointment might be worth a shot so when you explain to your doctor that you are feeling tired or sad or whatever, your child actually hears it come out of your doctor's mouth that this is "normal." Maybe hearing your oncologist or your surgeon say "You can't lift more than xxx pounds" would help them understand that mom isn't making excuses.

      Anyhow, all of this whole novel just to say- Keep on keeping on. Find out from your doctors what is going on. See if you can find a counselor. Sometimes it is good to know there is someone who is getting paid to listen to your troubles and help you work through them. You've got this. You can do it.

      about 1 month ago
    • omaalyce's Avatar
      omaalyce

      I echo the words of the others, I am so sorry you do not have the support to help you during this time. Check with your American Cancer Society and see if they have volunteers who are available to be with you. Imerman Angels is an organization in Chicago that matches people looking for support to mentors who have had the same type of cancer. I mentored 4 different ladies over the years who all had Renal Cell Kidney cancer. We talked on the phone and emailed, none of these ladies were in my area but it didn't matter. I was able to be there for them and even spoke and emailed their family members who had questions. imermanangels.org

      In 1993 I lost my right kidney to Renal Cell kidney cancer and in 2017 I had chemo, surgery and radiation in that order for IDC and DCIS breast cancer. The cells are completely different for these two cancers. I have also had several skin cancers, I grew up going to the beach for many years.

      I now have neuropathy in my hands and feet as a direct result from the chemo drug, Taxol. On top of that a year ago my aches and pains turned out to be Rheumatoid Arthritis. I share this because your aches and pains need to be addressed as they may be something entirely different.

      The men and women you find here are awesome. We share our experiences and what we have learned to hopefully help one another. We are here for you.

      about 1 month ago
    • legaljen1969's Avatar
      legaljen1969

      @Carool, I was reading your first answer above about metastasis versus new cancers. How do they know if a cancer has metastasized or if it is a new cancer?

      I have a friend whose mother had breast cancer and had a double mastectomy. About five years later, she was diagnosed with lung cancer(s). Oddly enough, the cancer in the left lung was different than the cancer in the right lung.

      about 1 month ago
    • legaljen1969's Avatar
      legaljen1969

      @omaalyce, Wow. You have been through a lot. I know a lot of people on WN have been through a lot. I am so grateful that you have turned your experiences into a way to give back to others and you are so generous to help others.

      I definitely agree that the aches and pains need to be assessed and that they may be something other than cancer. I am sure that would be a relief to know they are not cancer, even if it something else like arthritis.

      @Neeser, do they have you on anything like Arimidex? Those can cause some bone and joint discomfort too.

      I hope you find out that the bone pain is NOT cancer, but know that if it is- there are plenty of people here to offer you support and to help you find resources.

      about 1 month ago
    • MLT's Avatar
      MLT

      legaljen 1969
      To answer your question, a biopsy would id the type of cancer or sometimes a blood test.

      about 1 month ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      @legalgen1969 - I assume they find out through a biopsy. Each cancer has specific cells (I assume).

      about 1 month ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      I typed this before seeing MLT’s reply.

      about 1 month ago
    • ChicagoSandy's Avatar
      ChicagoSandy

      Arimidex would not be given for triple-negative breast cancer--it's only for hormone-positive. And I echo that a metastasis is classified as the same type of cancer as the original--not by the organ where it "lands." Bone mets from breast cancer, e.g., are not bone cancer but breast cancer. The way to determine if a new tumor is a primary or metastasis is by biopsy. But when I was diagnosed with ocular melanoma 5 yrs after breast cancer (IDC), I learned something chilling from my ocular oncologist (that my b.c. oncologist never told me): if you've been diagnosed with one type of cancer, you have a 25% chance over your lifetime of developing another cancer (usually another type) elsewhere in your body.

      about 1 month ago
    • legaljen1969's Avatar
      legaljen1969

      @MLT and @Carool, so breast cancer could met to your bones and if they did a bone scan and then a biopsy of your bone, it would show up as "breast cancer" cells? I know I should just go and do the reseach myself, but I thought maybe someone here could explain- maybe someone who had been through it. (I only mention the bones because that is where Neeser said she was having pain.

      about 1 month ago
    • ChicagoSandy's Avatar
      ChicagoSandy

      Oh, and though triple-neg is the second most aggressive type of bc (inflammatory is the most aggressive), and youth poses a higher risk of aggressiveness, statistics show that survival after 3-5 years out reduces recurrence risk to the same chance (1 in 8) of any woman developing bc over her lifetime (up to age 80), aka "population risk." The further out from triple-neg you are, the lower the odds it'll recur. Sadly, for those of us with ER+ (the most common form), the longer we survive, the higher the odds of recurrence (as cells eventually can develop the ability to produce their own estrogen on which they feed).

      There well may be other explanations for your pain & numbness--i.e., lymphedema, infection, or a spinal neuropathy (usually radial nerve compression/irritation).

      about 1 month ago
    • Teachertina's Avatar
      Teachertina

      Oh yes, it can come back! I’ve had renal cell recurring 3 times over the past 15 years. Monitoring and treatment when needed has kept me going all this time. I understand the family dynamics of not understanding what you are going through. Mine is the ostrich bunch, who seems to think if they ignore it it will just go away. I get a new tumor, have surgery or other treatment, recover and they think I’m all fine and well. The lingering effects both physically and mentally are never addressed. I am very happy to be able to communicate with all you guys on this site who really get it. We gotta hang together folks! Wishing you well and sending hugs! Keep us posted!

      about 1 month ago
    • MLT's Avatar
      MLT

      legjen1969, yes to your question. I had a lump on my sternum, Dr removed it, pathology showed TNBC. Also had biopsy on liver tumor for a clinical trial, same results.

      about 1 month ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      ChicagoSandy, I’m sorry you had an ocular melanoma.

      I knew that those who’ve had cancer have a higher chance of getting another, different cancer, but I didn’t know it was as high as 25%. And I didn’t know that ER+ breast cancer cells can eventually make their own estrogen source. Clever little devils!

      about 1 month ago
    • legaljen1969's Avatar
      legaljen1969

      @ChicagoSandy, I am sorry for asking about the Arimidex. I missed that she was Triple negative. I still have a lot to learn and should definitely refrain from answering any sort of medical question. My efforts to help are definitely NOT productive.

      about 1 month ago
    • andreacha's Avatar
      andreacha

      My Oncologist told me that the purpose of my biopsy was to determine if the areas in my lungs are Renal Cell metastasis or from a new primary that we are unaware of. I have a consult with the special Pulmonologist tomorrow who is expected to eventually do a Bronchoscopy to get a sample for Pathology. @Neeser, I so hope they can determine the reason for the pain as soon as possible. The recommendation for a therapist was good. I saw one for 5 years and she was a tremendous help. Wish I could see her now, but she has retired. Once I know what is going on with my lungs, I may seek out another as I have a similar family history as you do. And, as the others told you, we are family here. Check back in and let us know what you found out and your course for treatment.

      about 1 month ago
    • MarcieB's Avatar
      MarcieB

      @legaljen1969, honey, you must be having a tough day? Because I am sure there isn't a person here who would consider your posts anything but, caring, thoughtful, and HELPFUL (which means they are productive). Just the fact that you take your time to respond and encourage is valuable to anyone, especially those who are anxious and need reassurance that they are not alone, and that someone CARES.

      I am not medical by background either, and I have learned a lot here. Today, I am happy to learn that negative BC is not as likely to return if a person survives 5 years or more. I have a close friend who is 6 years out from 3-. Of course....I'm not so happy to learn about positive cancers being 25% more likely...(sheesh!)

      Experience is the best teacher - and we have got that in spades! Right? And, for the record, I think your suggestion that she ask her doctor to explain things to her children, is spot on! To be honest, I didn't even catch it about Arimadex, maybe because it's part of my world too and easy to assume all us gals are taking some form of it.

      Now, go get some coffee. Or sweet tea. Watch an old rerun of The Waltons and remember when life was simpler for us all. Then shake it all off and prepare to meet us here tomorrow. <3 (that is a HEART- I am not mooning you) ;-)

      about 1 month ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      @legalgen1969 - I agree with MarcieB. I, too, find your posts helpful and informative. I’m assuming that no one here is a medical professional (apology if I’m wrong). We all are free to post what we think we know. Someone will correct us when we’re wrong.

      @MarcieB - Hahaha — your “not mooning” comment!

      about 1 month ago
    • legaljen1969's Avatar
      legaljen1969

      @MarcieB, I know you are not mooning me. Although you are right, I am having a less than perfect day. I got jumped on about my imprecise use of words and their consequences by someone else just before I got on here this morning, so I took Sandy's words as a sharp rebuke. After some lunch and a nap with my cat, I recognize that most people here are looking to help and educate- not demean. Working in the legal field, of course words are very important and missing the right words can have serious effects. I don't know why I even mentioned the Arimadex because the whole point is to make the estrogen go away. Of course someone who had TNBC wouldn't need it. That makes perfect sense now.

      Carool, I have encountered a couple of people here who do have medical backgrounds OR are married to someone with a medical background.

      I am neither a doctor, nor do I play one on TV, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. LOL

      about 1 month ago
    • ChicagoSandy's Avatar
      ChicagoSandy

      Jen, I did not mean my words as a rebuke, sharp or otherwise--just a correction of something you may have overlooked in the original question.

      FWIW, I'm a retired lawyer married to an actively-practicing doctor. (I'm also a lifelong self-educated hypochondriac).

      about 1 month ago
    • legaljen1969's Avatar
      legaljen1969

      ChicagoSandy, I always note your precision. You and your husband must be quite the power couple and, I am sure, very intimidating. I definitely overlooked the TN part and thank you for pointing it out. That definitely makes a big difference.

      about 1 month ago
    • ChicagoSandy's Avatar
      ChicagoSandy

      Actually, we're both pretty soft-spoken and more easily intimidated than intimidating. In fact, my husband hates being called "Dr." outside of the hospitals or office. (My mom, when she'd come to visit us, used to make restaurant reservations in the name of "Dr. A..." to his great chagrin). I can understand the stereotype, though. I remember an old David Steinberg comedy bit in which he played an unhinged psychiatrist who would proclaim that the "MD" after his name stood for "Me Doctor."

      about 1 month ago
    • MLT's Avatar
      MLT

      Please, if you are TNBC, be vigilant about scans, changes. I was almost 9 years out from original diagnosis and now metastatic. You never know!

      about 1 month ago
    • fiddler's Avatar
      fiddler

      Hi @Neeser
      Gosh - triple negative breast cancer. That's what I had. For a long time after treatment we look over our shoulders, wondering if the cancer is catching up to us again. Some of us worry for a long time.

      Most people don't understand triple negative breast cancer. It isn't like ANY of the other breast cancers. It acts differently. Just so you know, triple negative rarely comes back in the same breast. Most often it comes back in the lungs, liver and brain. It can also come back in the other breast. It's a weird kind of aggressive cancer. Coming back in the bones is not unheard of, but it's not usual.

      But because of how aggressive it is, please, please, please get it checked out immediately and finish treatment to the end!

      They didn't take any of my lymph nodes, but I understand that when they take lymph nodes, you cannot EVER have blood pressure or a blood draw from the arm on the same side as the nodes they took out because they'll cause problems in the arm, like what you're going through now with your arm.

      You need someone to sort it out with - find the energy to call your cancer center and get a referral to a support group. The cancer center or the hospital it's attached to will have a social worker and maybe a group counseling session where everyone can talk about their feelings.

      You've come this far ... you're a fighter and very brave. Keep it up! Blessings on you ....

      about 1 month ago
    • fiddler's Avatar
      fiddler

      @Neeser
      Just one other thing, about energy. You won't have it for a while. Started to get it back at 3 yrs after treatment, but I'm not 100% 8 yrs after diagnosis. On a good day I'm 80%.

      BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF !!!!!!

      about 1 month ago
    • legaljen1969's Avatar
      legaljen1969

      @fiddler. Thank you for the reminder to be gentle with self. We forget how much it can take out of us to have surgeries or treatments. I start to get mad at myself for things and then I realize I am not even a year out from surgery yet. I have made a lot of progress, but when I hit a wall on occasion- I just have to remind myself that I can and will try to overcome that hurdle but maybe "not today."

      about 1 month ago
    • MLT's Avatar
      MLT

      Remember, it's ok to take a day off, take a nap, read a book, watch the birds.. Whatever makes you feel better.
      Yes, fiddler, you are right about TNBC. Mine is in bone and liver. Not alot of research for us, but it is improving.

      about 1 month ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar
      BuckeyeShelby

      NED for over 7 years. Had surgery this summer and they found endometrial cancer cells in the tissue excised. Didn't have to go back on chemo -- estrogen blocker instead that seems to be working. Only been on it since November -- surgery was in June.

      about 1 month ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      @Neeser, just checking in to see how you’re doing.

      26 days ago

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