The bones, liver, lungs, and brain are the most likely areas for breast cancer to metastasize, so those are the areas I would be most concerned about.
Invasive (Infiltrating) Ductal Carcinoma Questions
Various nodes from CT scan
Asked by debsweb18 on Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Various nodes from CT scan
The last few years I've been pretty healthy except for the stupid BC. Not even colds. This winter was bad. I've had 3 colds since December. This last one that started about 5 weeks ago resulted in a horrible cough where I couldn't catch my breath. I'm still coughing up clear junk. After 2 trips to Urgent care and one to my primary care doc, I had a chest x-ray. No pneumonia, but a lung node showed up. The CT scan showed it to be benign although they can't rule out a tumor. I will be having a PET scan/CT scan (PET if ins will cover it) in 3 months. The CT scan also showed a possible thyroid nodule-I'll have an ultrasound tomorrow. It also showed calcifications in the liver and spleen likely granulomas and a low density mass in the liver that might be a cyst. My onc doc thinks the lung nodule is from valley fever so I'm being tested for that.
I know it's a lot of info, but does anyone have any information or comments about any of this? Anything to be concerned about?
7 Answers from the Community
Sounds as if you're having a tough time. I'm a trained Medical Librarian (retired). Librarians can't/shouldn't/don't (pick your verb) if they're good Librarians offer medical advice-we leave that to the medical professionals (even though we're the ones that train them how to search...;) --sorry had to get that in...;) Anyway, what we offer are referrals. In your case, it sounds like you've got your bases covered thoroughly medically (except for the possibility of a 2nd opinion (which never hurts). Other than that, you might benefit from talking to someone to help reduce your stress level since we all (cancer patients) have to live with some (underline some) level of uncertainty re reoccurrence. The Oncological Social workers at CancerCare are specially trained just to deal with folks like us-it's not like "regular therapy" (they don't care about your "toilet training" and no one is going to "blame your mother"...;))
I go to Memorial Sloan Kettering for treatment for my BC. I've a friend who's a Hodgkin's Lymphoma patient there too. She went to a support group where she learned an important phrase that she told me long before I had cancer in reference to something altogether different - "Don't die a thousand deaths!" meaning you can only die once so until you find out what that's going to be from it's useless to speculate. You might as well go about your business (as best you can) until you have all your information. When you do, then you can make the best decisions possible (whatever that will be-I'm sure that the Medical professionals on the site can discuss that with you more throughly and accurately than I), but I think the thing to do is to take notes when you have information from your docs to take notes about (and then put them away until you need them-keep them very handy).
In the meantime, distract yourself and live your life - even enjoy yourself. Go shopping, meet a friend for lunch, see a film, join a bookgroup. I've mentioned (in case there's no bookgroup near you), there's a virtual bookgroup called www.goodreads.com. You can list all your titles there, write reviews, find new titles, join small genre bookgroups, make virtual friends, get new titles and read others' reviews. This is especially good if you're not feeling up to par. If you're ok, try to get out of the house and do things socially even a little.
I know you're seeking medical advice and that's not what I gave you, but sometimes something useful comes from someone who answers your question a bit differently. I hope I've helped you. If I can help you in any way from research to other ways to spend your time (I've been a public librarian as well and have helped lots of people write research papers) don't hesitate to ask.
Just in case you were given an antibiotic; certain antibiotics cause swelling to the lymph nodes. If you were, there is a good possibility that this could be the source of the issue. Those antibiotics are Cephalosporins, Penicillin & Sulfonamides. If it is just a thyroid nodule, it will move when swallowing. In that same vicinity it could also be a thyroglossal cyst which is also in the mid line of the throat, and those will move when you stick out your tongue. There are also other possibilities for a non infectious cause of a solitary enlarged lymph node, for example: Rheumatoid Arthritis, Systemic Lupus Erthematosus, other diseases as well as other drugs including some cardiac meds or seizure meds, so not everything is malignancy related... although I understand your concern. Its best to let this ultrasound clarify the issue, and I hope my response will help you see that there are other reasons for the enlarged node other than cancer. Best of luck to you, Carm RN.
Not that this is a great answer to your concern, but I think because of our history with Breast Cancer and there are no real tests to determine reoccurrance unless we become ill, get pain or something to indicate needing further investigation, your doctors have done the prudent thing and listened to you. You had an illness and instead of just dismissing with a zpack or something they are looking into everything for you. With that said, getting CT/PET scans etc will expose many things, most people never knew they had. So I agree to enjoy your life everyday, be grateful for the wonderful medical attention you're getting and don't worry right now. I'm sure if you pulled anyone off the street right now and did a scan on them, you'd find weird things. So for every new test, new things are spotted and new questions arise and need to be checked out. Follow the course, you are doing the right things for right now. Sending you good healing thoughts! Deb
you haven't mentioned where the nodes are. I have had very small nodes come and go from my lungs for almost year now. A lot depends on where the nodes are and how big they are. Speak with your oncologist about your concerns. When my BC first metastasized last year the pathologist doing the biopsy looked at all my scans and mentioned the ones in lungs - they were very tiny and he said "there are nodes, and there are nodes. I don't think you need to worry about these" They were gone in my next set of scans. They were back again on Friday. most nodes are harmless.
I can only add that you seem to have all your bases coverd and that is great! This was a bad Winter for most of us. I had a bad cough that lasted so long too. Cancer Survivors do tend to worry more than the average patient. For me, I stop and pray for peace of mind and try hard not to ruin a perfectly good day worrying about tomorrow. You are doing all the right things, so try hard to get your rest and nutrition so you start healing. If anxiety becomes too much, be sure to speak to your doctor about it. I sure hope you get to feeling better soon, I wish you the best of health.
Thanks for all of the replies. I'm not stressing out too much. My oncologist ordered the thyroid ultrasound stat and was told the results would be ready in 2 hours. 2 1/2 days later, my dr's office was told by the imaging co. they were too busy to read the ultrasound. She told me she said some not so nice things to the imaging company-that the Dr. wants the results now. But still no results yet. I guess I'll be too busy to pay the bill and will be finding another imaging company :)
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