• On "Stage" with BC.

    Asked by Grandy on Saturday, March 30, 2013

    On "Stage" with BC.

    Written in my medical records it says "clinically stage 1111a"

    After #3 chemo's PET scan, they call "liver disease" "resolved", but that doesn't change me into a stage 3, correct?

    12 Answers from the Community

    12 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      I think #3 refers to your third chemo treatment after which the PET scan was done, and has nothing to do with the stage of your cancer.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Grandy's Avatar
      Grandy

      Correct... The 3s are a coincidence... I just meant you don't change backwards of what stage you are, correct?

      almost 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      Oh, sorry, my bad....I misunderstood your quesiton.

      The formal "stage" of a cancer does not change over time, even if the cancer progresses or regresses. A cancer that returns or spreads or is in remission is still referred to by the stage it was given when it first diagnosed. Sometimes, after a period of remission (cancer being undetectable) if more treatment is planned, a doctor might restage the cancer. The same process that was done when the cancer was first diagnosed will be repeated: exams, imaging tests, biopsies, and possibly surgery to restage the cancer. If the cancer is restaged, the new stage will be recorded with a lower case "r" before the restaged designation.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Grandy's Avatar
      Grandy

      So, what does the same "a" mean?

      almost 4 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar
      SueRae1

      Dear Grandy,
      Sounds like you are having issues understanding your reports. This is not uncommon as the medical terminology is hard for us lay people to figure out. They use words in ways we don't and terminology that is confusing to those outside the community. For example, one one of my first scan reports (2099, for kidney cancer) used the the term "Grossly ", pause heart attack in the waiting, and then "normal". Now you and I would never use gross to describe normal, but it means something in med talk.
      When I saw my Breast oncologist for the e results of the first set of scans he ordered, I said "I read my reports as soon as they are posted online, is there anything in them, a result or phrase that might confuse or scare me?"

      Speak with your oncology team and ask them what your report means, and what exactly is confusing you.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Grandy's Avatar
      Grandy

      I know SueRae, you are right... Sometimes you want to learn in small incriments. Sometimes you aren't SURE you wanna know. Stage 4 (IIII) is scary. And there seems to be no such thing as 4a. Studying today... My stats aren't very good... And I know I'm not a stat... But still... I didn't fully realize that statistically, we are not talking about me being cured. And I didn't know that the HER2 was the most agressive BC. I didn't realize that continue "Herceptin until????" Is my best hope.

      Maybe if I cry enough times today, I'll get the courage to ask the doc to clarify next time I see him.

      It's in my face today!

      almost 4 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar
      JennyMiller

      Grandy, First I want to assure you of my prayers and support. Then, I want to encourage you to be strong and to maintain a positive attitude. There is always hope as witnessed by survivors who beat the odds and are 15 and 20 years out.
      I saw a movie on Lifetime Movie Network about the Doctor who discovered Herceptin -- the storyline included his struggle to get financing, the Clinical Trials and the ladies who participated. Those ladies survived thanks to Herceptin. I personally know 2 ladies in my hometown who are HER2+ who completed the Herceptin Treatment and are doing very well.
      I wish you the best.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Grandy's Avatar
      Grandy

      Thanks Jenny for taking the answer. That is by encouraging!!!!! Thanks for praying and the support!!!!! HUGS!

      almost 4 years ago
    • virginiab's Avatar
      virginiab

      Grandy, if you are not already taking someone with you to your medical appointments, you might consider doing so. Someone who will ask questions, and will ask the doctor to continue to explain and clarify until you understand where you are now, what's next, and (maybe) what would be the next step after that if it is needed.

      I think that the sheer trauma of hearing a diagnosis (or sometimes of hearing the next treatment step) can just knock our brains temporarily onto the floor. We need ways to slow things down so we can understand what's going on.

      Clearly, the doc's office is the most specific and definitive source for this information. This board is another. I'd also recommend breastcancer.org, where there are message boards just for Stage IV women to share information and experience.

      almost 4 years ago
    • Grandy's Avatar
      Grandy

      VirginiaB. Yes, we've been very good about hubby taking notes, and making sure all my written questions are asked. This I thought I understood until reading some things online. But thanks! This time I'm bringing my Sisiter in law who will be bolder than my quieter hubby.

      almost 4 years ago
    • leslie48240's Avatar
      leslie48240

      On the other hand...some of the things I know now (5 years after initial diagnosis), I am glad I didn't 'get' at the beginning as I would have felt even more doomed than I did. Sometimes ignorance IS bliss if you don't need to know it for the treatment or your care. Maybe my head was in the sand some...but it was a happier head. LOL .

      almost 4 years ago
    • Grandy's Avatar
      Grandy

      Leslie, I identify with the blessing of ignorance in war with the need for knowledge. Often I find things I don,t want to know by accident!!!! HA!

      almost 4 years ago

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