• Just diagnosed last Tuesday. Scared to death.

    Asked by dealite2007 on Sunday, October 14, 2012

    Just diagnosed last Tuesday. Scared to death.

    My doctor called me just this past Thursday. Said I was diagnosed with IDC and then grade 1-3. At the time I was numb and didn't ask what that meant. She also said it was a 1 on the mitotic index. Does anyone know what she meant by grade 1-3? I'm going crazy this weekend thinking about it.

    19 Answers from the Community

    19 answers
    • GregP_WN's Avatar

      HI and welcome to the site, sorry for while your here though. Just know that there are thousands here that have been where you are now, and they are ok. I am a 24 year survivor.

      Here is a link to the grading of DCI

      almost 8 years ago
    • FreeBird's Avatar

      You are about an hour away from the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, which is a good starting point online for information www.cancer.gov

      The American Cancer Society is also a good starting point www.cancer.org They describe breast cancer grading as follows:

      "Breast cancer grade

      A pathologist also assigns a grade to the cancer, which is based on how closely the biopsy sample looks like normal breast tissue and how rapidly the cancer cells are dividing. The grade can help predict a woman's prognosis. In general, a lower grade number indicates a slower-growing cancer that is less likely to spread, while a higher number indicates a faster-growing cancer that is more likely to spread. The tumor grade is one factor in deciding if further treatment is needed after surgery.

      Histologic tumor grade (sometimes called the Bloom-Richardson grade, Scarff-Bloom-Richardson grade, or Elston-Ellis grade) is based on the arrangement of the cells in relation to each other: whether they form tubules; how closely they resemble normal breast cells (nuclear grade); and how many of the cancer cells are in the process of dividing (mitotic count). This system of grading is used for invasive cancers but not for in situ cancers.
      • Grade 1 (well differentiated) cancers have relatively normal-looking cells that do not appear to be growing rapidly and are arranged in small tubules.
      • Grade 2 (moderately differentiated) cancers have features between grades 1 and 3.
      • Grade 3 (poorly differentiated) cancers, the highest grade, lack normal features and tend to grow and spread more aggressively. "


      If you have any questions, both of those websites are great, and both have ways to contact them for help navigating through all the information.

      Wishing you the best.

      almost 8 years ago
    • teddyfuzz's Avatar

      Hi dealite2007. First of all, try to take a deep breath. You have a lot of new information that you are trying to process right now and you must be really scared. Grade is a “score” that tells you how different the cancer cells’ appearance and growth patterns are from those of normal, healthy breast cells. Grade 1 is "low grade" (meaning that not many cells are dividing to make cancer cells), grade 2 is "moderate" and grade 3 is "high" (many are dividing to make new cancer cells). Having a lower grade cancer is encouraging but higher grade cancers are more vulnerable to chemotherapy, which target fast-dividing cells.

      I'm sorry that you are having to go through this and this is really the worst part. Once you are amed with more information and your doctor have come up with a treatment plan you'll find that it may be a little easier on you. Fear and worry are completely normal reactions to finding out that you have cancer. But, try not to let those emotions consume you - which I know is not an easy thing to do right now. Sending lots of positive thoughts your way.

      almost 8 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      BC is graded 1, 2 or 3....from slow growing to not so slow growing...it is also staged 0,1,2,3,4....I don't know what the mitotic index is and I've not heard of it being grade 1 -3. I'm am the same age as you and a 6 year 8 month survivor...stage 3 ILC....IT is a hard, journey but it is DOABLE!!!! I found breast cancer.org (bco.org) to be a great site for information and for support (it has a discussion board) for me when Dx and going through Tx. Hugs, Karen

      almost 8 years ago
    • BuckeyeShelby's Avatar

      Welcome to the site, although I'm sorry you are in a position to need it. The first thing to remember is not to panic. When my grandmother was diagnosed 40+ years ago, breast cancer was almost impossible. The medical community has made such amazing strides in tratment since then. Find the best doctors you can & put your faith in them and whatever higher power you may believe in. Best wishes.

      almost 8 years ago
    • Peroll's Avatar

      I and I would guess all of the cancer patients and survivors here knowhow you feel. Your fear is very natural; however, you need to be able to control the fear so it will not consume you because you have alot to learn and some very important decisions to make. One of the first things you need to learn is to ask lots of questions when at your doctor appointments. You have a right to answers that you can understand from your doctorssodo not be afraid to ask them. Also you can ask anything here. There is no such thing as a dumb question. You will probably hear alot of statistics thrown out. You need to realize that all of them are atleast 5 years old and there have been significant advances in the past 5 years.

      You have a significant journey ahead of you but a positive attitude and a clear head will make it much easier. Know that cancer is not a death sentance and can be beat. There are numerous exampls here on this site. Good luck and let us know what wecan do to help you.

      almost 8 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      The grade refers to how well a cancer is differentiated with Grade1 being well differentiated and grade 3 being no well differentiated. I have no idea what he meant by grade 1-3. The mitotic index refers to how rapidly malignantly cells are dividing, with 1 being slow and 3 being fast.

      almost 8 years ago
    • lynn1950's Avatar

      Welcome dealite 2007. It's hard not to panic when so much is unknown and you are at that place where your world is just spinning. More and more the pieces will start falling into place and you will find your center again. Hold on tight and we will ride this out with you.

      almost 8 years ago
    • dvdbriansr's Avatar

      Hi, I'm David, I too have very recently been diagnosed with cancer myself. I'm sorry your here for the same reasons that I am; however, I can assure you, there are many good people here that can and will give you the answers to whatever questions you have. And yes, it's true, the more you know about your given situation the better you will feel, however, being in our situation sucks no matter how you look at it. I don't mind telling you that I am also scared to death, I just finally had to openly admit that fact to myself over the weekend while lying in a hospital bed. Just know as long as you can come here, as long as you have a good team fighting your cancer battle, you'll never be alone in your fight. As I've said there are a great number of caring knowledgable people here many versed in the different aspects of cancer and reatments as well as what to look out for, what to expect. Just keep in mind that NO 2 people have the exact same results or reaction to treatments and drugs. They know where to find valuable information on your particular concerns. Hoping you nothing but the best in your journey, if you feel the need to talk with someone just barely ahead of you on your journey feel free to contact me. We can confront and hopfully defeat our fears together even though we have different types of cancer, I'm sure the fears, anxiety, and all that goes with it are the same. Again, wish you nothing but the best on your journey ahead.

      almost 8 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      This is the "darkest" time (between that dreaded phone call and your first appointment with your surgeon) -- many tears and sleepless nights!! However, it does get better and once you begin your battle -- you will find the strength and hope that you need to stay positive. There is so much information that you are trying to digest and it is scary. I was diagnosed last November - had my surgery in December --- then chemo and radiation. I detailed (and I mean "detailed") my journery on my wall -- if you go to the beginning and read, it may help you to understand what is in your future. I wish you the best!!! Please keep us updated.

      almost 8 years ago
    • PhillieG's Avatar

      First, sorry to hear of your diagnosis.
      Second, when do you meet with your doctor again? I would bring a friend/spouse with you along with a list of questions. There are also many inexpensive voice recorders or apps for smart phones that you could use to record your meeting.
      Third, while I'm not saying stay OFF the Internet, I'm suggesting that you are cautious researching your diagnosis because often the data you'll find is outdated. Things change quickly and the Internet doesn't always keep up with that.

      Hope these help

      almost 8 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar

      It's a bit hard to ask the right questions over the phone. When you see the doctor, make sure that everything is explained in terms you can understand. It is perfectly OK to write out some questions before the appointment so that you don't forget to ask them. I do suggest educating yourself on the Internet and elsewhere. Remember, as others have mentioned, that survival data is always out of date and that the statistics apply to large numbers of people and won't be your survival experience.

      Fear, anxiety, and confusion are normal reactions at this point. But, it will get better as you learn more.

      almost 8 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      Sorry to hear of your diagnosis, Take a deep breath, I know it's hard, but it will help bring some calm into your life. Call your doctor today!!!, and start getting things going. Ask for an appointment and take someone with you. Get the referrals for oncologists and surgeons. I was very fortunate because every time I was told I had cancer (on the phone or in person) I was given the name and number of an oncologist to set up an appointment - in fact twice the appointment was set up for me. Do not be afraid to get a 2nd or even 3rd opinion. You need to find a team that you have confidence in and most importantly one that you feel comfortable working with. Good luck.

      almost 8 years ago
    • carm's Avatar

      Dealite 2007, Hello my name is Carm, and I am an oncology/end of life nurse. I can understand your fear, as hearing news such as this can be so life changing. Now is a time where you must sit and let this news absorb in your brain. Let it tumble about a bit and then soon the notion will settle and you will begin to move forward. Let me help you by explaining some of the things you have mentioned and perhaps I can allay some fears. You have received many responses and they are pretty accurate, but maybe I can clarify it a bit more. Starting with the diagnosis of IDC. IDC is called one of two things, invasive ductal carcinoma, sometimes also referred to as infiltrating ductal carcinoma. It is quite different from DCIS, or ductal carcinoma in situ because it has moved from its original location beyond its original borders. This makes it a true cancer. IDC is the most common form of breast cancer making up about 80% of the population of breast cancer victims. The word cancer derived from the word crab which denotes movement, so if a cancer is in situ, it has not moved and therefore is not considered a true cancer. A good example would be brain tumors like glioblastomas or astrocytomas, they stay in the head and rarely move beyond it, so they are then referred to as a tumor and not cancer like a metastasis from the lung to the brain would be. They are then determined to be a malignant or benign tumor. When you have ductal carcinoma, that refers to the pipes that bring the milk from the milk producing lobes to the nipple. If it is invasive then it has broken thru the walls of the pipe to the surrounding tissue. Grading usually is 1-4 or 1-3, and denotes whether a cell is well differentiated or poorly differentiated. If you are a grade 1, then the cell is well differentiated, it looks and behaves just like a normal cell. It you are a grade 3 then it is considered poorly differentiated and does not look ar behave like a normal cell. A grade 1 tends to grow slower and is the least agressive, whereas a grade 3 is a rapid grower and very aggressive, 2 is somewhere in the middle of the others. This is all determined by how they look under a misroscope. As for the mitotic index, this is the population of cells, or the ratio of the number of cells undergoing cell division (mitosis) as opposed to the number of cells that are not dividing (meiosis). Normally it is used as a predictor. How well you will respond to treatment. It is calculated by counting the cells under a microscope that have visible chromosomes, and then dividing them by the total number of cells visible. For some it is valuable. I am the same age as you and I can tell you that as we age, our cells don't divide at the same rate as they did when we were younger, so the mitosis ratio isn't really as important to us as they would be to someone much younger. However, you were told your index is a 1, so this means your cells are dividing more like a normal cell than a rapidly dividing cell. Understanding any disease is the key to success. If you know how it functions, you know its behavior so it is great that you ask these questions. Always know who you fight, get to know everything you can. The only suprise you should have is the diagnosis, after that you should be that girl scout always prepared and at the ready. Remember that this is in a way like a chronic disease, something you have to live with like diabetes or rhumatoid arthritis. But you can live a long life coexisting with it, there is no reason why you can't. Take this time and just breathe, absorb the notion and then get your game face on, see it, defeat it, and move on...you have a life to live. I am here if you have any questions. I hope you begin to move beyond those thoughts of fear to a feeling of inner strength. Good luck, Carm.

      almost 8 years ago
    • Carol-Charlie's Avatar

      I had ovarian cancer Stage IV... upgraded to IIIC... That's as far as I go... IV to me, was terrifying... To God... it was a bump, and he helped me over it. Which is how I got to IIIC. Chemo took over where the Surgeon stopped (having removed a 39 lb tumor (ovary) and metastized cancer from my intestine and euretha. I have been cancer free - it will be 7 years in February!
      Hold the thought that 1 is a good number and do what the doctor suggests.

      I know!!
      ©2006 by Carol Notermann

      I know that I’m not in control… But Thank God that He is!
      I know that I’ve no need to plan, for the best plan is His.

      I know that I am not alone. Friends walk the path with me.
      I know that yes, I must be strong, find out what waits for me.

      I know that as in "Footprints" there's only one set in the sand.
      and I know that I am clinging, very tightly to His hand.

      Today, I'll see what doctors -- can do to help me stay
      here with all my loved ones, cherishing each day

      almost 8 years ago
    • polgara's Avatar

      It is very hard not to panic we have all been there. I second not going on the internet I did and I regret it. The information out there is overwhelming. You need to get past panic and go into fighting mode. This is so important, your mind is a powerful tool use it. Try to think of knights or robots killing the cancer in your body. Say to yourself I have cancer, cancer does not have me. You can do this and we are all here to help you.

      almost 8 years ago
    • Carol-Charlie's Avatar

      Your attitude will help just as polgara says. My oncologist said My attitude was 90 % of the battle. I doubt 90, but I know the Lord gave me strength I had no idea I possessed. I remember telling the doctor I wanted to fight... and he said "You want to fight, Carol.... WELL FIGHT" And we did... The God, Oncologist, and I... AND we won!

      almost 8 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      It is very scary and also scarier (at least to me it was) to hear that kind of diagnosis over the phone. I thought I was the only one who heard my cancer diagnosis over the phone. Anyway, do your research. American Cancer Society website is a great place to start. I also read a few blogs of women going through it and actually started writing one myself. Feel free to read it: nancebeth.blogspot.com (but keep in mind, I am brutally honest and everyone's experience is different)

      almost 8 years ago
    • joannahill's Avatar

      The doctors use the grades of 1-4 usually to stage cancer. 1 being the least invasive and 4 the most advanced. I would think the doc was talking about staging your cancer. With IDC they have to work a little harder to stage the cancer so I would think doc was telling you that it could be any of those stages. I have been dealing with cancer for 18 years and spent last 20 yrs as a RN. I tell you this only to stay this is the best educated answer I can give you without further information. Be strong dont give in to the fear. You can beat this monster stay positive and strong dont let anyone make you lay down and die. You have to believe in yourself and believe you can do this. I know it is hard but you can do it.............BELIEVE.

      almost 8 years ago

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