• Non traditional way to diagnosis - fine needle lymph node biopsy tomorrow. Did anyone else have lymph node involvement in their BC?

    Asked by HearMeRoar on Tuesday, February 5, 2013

    Non traditional way to diagnosis - fine needle lymph node biopsy tomorrow. Did anyone else have lymph node involvement in their BC?


    It is me again! My cancers (two tiny spots one 1.5 cm other 7mm) were side-by-side like twins. They were well defined like two tiny marbles. After excisional biopsy (no margins taken because they were sure it was benign) doc said 99% sure not cancer. 7 days later - BAM - CANCER! "Good" pathology - miotic rate (1 - low), grade (1 -low), ER/PR+, HER 2 neg.

    MRI showed two additional spots on left side... 2mm and 5mm. Even w/ palpable masses NOTHING showed up on mammogram. I am POSITIVE that these two little marbles were close to the surface and felt in the shower so that I could find it early and be cured!! I wouldn't have started mammorgrams for 4 more years and who knows when it would have showed up!

    After MRI I had 2nd look ultrasound (this was 2 weeks after excisional biopsy). Doc asked what I was worried about and I said node involvement. She scanned nodes and found them to be troublesome. One was 3cm. Biopsy tomorrow. I pray they are just reactive to surgery!!

    11 Answers from the Community

    11 answers
    • Mel's Avatar

      Hi... Thinking of you. :) I had 3 Lymph removed during my Mastectomy but I haven't had any affected with being cancer in the Lymph.

      over 3 years ago
    • AlizaMLS's Avatar
      AlizaMLS (Best Answer!)

      Hi Roar!

      I haven't heard of the type of biopsy you're describing for this use, but then there are lots of medical procedures I haven't heard of (even having been a medical Librarian...;)) It probably also varies what procedures are used according to your doc, and the hospital she/he's affiliated with in your neck of the woods.

      I am sure the biopsy will be a better determinant than anything else. I remember writing to you re the "age 36 phenomena". I wouldn't concentrate as I mentioned about that-there are so many women of so many different ages who get this and all we get to hear about (with the exception of forums like this) are the celebrities who make the news or tabloids.

      I can't tell you not to be scared. It's very normal to be scared. If you weren't scared, you'd really be crazy!! I don't think you are. None of us wants to deal with having cancer. But I think if and when your definitive diagnosis comes through, you permit yourself to understand that you have it and reach out for help-CancerCare, the ACS, Susan Komen, and this forum besides (I mention the others becaue you can speak to real live people and some include specially trained social workers), you will have a better time of it, that is, it will make you recovery easier, if you "embrace" it and feel all of yor emotions rather than be in denial (you'd till be frightened anyway if you were). These folks can also tell you how to handle things with your kids.

      The biopsy doesn't really hurt. The mastectomy itself (I had a unilateral) doesn't hurt and when you wake up, you still won't feel any pain because of the anesthesia (make sure if you're sensitive to nausea you have a chat beforehand with the anesthesiologist so they can give you something to counteract any subsequent nausea/vomiting from the anesthesia) and later on you will be on pain meds for a good while (be careful with these [don't drive!!]).

      If you ever want to email me privately, you can - my email address is [email redacted].

      Warm Wishes on a Cold Day in NYC!!

      over 3 years ago
    • Debbie's Avatar

      After 24 years of mammograms, I found the pea size lump during a self exam (1 month before scheduled mammogram). Surgeon was SURE it was only one small spot. Did the surgery, inserted the tubey thing for internal radiation and she called two days later. Cancer in 2 of 4 lymph nodes. So much for finding the lump "early". Good luck with your biopsy and hope everything goes well.

      over 3 years ago
    • HearMeRoar's Avatar

      But you are still here, Debbie and that is something to celebrate! Aliza & Mel thanks for your kind words. XOXO to all!

      over 3 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      After my first biopsy and Dx I had an MRI which resulted in more to be biopsied which included lymph nodes...so even before bilat, we knew that there was lymph node involvement....

      over 3 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      My yearly routine mammo showed nothing -- however, they noted that my lymph node seemed a little "generous" - I had a flu shot the previous week so they figured that was the cause - but they decided to do a needle biopsy on the lymph node just to be sure. The biopsy revealed breast cancer cells. Still - nothing showed on the ultrasound -- finally, the MRI indicated the area. Due to dense breast tissue and the type of cancer, it did not show on the mammo or ultrasound -- and the tumor was 4.9. Anyway, I was diagnosed with Stage III Invasive Pleomorphic Lobular Carcinoma with 8 out of 11 positive Lymph Nodes. Thank God that they decided to biopsy the lymph node or I would have gone home for another whole year thinking that everything was just fine. I wish you the best!

      over 3 years ago
    • DianaL's Avatar

      Hi HearMeRoar,
      I had both needle biopsy and steretactic biopsy prior to lumpectomy. Was told very small and very slow growing. I had the lumpectomy with sentinental node biopsy and the catheter put in for brachytherapy and was told everything was fine. Went in on Monday after lumpectomy and two of the three nodes had microscopic cancer and they found IDS sitting behind the Invasive Lobular Carcinoma. Had my feet literally kicked out from under me. Had bilateral, no radiation and 4 rounds of chemo, will have my reconstruction is next week. When they did the bilateral that took 13 nodes and they were all clean. With lumpectomy I was going to have some form of radiation. Good luck and you will be in my prayers.

      over 3 years ago
    • Julie99's Avatar

      My ob thought she felt something on my left May of 11. I had 3 mammograms to watch microcalcifications on my right which showed nothing else and no changes even last June. My 4th mammo was in Oct & was the same. The ultrasound showed "something", the biopsy confirmed cancer. The MRI showed 2 other questionable areas but nothing was found when they tried the ultrasound guided core needle biopsy.
      Because of my age, although no close family history of cancer (but enough distance for insurance to pay), I was tested for the BRCA gene.
      On a Friday morning I was told I had a mastectomy or lumpectomy option for my right, with the one found. I was going to think over the weekend. Friday afternoon I got the BRCA results. BRCA-2 positive. Okay, easy choice, bilateral mastectomy. NOT going through this again.
      My left was still fine. My right?
      Original was 2.5cm, plus 2 others, 1cm and .6cm. I had one lymph node test positive during surgery so they took them all. The other 10 were negative.
      Have you been BRCA tested and what is your family history? I have distant cousins (my dad's cousins and my dad's aunts and uncles) who have had cancer. No one closer.
      Finding those results made my decision SO easy for me. And I thank GOD my cancer center talked to me about it. Without the results I could have had a lumpectomy and would have had still had 2 tumors and 1 lymph node.
      Also, before surgery they did not expect any of my lymph nodes to test positive and were very surprised when one did.

      over 3 years ago
    • SusanK's Avatar

      Ugh. My family physician, my ultrasound tech, my breast surgeon all told me the same thing: that little spot in there is probably nothing to worry about. No family history of breast cancer. The spot appeared to look more like a cyst. The needle biopsy said otherwise: cancer. The tissue biopsy said more: triple negative. I started assuming the worst after all that! What a roller coaster we ride on! I just said a prayer for you and am hoping for some good news for you.

      over 3 years ago
    • SamanthaJB's Avatar

      I hear your concerns! I had a mammogram in July 2012 which was read as all clear and by December I felt a lump. Long story short, I had a lumpectomy with clear margins and 27 lymph nodes removed-20 of them tested positive for cancer. Stage 3. I was like how did this happen? I did the treatments-6 months of chemo, radiation and now Tamoxifin. Just stay informed and ask questions. Giving up control and trusting your doctors is important. Trust your instincts too. Good luck!

      over 3 years ago
    • Topazcat's Avatar

      In Oct 2010 I had mamo and ultrasound. Some shading but nothing to worry about. November 3, 2010 lymph node under left arm was swollen and hurting. Put on antibiotics. Talked with a breast surgeon regarding a biopsy. Scheduled for Nov 19, 2010. Found a 7cm X 4cm area of Inflammatory breast cancer. I remember waking up after biopsy to my husband crying. Doctor told me it was a very aggresive, deadly cancer. I said' "XXX" and went back to sleep. We found out that Inflammatory Breast Cancer DOES NOT show up on mamo or ultra sound. Only on PET scan or MRI. Went to Mayo next week. Had 16 rounds of chemo. Then double mastectomy. They removed 20 nodes and 18 were cancer. Had 36 radiation treatments. Have had 3 PET scans and no cancer found since then. Good luck to you. Keep a positive attitude and find things to happy about. Fight this cancer! What else can we do? Sitting around worrying doesn't change anything. Take control of your treatments and fight!

      over 3 years ago

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