• Question...my chemo is going really well and the tumor in my breast is LOOSING the battle. They still want to do a lumpectomy

    Asked by Alyce on Saturday, June 2, 2012

    Question...my chemo is going really well and the tumor in my breast is LOOSING the battle. They still want to do a lumpectomy

    at the end of the chemo just to confirm that the tumor is completely gone. IF they find no remains of a tumor, just healthy normal tissue....is radiation still necessary? If there is a lump that they do remove, I am assuming it would be automatic radiation? You all let me know your thoughts! Thanks.

    8 Answers from the Community

    8 answers
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      In most cases, chemo does not cure cancer. When successful, it reduces the number of cancer cells and shrinks cancerous tumors. This in turn enhances the success of radiation and/or surgery to get rid of remaining tumors or dispersed cancer cells. Pathology and other diagnostic tests do not have 100% sensitivity, meaning that there can still be a low level of dispersed cancerous cells that are not detected. Radiation is often used to clean up any leftover cancerous cells.

      over 5 years ago
    • PinkD's Avatar
      PinkD

      I began my cancer journey when I had a cyst and another suspicious growth removed. No one expected it to be cancer but it was. Did chemo, and then the doc wanted to do a lumpectomy, which I thought was funny since the lump was long gone. What he really was looking for was clean margins (which they were-yay!) and also to do the sentinel node biopsy (which also came back clear--double yay!) I did radiation after that just to be sure. Radiation was so much easier that either chemo or surgery, so I'm glad I did it.

      over 5 years ago
    • adelia11's Avatar
      adelia11

      Hi Alyce, my situation sounds similar to you in some ways. I had 8 txs of chemo and 33 rads or radiation. I had a lumpectomy, because my tumor was 4 cm large. Which indicated I had Stage II with nine lymph nodes taken out under my right left arm, that were cancerous. The radiation makes certain they get it all areas outside the tumor. The chemo is primarily for the tumor itself. Please reply with email if you would like..

      over 5 years ago
    • adelia11's Avatar
      adelia11

      Alyce By the way what was your diagnosis?? Stage I,IIB, PR+ PR-??

      over 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      Just to clarify, chemo is systemic rather than targeted like surgery and radiation. In other words, chemo is actually almost always used when there is no clearly defined turmor (as is usually the case with inflamatory breast cancer and many other cancers) as well as any cancers that have metasticized. Chemo is becoming widely used to shrink tumors prior to surgery and radiation, but I would not say that chemo is primarily for the tumor itself, since it is not targeted just to any tumors.

      over 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      Just to clarify, chemo is systemic rather than targeted like surgery and radiation. In other words, chemo is actually almost always used when there is no clearly defined turmor (as is usually the case with inflamatory breast cancer and many other cancers) as well as any cancers that have metasticized. Chemo is becoming widely used to shrink tumors prior to surgery and radiation, but I would not say that chemo is primarily for the tumor itself, since it is not targeted just to any tumors.

      over 5 years ago
    • leepenn's Avatar
      leepenn

      this is exactly where cancer researchers are hoping to get to. i asked the oncs on my health care team the same question - mri showed no evidence of disease going into bilateral mastectomy...

      they said they hope to get to that point in the future, but they also said that they are not there yet. surgery was highly highly recommended.

      and to be honest - i had fibrocystic breast disease - in other words - i had bumpy boobies. i didn't really want to be freaking out about every lump for what i hope will be decades... and, as an added perk, i really love being flat (i do miss my nipples though - i know - taboo topic - but it's the truth).

      lastly, the final pathology report was a huge source of optimism for me. i had a complete pathological response, which was not necessarily determinable from the scans because the scans cannot detect tiny things - like sub-millimeter. so, they can say no evidence of disease (ned) but not necessarily pathological complete response (pcr).

      also, i think with lumpectomy, rads are nearly always highly recommended. with mastectomy, it depends on several factors, including tumor size, location of the tumor, response to the chemo, and so on.

      i don't know if this helps you... but i sure hope so.
      that is TERRIFIC news that the cancer is responding to the cancer. i also had chemo BEFORE surgery, and that mental boost of knowing the poison is doing its job is HUGE HUGE HUGE!!!! made me feel like all that treatment was having a good result.

      best wishes,
      lee

      over 5 years ago
    • mspinkladybug's Avatar
      mspinkladybug

      Think of the musenx commericals the chemo is eviciting the cancer and the lumpectomey is condeming the house they lived in. cancer you are being foreclosed on!

      over 5 years ago

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