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Common Questions

  • Thumb avatar default

    I found a lump on the edge of my areola about the size of a small pea. Found it a 1mth ago thinking it was a swollen gland, but it hasn't gone away. I'm starting to get very nervous. Has anyone else ever felt a lump there & what did it feel like?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      2 comments
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Anonymous,

      Evelyn really said it all in her experience and advice. Most of these things turn out to be benign BUT there is no way to differentiate breast cancer and a benign condition without further diagnostic testing. Breast cancer is a sneaky, stealthy, disease, you need to contact your...

      more

      Anonymous,

      Evelyn really said it all in her experience and advice. Most of these things turn out to be benign BUT there is no way to differentiate breast cancer and a benign condition without further diagnostic testing. Breast cancer is a sneaky, stealthy, disease, you need to contact your doctor ASAP to get this checked out even if it is just for your peace of mind. Do not panic if your doctor requests multiple tests.... even at that, this does not mean you are going to be diagnosed with breast cancer. The younger you are, the more dense your breast tissue is. Sometimes that density masks being about to really identify the lump in question. It may go to an ultrasound and a biopsy.... again.... just because your doctor may order those tests, it is just because they need to identify what they are trying to see. All of my pals who have gone all the way up to a biopsy, not one of them ended up with breast cancer.... I was the only one. So many more of these lumpy-thingy's end up being benign. Hang in there but GO CALL YOUR DOCTOR NOW. Take care, Sharon

      3 comments
  • Carrie Bates Profile

    What does a cancerous breast look like on an ultra sound?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years 3 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Carrie,
      Sheesh... I was WRONG.... I found a great site that shows what breast cancer lesions look like on an ultrasound. SO sorry for the former post which I deleted and put this instead. http://www.ultrasound-images.com/breast.htm This site shows many different breast cancers. Keep...

      more

      Carrie,
      Sheesh... I was WRONG.... I found a great site that shows what breast cancer lesions look like on an ultrasound. SO sorry for the former post which I deleted and put this instead. http://www.ultrasound-images.com/breast.htm This site shows many different breast cancers. Keep scrolling down and you do not have to download any special "viewer". Take care, Sharon

      1 comment
    • Alice Klobukowski Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      It might help to google words like "breast cancer ultrasound." I tried this and many images showed up. I have very dense breasts. As I recall, the malignancy was dark and the rest of the breast appeared white.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    How long does it take for eyelashes and eyebrows to grow back after chemo? Does anything help them to grow?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Ali S Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I didn't lose my lashes and brows until I was almost done with chemo and they came out in waves. So they thinned a lot. I didn't notice the brows were coming out actually until they started growing back in b/c they were darker. My lashes were totally gone for a few weeks and since I was...

      more

      I didn't lose my lashes and brows until I was almost done with chemo and they came out in waves. So they thinned a lot. I didn't notice the brows were coming out actually until they started growing back in b/c they were darker. My lashes were totally gone for a few weeks and since I was finishing up with chemo, they came back shortly after. Both are back now (was done end of sept). My hair is about 4 inches long. Best wishes to you

      1 comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      My eyebrows and lashes became thin but I never completely lost them. Unfortunately, the lashes grew back, sparsely but my eyebrows.... not so much. Take care, Sharon

      8 comments
  • Ethel Brooks Profile

    If you have bilateral mastectomy, how long does it take to recover from the surgery? I hear about the tubes for drainage - how long are they kept in you? What are extenders if you have reconstruction surgery?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 0 Patient
    over 3 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Cheri Davis Johnson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      I had an unilateral mastectomy in 09. I also had a tissue expander. My drain tubes were in place for almost 2 weeks. They really were annoying! Didn't hurt, but just bothersome. I used a mastectomy cami and it was wonderful. It had a pouch in front to stuff the drain tubes in. I wore...

      more

      I had an unilateral mastectomy in 09. I also had a tissue expander. My drain tubes were in place for almost 2 weeks. They really were annoying! Didn't hurt, but just bothersome. I used a mastectomy cami and it was wonderful. It had a pouch in front to stuff the drain tubes in. I wore bagging, button down or zipper up tops and it was fine. The tissue expander is not fun though. It is a hard, implant like thing that has a magnet in it. The magnet is for the fills. The doc fills a syringe with saline and with the magnet guides the needle to the right spot and then he pokes your skin and into the expander. How long you have to have the expander in all depends on how big you want and how long it takes for you body to stretch. It didn't hurt at all except for the stretching of the muscles. My neck and back would ache for a few days. I was lucky, it only took 2 months before I was ready for the permanent implants. Over-all it isn't a horrible surgery as far as surgery goes. I have had worse for sure!! And I was only in the hospital 1 night too.

      10 comments
    • Pam Johnson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I had bilateral mastectomies 8 months ago. Stage I invasive but very small. Genetic testing negative. Sentinel Lymph node negative. Estrogen progesterone positive. Post menopausal. Age 56. I had tissue expanders for silicone gel implants for only 3 weeks before implant exchange. Drain tubes...

      more

      I had bilateral mastectomies 8 months ago. Stage I invasive but very small. Genetic testing negative. Sentinel Lymph node negative. Estrogen progesterone positive. Post menopausal. Age 56. I had tissue expanders for silicone gel implants for only 3 weeks before implant exchange. Drain tubes for almost the whole 3 weeks. They are annoying but not horrible. I wore my surgical bras and loose tops. Not a huge issue, really, but was ready for them to come out! The exchange surgery was quick and not a big deal. Went to opening home game of OU football 2 days after!! Made it thru half! Taking Arimidex ...no chemo needed. Doing fantastic'nnb

      12 comments
  • Aida Rivera Profile

    I was just diagnosed with breast cancer yesterday - the doc thinks it's stage 2 ... Do people die from this?? Why is everyone being so positive ?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 3 years 28 answers
    • View all 28 answers
    • Sarah Adams Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      People die from car crashes, cancer, or even a common cold (depending on their health). The reason people are so positive is because YOU are NOT going to die from this. You have to find the fight inside you & use the love & support around you to kick some cancer ass. Without a positive attitude,...

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      People die from car crashes, cancer, or even a common cold (depending on their health). The reason people are so positive is because YOU are NOT going to die from this. You have to find the fight inside you & use the love & support around you to kick some cancer ass. Without a positive attitude, the ass kicking is not as easy. Cancer & chemo may take your hair, possibly your toenails, & likely your breasts...but it doesn't have to take your life. You've got cancer...it doesn't have you.

      It's scary, I realize. And you have every right to go through phases of sadness or anger or whatever else you feel. But in the end, it comes down to a battle. And cancer is a tricky little bugger, but this is a battle you will win! If ever you need support or just want to vent, know that people like me are here for you, too. Sending love your way!

      25 comments
    • Eleanor Johnson Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I was told in 2003 that I had stage 3 Breast Cancer. Ten years later by the grace of God, i'm still here and doing great.

      2 comments
  • P C Profile

    Has anyone had a senoma form after surgery? How long does it continue to swell? (they drained it for me once)

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 0 Patient
    about 3 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Alison Johnson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      I had 2 seromas form after surgery, it took almost two years for them to resolve, and I was in quite a bit of pain during that time. It did get better after about 2 years, though a residual of the seromas remain. The best pain control came from wearing a lidoderm patch.

      3 comments
    • Coco Smith Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I developed a seroma quickly after surgery. I continued to feel pressure in the surgical scar. A few months after surgery I there was a visible swelling in the scare. I had an ultrasound that found the seroma. I then raised it with my Breast Surgeon who explained around 40% of women ended up with...

      more

      I developed a seroma quickly after surgery. I continued to feel pressure in the surgical scar. A few months after surgery I there was a visible swelling in the scare. I had an ultrasound that found the seroma. I then raised it with my Breast Surgeon who explained around 40% of women ended up with seromas - a pertinent medical fact I thought should have been mentioned prior to surgery but about which I will not make a fuss because he did a great job. The seroma was most uncomfortable around six months after surgery. I am 16 months post surgery now and it is uncomfortable occasionally only. I suspect this is hormonally and fluid dependent. I am normally not brilliant at healing after getting a cut, scratch etc so I have been pleasantly surprised at how little trouble the seroma is these days. I was offered a needle aspiration by my GP around the time the seroma was at its most intense however he warned me that having the fluid drawn out can make some seromas fill faster and bigger, so making it worse and also said any needle into flesh carries a risk of infection into my surgical scar. He felt most seromas spontaneously regress of their own accord especially those like mine that are not toughly encapsulated. Weighing up the pros and cons I elected not to aspirate.It has been shrinking away to almost nothing these past 6 months. I'm therefore glad I left it alone. My seroma was classified as small. If it was a large one and more incapacitating I may have made a different decision.

      2 comments
  • kim sosa Profile

    I'm about to start chemo how soon after your first shot of chemo does your hair fall out?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Kim, my Oncologist told me my hair would start to come out approx 14 days after my first chemo treatment. She was right on the mark! I had long hair & I noticed it coming out when I shampooed. It's a very personal choice but I decided to have my boyfriend give me a "buzz" cut when I first...

      more

      Hi Kim, my Oncologist told me my hair would start to come out approx 14 days after my first chemo treatment. She was right on the mark! I had long hair & I noticed it coming out when I shampooed. It's a very personal choice but I decided to have my boyfriend give me a "buzz" cut when I first noticed it really coming out. It was easier for me. I felt it would be too difficult seeing it come out in clumps. I felt more empowered that way. Losing my hair wasn't easy...but I must say the fear and dread of losing it was harder than it actually being gone. I wore scarves a lot. And sometimes wigs. I just went "commando" around the house. Some women are comfortable going bald all the time & I think that's beautiful. Just put on some big hoop earrings & "work it". As you can see in my photo...my hair is coming back just as thick as it was before (just a little grayer but I haven't seen my natural hair color in years ;). There are beautiful scarves. My fav one I received through Good Wishes. Their website is Goodwishesscarves.org. They are lovely and are given free of charge. What a wonderful organization!

      2 comments
    • Nikol Vega Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I started to lose my hair a few hours after my 2nd treatment. I asked my husband to shave my head, with tears in both our eyes he did it. I love my bald head, the hair has started to grow now :)

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I had a mammogram last week that read normal, but I have a palpable lump in the 11 o'clock area in the outer quadrant. It's about the size of a grape, non movable, firm, and tender. I have a VERY strong family history of various cancers. What next?

    Asked by anonymous

    over 2 years 10 answers
    • View all 10 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Amy, while mammograms detect a good deal of lumps...there are too many that are missed. I was always very diligent in having my mammograms with ultrasounds as well. Due to micro calcifications found, I was having one every six months so they could "monitor" any changes. Five months after my...

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      Hi Amy, while mammograms detect a good deal of lumps...there are too many that are missed. I was always very diligent in having my mammograms with ultrasounds as well. Due to micro calcifications found, I was having one every six months so they could "monitor" any changes. Five months after my last "clean" mammo....I found my lump. It was firm, my breast was swollen, itchy, and my nipple had inverted. I ended up having a biopsy and was diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Cancer. After all my testing was completed I was told I was in stage 3C. My cancer should have been detected so much sooner. Like Sharon, it was missed. You're welcome to read my profile story. While most lumps end up being benign....you always want to get each lump tested thoroughly! I agree with asking for an MRI. Then additional testing if needed. We must be proactive with our health and make our doctors listen!! Hugs Amy & keep us posted.

      Comment
    • Tiffani Warila Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Go back to your doc and ask for an ultrasound and/or MRI followed by a biopsy if needed and if they say no, go for a second opinion. If you are not satisfied with the answers you get don't stop till you are. It's your life! Best of luck, I wish you the best!

      Comment
  • Lindzey Ward Profile

    Does it hurt after having a mastectomy?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 3 years 11 answers
    • View all 11 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      everyone is different, everyone feels and handles discomfort or pain in a different way; I had very little pain for a couple of weeks after my double mastectomy, other than a bit of a pulling sensation when I bent over forwards, but after the steri-strips came off, 20 days after surgery, I had...

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      everyone is different, everyone feels and handles discomfort or pain in a different way; I had very little pain for a couple of weeks after my double mastectomy, other than a bit of a pulling sensation when I bent over forwards, but after the steri-strips came off, 20 days after surgery, I had some swelling and fluid under my arms and a little under the ends of the incisions, and that was annoying, maybe a 2 on the pain scale; also I felt a little bit like the way you do when you run into the end of a door at night ... more a healing-bruise feeling rather that an acute pain .. the bruised feeling has mostly disappeared but the underarm swelling is still partly there, six weeks after surgery; mostly that is fatty tissue that may gradually dissipate as I lose weight (crossing fingers)

      Comment
    • Surf  Momma Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I would like to know also

      1 comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    I am wondering if anyone has had persistent fatigue after breast cancer, radiation and taking Tamoxifen 20 mg? I am 3 years out and have to nap every day! I sometimes feel like the radiation destroyed me!

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 3 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Buster OBuster Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      7 month survivor, radiation, no chemo, taking arimidex. Fatigue has been the worse side effect.

      4 comments
    • marcie nance Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I am on my third year after chemo and radiation. Had stage 2 BC. I am on tamoxifen and Effexor. let me tell you the Effexor gives me more energy than I can handle. Had to get the dosage corrected a couple of times. I highly recommend it if you are tired all the time. Don't even feel like I went...

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      I am on my third year after chemo and radiation. Had stage 2 BC. I am on tamoxifen and Effexor. let me tell you the Effexor gives me more energy than I can handle. Had to get the dosage corrected a couple of times. I highly recommend it if you are tired all the time. Don't even feel like I went through radiation or chemo. I am blessed with the best oncologist in Georgia !

      4 comments
  • Kristine Fonseca Profile

    Has anyone had DIEP (using belly fat) breast reconstruction that can share their story of the surgery and recovery?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    almost 3 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Erin Ely Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      My Mom had a double mastectomy with a DIEP flap repair on Feb 1st. It was a 10 hour surgery in all. She spent one night in ICU and the three nights on the regular floor. She has had very little pain, the six drains bothered her more than anything. She does fatigue easily but she is getting...

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      My Mom had a double mastectomy with a DIEP flap repair on Feb 1st. It was a 10 hour surgery in all. She spent one night in ICU and the three nights on the regular floor. She has had very little pain, the six drains bothered her more than anything. She does fatigue easily but she is getting stronger everyday. They did not have to use any muscle for the flap so she maintains her abdominal strength. Also, she has no lymphadema due to only two nodes removed during the sentinel node biopsy. At her fist post op visit, five of the six drains were removed. I encourage women to consider this surgery if given the option. Yes, the surgery is long, but she will look amazing and be cancer free when all is said and done. I am Han RN and have been very pleased with her healing and progress. If anyone has any questions, feel free to contact me.

      3 comments
    • dorothy harder Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I havent had my reconstruction yet but I was thinking about this procedure. Because its all your own tissue. I just am hesitant cuz it seems you are getting so chopped up. But in the long run you'll have less infections or complications--so I'm told.

      7 comments
  • Thumb avatar default

    Can we donate blood if we had chemo and radiation?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 2 years 13 answers
    • View all 13 answers
    • Tiffani Warila Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      My oncologist said I could never donate blood because I had chemo

      Comment
    • Nancy Snowden Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I was told no by my local blood bank. I had radiation and was told I had to wait five years.

      1 comment
  • Brenda Jackson Profile

    l had lumpectomy on 9/4. No drain tubes. Has anyone else experienced hearing liquid swishing in their breast? How long does this last? Do I need to be alarmed? I have no pain or fever.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    about 2 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • susan Richmond Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      They had to drain fluid off mine ! It wasn't bad and it felt sooo much better afterwards!!

      Comment
    • Tiffani Warila Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had a swishing noise after my 2nd lumpectomy/axillary node dissection. It sounded like I had a 1/2 filled water bottle under my arm! I did not have drains and I was panicking and freaking out. I had surgery on a thursday and called that next Monday morning. I went in and my surgeon said it...

      more

      I had a swishing noise after my 2nd lumpectomy/axillary node dissection. It sounded like I had a 1/2 filled water bottle under my arm! I did not have drains and I was panicking and freaking out. I had surgery on a thursday and called that next Monday morning. I went in and my surgeon said it looked fine, and that it would drain back into my body over time (which it did). He said he could aspirate it, but it would just cause more fluid to build up. It is scary to hear the swishing - I heard it mostly web I laid down, but it does go away, mine took about a week I think.

      1 comment
  • Nicole Adams Profile

    Does a mammogram hurt?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 3 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I am always concerned when a question is asked about pain levels associated with ANY procedure related to breast cancer and the responses are uniformally rosy or at least, minimal when it comes to reporting pain.
      The real answer is - the pain levels depend on a host of factors and it can vary...

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      I am always concerned when a question is asked about pain levels associated with ANY procedure related to breast cancer and the responses are uniformally rosy or at least, minimal when it comes to reporting pain.
      The real answer is - the pain levels depend on a host of factors and it can vary enormously from one women to another. For example, if you have dense breasts and a history of breast pain and sensitivity to having your breasts touched heavily or manipulated, as well as strong hormone related breast pain, then it is feasible that you will find mammograms painful. Further, scientists have recently found that sensitivity to pain is genetically based, so if you are part of the population who have the pain sensitivity genetic make up [you will know who you are as you will have a history of people assuring you X or Y does not hurt much but when you have it, the roof of yor head blasts off with pain - thats when they start calling you a wimp or pathetic or whatever] then your experience more pain than those without the gene.

      I am so sick of the ability to withstand pain being portrayed as a moral virtue when in fact a lot of it is the luck of the draw with genetics.

      I also regularly run into women who actively avoid much needed mammograms because of the pain. I then see scientific studies where resources are poured into answering the question "wh do women avoid having mammograms even when they are free?" One reason they regulary fail to cite is the pain. Yes, pain NOT discomfort.

      I am writing this because I am a breast cancer survivor who not only finds mammograms very painful, I am also one of the 40% of women who developed breast seroma following surgery. A seroma is a fluid filled sac in the breast which in my case although smallish, is also very painful. I have to hold what remains of my right breast if the car goes over a speed hump as breast jiggling is painful.

      I am supposed to have my first post surgery annual mammogram in about 8 weeks.The idea of my scarred breast with a seroma, which already experienced bad pain on mammograms without these features scares the dickens out of me. I had an MRI [which I paid for myself] late last year - zero radiation, zero pain and a far more sensitive test for invasive ie., the most dangerous kind of breast cancer. In my case, due to dense breasts, mammograms are also only around 60% accurate albeit better at detecting non-invasive forms of breast cancer.
      I have now decided I am not going to put up with the pain from mammograms any more. I have therefore written to the centre that will be conducting my annual mammograms for the rest of my life and said I do not consent to having any mammograms done in future without adequate pain relief. I know from experience a local anesthetic injection - which I tolerate well - completely ends all pain. I am also willing to consider trialling a numbing agent like EMLA cream applied an ahour or two before the mammogram and wrapped in saran and/or breathing through one of those pain relief tubes ambulances and paramedics carry with them.
      If anyone reading this has any concerns about the pain involved in having your breasts - with or without surgeyr scars and seromas - squeeed and flattened to one inch thick - then I urge you to contact the mammogaphic service ahead of your appiontment and put it in writing that your consent to the procedure in contingent on being provided with a decent choice of pain relief.
      Do not be held to the standard of the most stoic or tough patient and refuse to be emotionally blackmailed into shutting up and suffering needlessly. The pain relief options I have llisted are cheap, simple and used every minute of every day in all sorts of medical settings, so the side effects are minimal.
      Don't let them get away with hurting you if avoiding being subject to pain is a priority to you. By all means if avoiding or embracing physical pain is acceptable to you - then go ahead without pain relief.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      A mammogram is like a "walk in the park" to me compared to getting a pap smear! I had a baseline mammogram done when I was 35 just because I thought it was important to get a screening done at that age. I then began to have a yearly mammogram at age 40.
      I agree with Ms. Jo Ann in that the...

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      A mammogram is like a "walk in the park" to me compared to getting a pap smear! I had a baseline mammogram done when I was 35 just because I thought it was important to get a screening done at that age. I then began to have a yearly mammogram at age 40.
      I agree with Ms. Jo Ann in that the pressure put on the breast is minimal and it is only for a few seconds. It is tolerable and the discomfort is worth getting a clean bill of health!
      "Get your Mammies Grammed Girls!!!" : )

      1 comment
  • Luna Maj Profile

    I'm scared to get cancer, because its such a terrible sickness. I get so emotionel when I watch other people with cancer, what can I do to be less scared?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 2 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Maybe not post this on here because we are all battling cancer and don't have time to help u feel better for nothing.

      1 comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Luna,
      What in the cat-hair are you doing on this site??? Since you are here, I was just like you, terrified I would get breast cancer. HEY! I have had breast cancer, when I found out, I nearly died just from the realization. When it comes to cancer, there is very little we can do except to...

      more

      Luna,
      What in the cat-hair are you doing on this site??? Since you are here, I was just like you, terrified I would get breast cancer. HEY! I have had breast cancer, when I found out, I nearly died just from the realization. When it comes to cancer, there is very little we can do except to live the cleanest life we can. I did that and STILL got breast cancer. If you ever find you develop breast cancer, you pretty much reach down into your sagging socks and find the courage. I had some bad days during my treatment but it usually isn't as horrific as you are imagining. You do not spend your days and nights living on the bathroom floor because you are so sick. Other than a very few days I took care of 7 horses, went to Christmas parties, went grocery shopping, made dinner, laundry, etc. An absoutely imperative thing you can can do is religiously, perform your monthly self breast checks (that is how I found my cancer) get a yearly mammogram (if you of the age) and it you find something, get it checked. The deal with breast cancer is finding it at an early stage. IF you find a lump that is NOT NORMAL for you, march yourself into your doctor's office and get it checked. Be pro-active. Don't let the fear of the disease kill you. Some women find a lump, make excuses and don't get it checked until the disease ends up in a late stage. Treatment is much more difficult then. One thing breast cancer actually did FOR ME was make me a much stronger, better person. I have to actually thank God for allowing me to have breast cancer. It is not something I would wish on anyone but IF you have the misfortune of having this disease, you find you are a much stronger woman. Remember, most lumps you find are benign. For heaven's sake, don't keep feeding your fear being on this site. Every single woman on this site is a warrior. They are making the best of their battle. We help each other make it through until their treatments are done and they get back to their normal life. Breast cancer is not a death sentence... it is something that happens to some women during their life. We are strong, we deal with it, and go on. If it happened to you.... you would understand what I am talking about. Please don't waste any more time with the fear. Like every woman here.... you would face it, go through the experience and go on with your life. You would find you have the strength of an army.
      Now PLEASE go out and live your life, do your monthly breast checks, and DO NOT torture yourself reading of these struggles. We are fine, we will conquer.
      Take care, Sharon

      3 comments
  • Anna Gregorich Profile

    I went and had a Mamogram and Ultrasound,they said that i have CYST in both breast and that i have to go back in 6mth's and get them checked out.They said the name of the cyst i cant remeber it..is this calling for any CONCERN????

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 3 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Anna,
      Do not be afraid to call and speak to the radiologist. They can answer your questions, and explain more about the cysts. This is your body, your peace of mind and your life. Just tell them you are worried and need to have more information about these cysts. Ask the doctor if you should...

      more

      Anna,
      Do not be afraid to call and speak to the radiologist. They can answer your questions, and explain more about the cysts. This is your body, your peace of mind and your life. Just tell them you are worried and need to have more information about these cysts. Ask the doctor if you should have an ultrasound. This will help tell more about the consistancy of the cysts. You are your best health advocate! Do not feel you have to worry for months... call the doctor first thing Monday morning. Good luck and keep us posted.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Oops.... just read you had an ultrasound. THAT's GREAT! Call the doctor Monday morning and talk to him or her and have them explain the cysts. It is NOT uncommon to have a cyst or cysts in your breast. Take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • Catherine Nodurft Profile

    Is there an expected phase of depression after a lumpectomy or mastectomy? During or after chemo?

    Asked by anonymous

    Family Member or Loved One
    over 3 years 14 answers
    • View all 14 answers
    • sandy glisman Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I'm only four weeks out of surgery but i already know i will never be the same. Not physically or emotionally!! It forever changes you but not all bad. Alot of wonderful things have come from this!! I have learned to be more patient, not sweat the small things, appreciate things i took for...

      more

      I'm only four weeks out of surgery but i already know i will never be the same. Not physically or emotionally!! It forever changes you but not all bad. Alot of wonderful things have come from this!! I have learned to be more patient, not sweat the small things, appreciate things i took for granted, found kindness where i never knew it existed, and met amazing courageous ladies, like all of you!! I get depressed, but i try to focus on the good things that have happened. We just all have to find and accept our new "normal" We can do it, with each others help!!! Us pink ladies ROCK!!! Stay strong and focused!!

      11 comments
    • Lisa Cefaratti Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      I am a BC survivor. Diagnosed in August of 2009. Had single total mastectomy followed by 4 rounds of chemo. As I was going through everything I was sort-of in a holding pattern. Just doing everything day by day as I needed to, but once the chemo was finished I felt this overwhelming sense of...

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      I am a BC survivor. Diagnosed in August of 2009. Had single total mastectomy followed by 4 rounds of chemo. As I was going through everything I was sort-of in a holding pattern. Just doing everything day by day as I needed to, but once the chemo was finished I felt this overwhelming sense of depression. I felt lost, left at the side of the road. There were no more treatment appointments, doctor's appointments went to every 3 months then every 6, and I really felt like...ok, it's time for me to pick up the pieces now. But I didn't know how. I didn't know how to feel, what to feel, or what to do for that matter. On top of all that, my body decided that it was time to launch me into menopause. Now, almost 2 years later, the depression has pretty much subsided, thanks to taking walks with my dogs. I do have a very bad case of extreme exhaustion, which has been very challenging. I can sleep from 10pm until 4 or 5pm the next day sometimes. I find I have to force myself to get up, and even then, my legs feel like they are lead. I am back to work part-time, and it is getting a little easier as time goes on. I found that most of my depression came from guilt. I felt that I should be able to bounce right back into my life. I don't think after breast cancer you ever bounce back into your life. For me, anyway, it's a somewhat "different" life. You look at things differently, you will notice that many things don't matter anymore...little things, that shouldn't have mattered before. You will also see people in a different light. I noticed the triteness in many people. People who take their lives for granted, and are focused on what they have and are going to get, rather than if they are kind to other people, and accepting of other's mistakes. Anyways, I digress. I guess in a nutshell, you very well may experience depression, but there are a whole lot of other emotions you will also experience. Just learn to take the bad with the good, and know that it WILL get better! Good luck to all you women who have yet to start on this journey. It really is a journey of the body, mind, and spirit. So, be good to all of them, because this journey really never ends...you will always be a survivor!

      8 comments
  • Leann Moeller Profile

    I hear you can't have blood drawn or shots in the arms after a mastectomy. Is that true? If so, what do you to to have blood drawn and any shots like a flu shot? I'm having a double mastectomy in mid- May so I'm worried about this. Please help.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      You're welcome Leann. I enjoy helping when I can. Thank so much for the nice compliment. :). I remember when I was newly diagnosed. I was so scared & it helped me tremendously by talking to other women who had been in my shoes. :). I've come a long way and certainly didn't do it alone. :)...

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      You're welcome Leann. I enjoy helping when I can. Thank so much for the nice compliment. :). I remember when I was newly diagnosed. I was so scared & it helped me tremendously by talking to other women who had been in my shoes. :). I've come a long way and certainly didn't do it alone. :) Yes, you're more than welcome to e-mail me at luvshermusic47@gmail.com. And/or Facebook as well.

      Comment
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Leann...that's only if you have lymph nodes removed. For instance...I had a double mastectomy last Oct. They only removed lymph nodes from my right side. Due to this, I can't have my blood pressure taken, blood drawn etc. on my right arm. However i can have these procedures done on my left...

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      Hi Leann...that's only if you have lymph nodes removed. For instance...I had a double mastectomy last Oct. They only removed lymph nodes from my right side. Due to this, I can't have my blood pressure taken, blood drawn etc. on my right arm. However i can have these procedures done on my left arm. This is to decrease the risk of you having lymphedema. There is no cure for lymphedema but you can do things to try & prevent it such as the things I mentioned, & many other things. :)

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    i have been following Amy Robach and i find it strange she still has all of her hair after 3 treatments on her way to the 4th? makes it look as if its easy and its not. i think we all lost ours by second treatment right?

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    10 months 22 answers
    • View all 22 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      It really bugs me to watch how her hair is still there since December 2013 treatments. Its been 2 1/2 months and unless she glues her wig onto her scalp , I do believe she still has her hair and that bugs me. The hair around her ears is attached to her scalp and wigs are not like that. Within a...

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      It really bugs me to watch how her hair is still there since December 2013 treatments. Its been 2 1/2 months and unless she glues her wig onto her scalp , I do believe she still has her hair and that bugs me. The hair around her ears is attached to her scalp and wigs are not like that. Within a month the hair is falling out at an unbelievable rate that you must buzz it off. Its the most devastating feeling. Interested in seeing if it changes.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Stage 3C Patient

      My wig looked so good nobody could tell it was a wig. So many people never knew I had BC. Now that I have curly short post chemo hair people don't recognize me ;) Could be the same for her.

      Comment
  • maria stuccio Profile

    Has anyone had swelling of the feet/ankle/legs during and after chemo? I'm a month out from last chemo and have excessive legs swelling. Doctor checked for clots and gave me water pills but nothing seems to be working.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • sabrina brown Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      I had leg swelling at the end also, put your feet up and stay strong it's almost over!

      Comment
    • melissa casey Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Yes! It became worse and worse. Weight fluctuates seven pounds or more within hours. I will have my sixth and last treatment this Wednesday. From the fourth on, I started to swell up in the second week of recovery. Steroids helped calm my body down. Using Lasix doesn't seem to help very much. I...

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      Yes! It became worse and worse. Weight fluctuates seven pounds or more within hours. I will have my sixth and last treatment this Wednesday. From the fourth on, I started to swell up in the second week of recovery. Steroids helped calm my body down. Using Lasix doesn't seem to help very much. I feel like a memory foam mattress.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Has anyone taken any natural alternatives to tamoxifen? If so what are they? I have read about estriol and progesterone. Info needed! Seriously stressed!!! I am estrogen positive and looking for non-synthetic options to block estrogen. Please help!!!

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 2 years 13 answers
    • View all 13 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Agree with Sharon. Never put hormones in your precious body.No experience with tamoxifen but have a friend with Stage 3C operative Ductal Invasive who was given tamoxifen and other hormone suppressors after chemo, surgery and radiation. She's an 8 year survivor who had a very poor prognosis. Had...

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      Agree with Sharon. Never put hormones in your precious body.No experience with tamoxifen but have a friend with Stage 3C operative Ductal Invasive who was given tamoxifen and other hormone suppressors after chemo, surgery and radiation. She's an 8 year survivor who had a very poor prognosis. Had 4 children at home(nursing her little boy, thought she had mastitis-only 42 years old) when she was diagnosed. At her 5th year of cancer free life, she went through reconstructive surgery like a trooper for personal reasons. She chases her 9 year old boy to all his activities and is watching her 3 girls journey through college. She told me last week when I talked to her about the side effects I had with Femara, that all of that was worth it for her to see her children grow up and lead a full life. I say all of this to encourage you to listen to your doctors and try to boot fear in the rear. Cancer is unforgiving and will take up residence in every receptor that is not closed for business. Take heart and care. Jo

      5 comments
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      First, I agree with where you are headed regarding natural alternatives. Second, I can tell you what I've researched and what I've decided to do or not do; but you must make decisions for yourself, what you are comfortable with, and do lots of research. I am 62, I had stage 1 invasive ductal...

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      First, I agree with where you are headed regarding natural alternatives. Second, I can tell you what I've researched and what I've decided to do or not do; but you must make decisions for yourself, what you are comfortable with, and do lots of research. I am 62, I had stage 1 invasive ductal carcinoma, 1.1 cm, estrogen/progesterone positive, no HER2. No body can tell us what caused our breast cancer, no one knows for sure. Odds can be built against us from what we were/are exposed to all our lives; what we've eaten/inhaled, no pregancies, birth control pills, synthetic hormones (Prempro), diet, cumulative radiation from xrays (mamograms, injuries, dentist, etc.) the list goes on. There also is no doctor who will tell you there is a cancer "cure." All we can do for ourselves are things to hopefully prevent proliferation. I am convinced mammograms made my tumor "invasive." With the mega pressure of mammograms, it could have very likely burst a tumor that would otherwise not have been invasive. I had a lumpectomy (because it was invasive) and one 55 minute intraoperative radiation treatment because I refused the standard 6 weeks, five days a week of rads. I also refused any unnatural followup treatment, i.e., chemo, Tamoxifen/Arimidex. I refuse to put any more "synthetic" pills or medicine in my body. Please research as conventional/oncologists will not tell you about anything natural. I take numerous vitamins, supplements and herbs. Oncologists push conventional rads, chemo, Tamoxifen/Arimidex because they are controlled by big pharma, as are the hospitals they are associated with, and they have nothing else to offer. For example, Tamoxifen, it's only given for five years--why?--because it stops working after five years. All Tamoxifen does is sit on the estradiol receptors to prevent cancer proliferation. However, after five years, and you stop Tamoxifen, the cancer will proliferate if it's prone to do so. So you are "perhaps" just avoiding the inevitable, maybe, maybe not--doctors don't guarantee anything. Has anyone said what all the side effects could be; problems with high blood pressure meds, cataracts, corneal scarring, retinal changes, endometrial cancer, uterine cancer, blood clots, hot flashes, headaches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, vaginal dryness/itching, vaginal irritation/rash, muscle/joint ache, etc. You are also not told ALL side effects of standard radiation treatment, and don't forget chemo. I prefer and am more comfortable with balancing natural bioidentical hormones. Run from any person or doctor who tells you natural bioidentical hormones are no different that synthetic. Big pharma cannot patent "natural" medication, therefore, doctors do not learn about bioidentical hormones or recommend them. Do not blindly do whatever the conventional doctors tell you, research everything first. I had to decide; do I want to extend my life by several years (maybe) but live it with the side effects of conventional treatment. Since there are no guarantees either way, I chose not to put any more toxins in my system. Please make decisions for yourself but do the research. I have done a lot of research, too much to go into everything here, but I can recommend some starter research for you if you wish; www.mercola.com, read Susan Somers "The Sexy Years" and John R. Lee's "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer." I am sure I will get a lot of flack on this website because I have gone against the grain/conventional treatment. I will take the flack as long as they have done tons of research regarding natural alternatives. Yes, there are quacks out there with quack treatments, but there are numerous legitimate "natural" treatments--no absolute cures, but conventional treatment is not an absolute cure either. I don't know your stage of breast cancer, your age, or anything about your personal condition. You may choose to do Tamoxifen, rads, chemo, etc., I absolutely am NOT telling what you should do, but do the research with whatever treatment to choose to go with. Sincerely, L

      6 comments
  • Kristine Fonseca Profile

    What is the survival rate of Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Stage 2, Triple Negative and what are the side effects of TAC Chemo treatments?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    almost 3 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • anonymous Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2006

      Hi Kristine I honestly don't have a definite answer for you regarding the survival rate . I have researched and read conflicting answers. I do know that it depends on the type of breast cancer that you are diagnosed with as well as other issues. However, I hope that you are encouraged by...

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      Hi Kristine I honestly don't have a definite answer for you regarding the survival rate . I have researched and read conflicting answers. I do know that it depends on the type of breast cancer that you are diagnosed with as well as other issues. However, I hope that you are encouraged by knowing that I celebrated my 5th year of being cancer free on 8/23/11. I was diagnosed with Triple Negative, Invasive and Stage 2A. I was 52 Yrs old when diagnosed and I am now 58.
      I know that God is in control of all our lives therefore I live my life a day at a time staying focused on what is most important to me and what makes me happy no matter what and that is my family and God. Follow your Dr's Advice:) always have hope, faith and love.
      Stay encouraged and enjoy each and everyday!
      Your Sister of Hope!!

      5 comments
    • Cindy Rathbun Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Don't get caught up in numbers for "survival rate." If those statistics were important, we might never drive a car! I was diagnosed w Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Triple Neg in Jan 2008. I had chemo, lumpectomy, and radiation. This past March 2011, I felt a lump in the same...

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      Don't get caught up in numbers for "survival rate." If those statistics were important, we might never drive a car! I was diagnosed w Stage 2 Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Triple Neg in Jan 2008. I had chemo, lumpectomy, and radiation. This past March 2011, I felt a lump in the same breast...diagnosed DCIS, again TNBC. I elected to have bilateral mastectomy and immediate reconstruction. Post op pathology showed 2 additional types of micro malignant cells waiting to happen. I feel totally at peace with my decision. Life is good. I am back to playing golf and exercising. Yoga and meditation are high priority for staying focused and strong. The path to wellness starts in our own minds...know it, believe it, and you will be better than ever!

      3 comments
  • Morgan Moser Profile

    When should I shave my head. I haven't even started chemo yet.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 2 years 15 answers
    • View all 15 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Morgan,
      My oncologist told me two week after my first treatment of A/C. He was right! I waited until it started coming out before I shaved my head. I wouldn't jump-the-gun until after you get a hank of hair falling out. It is just a lousy traumatic event. BIg hugs, and hang in there, Sharon

      Comment
    • Francine Williams Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      My husband and I shaved my hair a week after I started treatment because it began to fall I cryed every day from it shedding and could not deal with it.

      Comment
  • Brooke Lancaster Profile

    Did anyone gain weight during chemo from steroids? Did it come off naturally after treatments were done? I just finished chemo and I have put on weight since I started.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2A Patient
    almost 3 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Brooke, wow I can really relate. I began chemo in May, had my mastectomy, then more chemo. I have three more to go and I have gained approx. 15 lbs. I asked my Oncologist about the weight gain and she said it was normal and due to the steroids. She also said the weight would come off after my...

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      Hi Brooke, wow I can really relate. I began chemo in May, had my mastectomy, then more chemo. I have three more to go and I have gained approx. 15 lbs. I asked my Oncologist about the weight gain and she said it was normal and due to the steroids. She also said the weight would come off after my treatments are finished. :)

      2 comments
    • anonymous Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2006

      Greetings Brooke, I gained 30 pounds while going through my 16 chemo treatments as a result of being on steroids. I was very discouraged by the weight gain. However, my oncologist constantly told me that I would lose the weigh after completing my treatments. Two (2) months after finishing my...

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      Greetings Brooke, I gained 30 pounds while going through my 16 chemo treatments as a result of being on steroids. I was very discouraged by the weight gain. However, my oncologist constantly told me that I would lose the weigh after completing my treatments. Two (2) months after finishing my treatments she was so right. I lost 25 of the 30 pounds and I have to admit I was not exercising on a regular basis nor was I dieting. I honestly was eating more since my taste buds returned and I could enjoy my food. Stay encouraged and be assured that you will lose those extra pounds once you complete your treatments. Knowing what I now know I regret that I didn't exercise on a regular basis after completing my treatments I proably would have lost the entire 30 pounds sooner than I did.
      Love and Blessings
      Your Sister Of Hope!!!!!

      Comment
  • anonymous Profile

    Has anyone else used Latisse to regrow lashes after chemo? I have been using it with really good results, lashes are thicker, longer and darker than before chemo.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 2 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Erin Timlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      My eyelashes came back pretty well but they are not as long as they used to be. Thickness is fine but not length. Maybe I'll give it a whirl! Thanks for the suggestion.

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      I have heard all good, and successful stories with this product. Sounds like it is well worth investing in it. Good luck to all! Sharon

      Comment

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