• How much info did you have before choosing breast cancer surgery?

    Asked by Momx3 on Sunday, July 22, 2012

    How much info did you have before choosing breast cancer surgery?

    I am 34, supposedly stage 1 breast cancer. But the only info I have is the size of the tumor. I am waiting on BRCA results and will have an MRI this week. How much information did you have before choosing a surgery option? My biggest fear is that I am so young and I do not know what that means for the future, ie. recurrence rate greater?

    6 Answers from the Community

    6 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      Ask you oncologist for a copy of any and all of your test results. Did you have a biopsy? The pathology report will give you information on grade, size, and characteristics of the sampled tissue. Are you have a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, with or with lymph node removal? The risk of recurrence would certain be less with surgical removal of the tumor than without it.

      about 8 years ago
    • sofarsogood's Avatar

      You are so smart to ask this question. You need to have your full pathology report . It is essential that you know these things:

      1. What kind of cancer do you have? There are basically 3 types you should know about: Ductal (most common, 80%+); Lobular (2nd most common, only -20%); Inflammatory (rare and aggressive). You can get more info about these types.

      2. What are the attributes of your cancer? Is it genetic?

      Is Estrogen or progesterone positive? These are your female hormones, and being positive means that your cancer feeds on that hormone, making it grow. Being negative means that your cancer is NOT hormone sensitive.

      Some cancers are "triple negative," meaning
      1. It is not from a known genetic origin; 2 & 3: it is not sensitive to either of two female hormones. It is not sensitive to estrogen, and it is not sensitive to progesterone.

      These two features determine what types of treatments are likely to work best for you.

      Early Ductal cancer is very treatable. Lobular cancer is rarer, but it has more likely of coming back, especially to the other breast.
      Inflammatory cancer is most difficult to treat of the three types.

      The size of the tumor, and whether or not it has spread to your lymph nodes are crucial, but are usually not confirmed until after your lumpectomy or mastectomy. If you have a lumpectomy, there is a great chance, but not always, that you will need a second surgery to remove more cancer or have a mastectomy.

      Your age, health status, reproductive plans are important. Your prognosis is given for the five years after your treatment. Five years isn't very long for you, but for me at age 66, it is a better bargain.

      I'm in the final decades of life, and I don't want to chose the easy route, then wait 5 years to see if it comes back. Younger women have more things to consider.

      Good luck! Get second opinions if you are not sure (doctors don't really mind if you ask someone else.) The decisions are yours. You are the one steering the ship; your doctor is your navigator, and you need the information he or she has.

      about 8 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      I had an abnormal mammo then a spot compression mammo and ultrasound which was also abnormal. I then had a breast biopsy and was told I had cancer over the phone. (yeah, crazy...read about it on my blog at nancebeth.blogspot.com) I had a breast MRI. After all the tests, I found out I had stage 1 invasive ductal carcinoma. I was lucky in that one of my friends from elementary school is a plastic surgeon specializing in breast reconstruction. I talked with him quite a bit but also saw a few other surgeons. I knew I was going to have a bilateral masectomy even though the tumor was only in lefty. I am only 42 and didn't want to have to worry about recurrence for the rest of my life. I plan to live a really long time! I got the masectomy with immedaite reconstruction with implants. After a lot of research, I decided that was best for me and I do not for one minute regret my decision.
      I didnt have my BRCA testing until after my surgery and thankfully it was negative. However, if it was positive I would have elected surgery to remove my ovaries as well.
      Good luck with your decision and your treatment.

      about 8 years ago
    • Momx3's Avatar

      Thank you all. I had nipple discharge and was told it was a papilloma and benign. I had an FNA and learned (over the phone too and ironically in a hematologist/oncologist office while there for a hematology appointment) that it was cancer. The tumor is small and the biopsy read "high grade mammary carcinoma." The surgeon says I have all options open to me and will have a sentinel node biopsy at the same time. I guess I'll just have to figure out what is right for me after I get the BCRA and MRI results.

      about 8 years ago
    • Blepta's Avatar

      If you end up being BRCA positive, I would highly recommend www.facingourrisk.org to help you in your decision-making process. If you are BRCA negative, that does not guarantee that your cancer is not genetic. How long do you need to wait for the BRCA results?

      about 8 years ago
    • HollyG's Avatar

      Sofarsogood seems to have given you a lot of good info. There is one thing I'd like to add though. If you have a mastectomy, you will probably not need to have radiation done. I'm not sure how you feel about radiation and if that is something that would influence you. I'm 34 also and a little over two years out from my diagnosis. I opted for a lumpectomy with radiation (I also had chemo, but I was getting that regardless of my surgery choice). I wish you luck and will send prayers your way. Please message me if you have any questions or need someone to talk to.

      about 8 years ago

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