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Common Questions

  • Diane Oberholtzer Profile

    What is inflammatory breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 9 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Kris Shortridge Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I was dx with inflammatory breast cancer in July 2008. It is always stage 3 or 4. The symptoms are different from breast cancer. It looks

      15 comments
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Family Member or Loved One

      Inflammatory breast cancer is an aggressive form of cancer that is usually Stage 3 or 4. The videos under "Learn" on this site have some great info about types of breast cancer, including inflammatory breast cancer. Here's the direct link: http://beyondtheshock.com/learn#5/7

      Comment
  • Jonna Diaz Profile

    I am starting AC chemo this Thursday. How do you feel during the administration of the chemo? Does it make you feel strange or does it burn or anything? I'm pretty anxious about it.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 3A Patient
    almost 8 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Hi Jonna, so sorry you joined the club. I too, had 4 rounds of AC and felt nothing while it was being administered. They put something in my recipe that always made me take a nap. The infusion room is a place you thought would be sad and depressing. I was never in there when it wasn't...

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      Hi Jonna, so sorry you joined the club. I too, had 4 rounds of AC and felt nothing while it was being administered. They put something in my recipe that always made me take a nap. The infusion room is a place you thought would be sad and depressing. I was never in there when it wasn't somewhat of a party atmosphere. Always goodies to eat, and we were --all in the trenches-- together so there was a very funny.... "gallows" type of humor. I never dreaded my treatments because the sooner I completed then the sooner, I would get back to my real life. My hair started to drop out 2 weeks after my first treatment. I shaved my head with my horse clippers! My taste changed.... my favorite stuff... coffee and chocolate really tasted awful. I was NEVER nauseated. I felt like I had the flu.... achey 3 to 4 days after the treatment. After about the 8th day, I started feeling better and my life return to good. I had treatments every 3 weeks. All in all, it was just a process I had to go through. I stayed very positive and laughed.... a lot. You stand up to it, and march through the process. I can't predict how you are going to feel because we are all different. You WILL feel tired and you will have less energy but this will all pass. Be an advocate for yourself. If something doesn't seem right QUESTION IT!!!! I was always polite, never cranky with the staff BUT.... if I had a question, it better get answered. Hang in there.... you WILL get through this. We are all sisters in this crazy way. Please keep in touch with us.... we really want to help you through this. Take care, Sharon

      6 comments
    • Lisa W Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      Hi Joanna! I started my first chemo April 6 of this yr. it's hard to believe I have already completed 10! I did 4 treatments of the AC ( every other wk) then started the T (taxol) portion, which I have completed 6. I have 6 more to go. I'm on weekly treatments on T. ...... As for how it feels....

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      Hi Joanna! I started my first chemo April 6 of this yr. it's hard to believe I have already completed 10! I did 4 treatments of the AC ( every other wk) then started the T (taxol) portion, which I have completed 6. I have 6 more to go. I'm on weekly treatments on T. ...... As for how it feels. What I have found on this board is that everyone is different...so my experience might be how u will feel......I have a "port" which I use a cream an hr before treatment. Helps numb the area. Then when Im at the hospital for chemo, I still have them use the cooking spray. Lol! Yes, just in case. ;) it's very quick and I don't feel it when the insert my IV. ;) my nurse then starts my pre-meds. It's about 4 bags of IV meds( benedryl, atavan, pepcid, anti-nausea med) then the A (red bag) then the C (clear). All of which for me were done through my IV. I did geek sleepy once my benedryl was given. my process was about 4hrs total once I got into my chair. I was so anxious my first time I thought I was going to pass out. But, I did fine and now I look "forward" to going. Only because I can say YES! I'm 1 more closer to being done. ;) I will say...drink lots while u are there, yes, the "red" chemo "A" does make u pee red. I drank so much while I was there I was also peeing alot too. Lol! When I was done w:treatment, I also had the nuelasta shot the day after. My dr suggested taking Claritin to help w/any bone pain I might have. I did, just as a precaution and did well. I won't go into side effects- as everyone is different. Ive been extremely lucky- I'm doing well. Staying positive really helps! Well...all in all...take each treatment 1 at a time. Listen to your body. You will have good and bad days. That's okay. I wish you the best! Keep fighting like girl...prayers and hugs to you my sister!!!! ;/)

      Comment
  • Susie Que Profile

    Can anyone offer insight on tamoxifen vs hysterectomy or hormone therapy and aromatase inhibitors?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 2B Patient
    over 7 years 2 answers
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Estrogen is produced by your adrenal gland and ovaries do even with a hysterectomy a form of estrogen blocker will be prescribed if you had a estrogen positive tumor. Tamoxifen is usually prescribed for women who have not gone through menopause. Femara and arimidex are usually prescribed for...

      more

      Estrogen is produced by your adrenal gland and ovaries do even with a hysterectomy a form of estrogen blocker will be prescribed if you had a estrogen positive tumor. Tamoxifen is usually prescribed for women who have not gone through menopause. Femara and arimidex are usually prescribed for women who are menopausal

      4 comments
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      If you have hormone positive cancer, you need something to block that. Tomoxifin is used for premenopausal women & arormatase is for post menopausal women. Even if you have a hysterectomy, your body produces hormones.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Can you get breast cancer when your 17? I have weird lumps in both my breasts. One behind my nipple the other further back and to the right they both feel solid Is it just paranoia or do I tell my parents and set up an appt

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 10 answers
    • View all 10 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      PLEASE share your fears with your parents. You need to be checked for your own piece of mind. As you are being checked, your doctor can discuss and instruct you how to do Breast Self Checks. Do not continue to try to live with this fear, have your Mom make an appointment for you. It will make...

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      PLEASE share your fears with your parents. You need to be checked for your own piece of mind. As you are being checked, your doctor can discuss and instruct you how to do Breast Self Checks. Do not continue to try to live with this fear, have your Mom make an appointment for you. It will make you feel a whole lot better. The fear of the unknown is almost worse than a disease. The vast majority of the lumps we find are not cancer. Our imaginations can paint a very terrifying picture and you should not be stuck there. Big hugs, and take care, Sharon

      1 comment
    • cindy stephenson Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Tell your parents and get things checked out. Cancer doesn't discriminate so you need to be sure everything is ok.

      Comment
  • Samantha  Sheringer Profile

    One of my breasts is bigger then the other and it feels harder then the other, it hurts to the touch or when I jump or run - could this be breast cancer or just growth? (It hasn't seemed to have gotten any worse then past few months)

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 9 years 3 answers
    • Court Simas Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      It could be growth or growing pains, but that depends on your age. If you're young, that's probably it. But if not, then it's hard to tell.

      In a situation like this, having it checked out by a doctor is probably the safe thing to do.

      Comment
    • Survivor's Daughter Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I agree. You should have it checked out. My mother's first sign was a change in breast size but it was not followed up by her doctor. When she had her mammogram a couple of months later, they found the growth. Could have been caught sooner if they had responded to the change in breast size.

      Comment
  • kim c Profile

    What kind of lotion should I use during radiation treatment? I bought lubriderm but is says cetyl alcohol is one of the ingredients.

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 1 Patient
    over 7 years 12 answers
    • View all 12 answers
    • Anne Thompson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I had received an aloe plant from my sister. Definitely the best! Just snip a piece off and rub it I daily as often as needed. All natural. It worked great!

      Comment
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Look at lindiskin soothing balm everything else gave me a rash.

      Comment
  • jenny rios Profile

    I just have a silly question. Can you be around kids after each radiatiion treatment?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 7 answers
    • View all 7 answers
    • vicki e Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      When you have a pet/ct scan you have residual radiation and can't be around children or pregnant women for 18 hours. Regular rad treatments don't have that effect though

      7 comments
    • Lisa Taylor Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Hi Jenny, of course your granddaughter can be around you! Me and my doctor always said I could tell my grand kids that I can glow in the dark! They told me that was awesome!

      Comment
  • Tonia Frederick Profile

    Will I survive this aggressive stage 3 breast cancer? It has spread into my lymph nodes and it's triple negative. I'm 39yrs old!!

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 3B Patient
    about 7 years 18 answers
    • View all 18 answers
    • Stephanie S Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 3A Patient

      I believe you can! Just like I believe I can and will beat my own stage 3 with lymph node involvement triple negative bc as well!! I try not to focus on stage and so on, and just focus all my energy on being positive and getting better. Your still young, as am I (25) and I believe still very...

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      I believe you can! Just like I believe I can and will beat my own stage 3 with lymph node involvement triple negative bc as well!! I try not to focus on stage and so on, and just focus all my energy on being positive and getting better. Your still young, as am I (25) and I believe still very strong and able to fight this horrible disease. Stay strong!!! <3

      1 comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2006

      Greetings Tonia although I was 52 years old when diagnosed with TNBC Stage 2 Grade 3 and no lymph nodes involvement . Thanks to an awesome medical team and aggressive treatment which consisted of a lumpmectomy , 16 rounds of chemo, 25 radiation treatments, faith in God, love, support from family...

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      Greetings Tonia although I was 52 years old when diagnosed with TNBC Stage 2 Grade 3 and no lymph nodes involvement . Thanks to an awesome medical team and aggressive treatment which consisted of a lumpmectomy , 16 rounds of chemo, 25 radiation treatments, faith in God, love, support from family and friends and a positive mind that BC was not going to destroy or control me I remain cancer FREE 6 years and 9 months later. I also had a 32 year old niece that was diagnosed with TNBC Stage 2 and 4 of her nodes tested positive with cancer she too had an aggressive treatment and remains cancer free 3 years later. You too will be a survivor and sharing your testimony with other women for years to come. Stay encouraged and know that this to shall pass.
      Love and Blessings My Dear Sister!!!

      Comment
  • Kerrie Williams Profile

    My mother is about to start low dose Taxol treatment on Friday for the next 12 weeks for stage 2 breast cancer. Can anyone give me any info on this? What can I do for her? What side effects will kick her butt the most?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 10 answers
    • View all 10 answers
    • Erin Timlin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Taxol can cause body aches and neuropathy but maybe with a low dose your mom will get off easy. I had both side effects but it wasn't too terrible. My oncologist prescribed me 800mg ibuprofen which helped. If the neuropathy gets bad they can prescribe something for that as well. Also provide...

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      Taxol can cause body aches and neuropathy but maybe with a low dose your mom will get off easy. I had both side effects but it wasn't too terrible. My oncologist prescribed me 800mg ibuprofen which helped. If the neuropathy gets bad they can prescribe something for that as well. Also provide help at home after her doses if you can - cleaning, cooking, running errands, etc. I felt bad for about 2 days starting about 2 days after treatment. Good luck!

      Comment
    • shari lind Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had 12 doses of taxol and I have to say that fatigue was the worst. I had AC first and that made me super sick plus lose my hair. My hair started growing back with taxol. B there with her during treatments and help with everything - cooking cleaning etc sending encouragement to ur mom

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    What do I expect after lumpectomy from stage 1 carcinoma lcis

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Coco Smith Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      You know what is so wonderful about these responses? No one is saying you should feel this or that. No one is extrapolating their individual experiences to a universal. They are all acknowledging there can a huge variety of responses.

      So - like everyone else I am not saying my experience will...

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      You know what is so wonderful about these responses? No one is saying you should feel this or that. No one is extrapolating their individual experiences to a universal. They are all acknowledging there can a huge variety of responses.

      So - like everyone else I am not saying my experience will be yours. One thing I learned myself and had reinforced on this site is we are often not warned about seromas developing post operatively - seromas are fluid filled sacs in or around the scar. Around 40% of women get them, so they are not rare. There are threads on seromas on this site so I won't go into more detail.

      The pain levels can vary enormously. I would recommend you make sure you have effective pain meds already prescribed for you and on hand so you do not find yourself in pain and without them after discharge.

      The lumpectomy size, location,number of stitches etc varies enormously. Mine is an inner upper quadrant, so my scar is visible with even semi-low cut top. but I actually like scars, and find them interesting, so this does not have a negative effect on me as it would on someone horrified by scars.

      The operation itself was my first as well as first stay in a hospital, so I was very frightened. I had a bad reaction to coming out of the anaesthetic - there is a family history of that so I expected it would happen.

      I paid huge attention to avoiding acquiring an infection while I was in hospital as well as once I got out. I was scrupulous about scrubbing myself from head to tow with the anti bacterial wash our hospitals give us to use the night before and morning of surgery. I wore pure cotton gloves in hospital so I was not touching germ filled surfaces and then my face or wound. I changed gloves often. I used anti bacterial hand wash many times a day after discharge as well. I bathed using Phisohex while my wound was healing. I kept well away from small children, even though it would have been lovely not to. I avoided anyone ill with colds etc so I was not sneezed or had to shake hands or kiss anyone carrying any germs. I followed the surgeons instructions to the letter for wound dressings. He used a dressing product that meant I could shower etc normally and it dropped off naturally when it was ready. I let it and did not pull at it. When I was briefly readmitted to hospital because of pain, I did not allow the Dr to remove the dressings early to "have a look" . I told him I had no fever, no temperature, no clinical indications of infection, I was back in hospital because they discharged me after removing 20% of my breast without giving me any pain meds to take home, I wanted some pain meds to rectify their error, and I definitely was not going to disobey y surgeons instructions to not touch the dressing till it fell off naturally excepting if I had an infection.
      I found I could not pick up and carry things I used to be able to carry leaning on my wound area. Even a couple of years later, I have to be very careful. Just this week a 3 year old climbed up next to me and bashed her head into my scar. It was very painful. I try to be careful about squirming children or animals, but I still get a painful whack.

      For about a year after the lumpectomy I had to avoid breast jiggle. I always used well supported bras anyway, but if I was in a car going over a speed hump for example, I would use my hand to hold my affected breast to avoid a painful jiggle. Years later I still don't do anything that cause my affected breast to jiggle - it tugs painfully at the scar tissue. I still get a weird tightness and burning sensation in the site of my sentinel node biopsy under my armpit. Many women I talk to say that is worse than the lumpectomy.

      Within days of my lumpectomy I returned to yoga classes. I could not lay on my front or do some of the poses. I didn't care. The reason was I did what I could was I wanted to try and stretch the underarm and breast scars while they were fresh and still soft, as much as I could, because I knew if I let them heal in a tight ball, they would remain tight forever. So as much as I did not want to do arm stretches etc, I did as much as I could. A formal independent test by a physio showed I retained more than 95% function in my affected arm compared to my non-affected arm, so I think the early stretching really helped.

      I did not have any body image crisis as I actually like my scars. Some women are very different and feel damaged or mutilated.

      The worst part for me was the Nuclear Medicine staff on the morning of my surgery who gave me an radiotracer injection into my breast under the general nipple area. The technician lied to me and told me if was the same pain level as a local anaesthetic and claimed I did not need any pain relief. The pain was excrusciating - I felt like it took the top of my head off. Every muscle in my body spasmed. I involuntarily urinated and defecated a little in my underwear. Tears poured out of my eyes automatically without any intention to cry. I needed three months of five times a week phsyio on the shoulder closest to the injection site as the contractions from the painful injection was so bad, it locked the shoulder in a weird position. I then had to sit around for 6 hours waiting for surgery essentially in shock from this.

      My tip - ask if you are having the radiotracer injection to light up the sentinel node before surgery and if you are INSIST on being given adequate pain relief such as EMLA cream one hour before, lidocaine injection first [I can tolerate a lidocaine injection no problems but the radiotracer is a million times worse] and/or the green tube with pain relieving chemicals you can suck on. I had to laugh cynically months later when I found out the university animal ethics research committee requires female dogs who are given this same radiotracer injection have solid pain relief first, yet our Protocols for Nuclear Technicians who do the same thing to humans do not. The reason it is mandatory for dogs by the way is because the pain from the radiotracer injection into the breast is considered is classified as cruel and torture when done to a dog without anesthetic.

      Comment
    • anonymous Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      Great news you caught the tumor early!
      I agree with the previous comment. Everyone is different. I was stage one but invasive. I did not require a drain. I did have to return one week later to get clean margins. I was very lucky. My first surgery was the day before Thanksgiving and while I would...

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      Great news you caught the tumor early!
      I agree with the previous comment. Everyone is different. I was stage one but invasive. I did not require a drain. I did have to return one week later to get clean margins. I was very lucky. My first surgery was the day before Thanksgiving and while I would not have been up to hosting, I did attend and felt fine. No pain meds were taken after I woke up in recovery.

      After my second surgery, I was much more tired and achey. All in all I found the surgery to be much easier than the the wire placement and the dye insertion. I think part of it is your relieved to have the lump gone. The other part is that, in my case, the surgeon and anesthesiologist did everything they could to make the surgery pain free and the recovery easy.

      If you stay on any narcotics, start taking laxatives from day one to avoid constipation. Beyond that, some people have more fatigue than others, allow yourself some slack. My second surgery was the last week of November 2011 and after 6 months, it was still unfcomfortable to run across the street or if I bump myself at the surgical site, it still hurts today.

      I took the oncotype blood test to determine if my type of tumor would respond well to chemotherapy. THe doctors originally prepared me for this evenutuality but again, I was lucky. My specific tumor woudl not benefit form chemo so I only had to do 7.5 weeks of radiation (5 days a week).

      After that, I was supposed to take Tamoxifen because I was pre-menopausal but I have a genetic blood clotting issue that put me at great risk of a clot on that drug. I had to have a hysterectomy but this is very unusual. I did not have to take the post-menopausal drug (Arimidex) because teh benefit did not statistically outweigh the removal of the primary source of estrogen( ovries).

      There are multiple paths and possibilities but the team of doctors should be able to share teh options an dteh pros adn cons of each so you can make your best decision. I would highly recommend that you bring someone with you to these appointments so that you can listen and someone else can take notes to review for unanswered questions later. This is invaluable.

      I hope these comments were helpful and I wish you the best of luck. You can do this!

      Comment
  • Sherry Barger Profile

    What is central necrosis?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 9 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Sherry Barger Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Allright so the ultrasound showed a 4cm mass in right breast that is invasive. Now going for ultrasound guided biopsy on Tuesday. I know 4cm is huge. How worried should I be?

      Comment
    • Robin Bailey Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      My dr said the necrosis was good because that results in the calcifications which were detected!

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Once removed does a lymph node grow back?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 7 years 3 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Stage 3C Patient

      I don't believe they grow back, but often the lymph finds other paths to move through the body. It's pretty impossible for surgeons to remove every lymph node in an area so you usually have some left to do the work. I got this info from my lymphedema PT.

      2 comments
    • Mimi Carroll Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Nope, they don't grow back. We do have others . I had 13 out in February and I am doing fine. I get massages and do exercises to help the fluid go to other nodes. Two best lymph exercises- jump on trampoline or rebounder and when sitting flex your foot up and down.
      I wear a compression...

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      Nope, they don't grow back. We do have others . I had 13 out in February and I am doing fine. I get massages and do exercises to help the fluid go to other nodes. Two best lymph exercises- jump on trampoline or rebounder and when sitting flex your foot up and down.
      I wear a compression sleeve my dic gave when doing lifting and will for flying.

      3 comments
  • Kendra Klindt Profile

    Tomorrow is my 1st of 4 chemo treatments. Getting Cytoxan and Taxotere! Taking steroid pills today - dexamethasone. Have my 3 kinds of nausea meds ready to go for after chemo. Any thoughts or suggestions? I know I can/will do this but scared to death!

    Asked by anonymous

    stage_1 Patient
    about 6 years 11 answers
    • View all 11 answers
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      Great attitude! Yes you can do this! Drink lots of water. Rest when needed, but walking helps too. Take your meds before you need them. Easier to treat then to take away. Use plastic ware to help with the metal taste. Eat what you want. It's all trial and error. What is good one day may not be...

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      Great attitude! Yes you can do this! Drink lots of water. Rest when needed, but walking helps too. Take your meds before you need them. Easier to treat then to take away. Use plastic ware to help with the metal taste. Eat what you want. It's all trial and error. What is good one day may not be the next. Prayers to you.

      Comment
    • Mimi Carroll Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Drunk lots if fluid today... And keep drinking to flush it out.... Most of the time T/C is not the scary combination. I wish you well. Remember to have infusion nurses number posted at home in case you have questions.

      Comment
  • Chris Johnson Profile

    If all the cancer was removed, why do I need chemotherapy?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 10 answers
    • View all 10 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Chris, cancer cells can be very tricky. Not all can be picked up on a PET scan etc. i was diagnosed stage 3C last May. I had to go through chemo twice. Once before my mastectomy, then after as well due to extensive lymph node involvement. It wasn't easy but I'm so glad I did!!! And I'd do it...

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      Hi Chris, cancer cells can be very tricky. Not all can be picked up on a PET scan etc. i was diagnosed stage 3C last May. I had to go through chemo twice. Once before my mastectomy, then after as well due to extensive lymph node involvement. It wasn't easy but I'm so glad I did!!! And I'd do it all over again. I show no evidence of disease now!! I feel very blessed.

      Comment
    • Leann Moeller Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Sharon,

      1 comment
  • sharon ayers Profile

    Is chemo always necessary if you are HER2 positive?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 10 answers
    • View all 10 answers
    • Isabel Souchet Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      I know you have to do herceptin, which i did for a year. I also had chemo as I had a very small tumor (0.7cm) that was invasive ductal carcinoma. It depends on the tumor, size and many other factors. Don't let being her2 scare you, my oncologist said herceptin is a miracle drug and being her 2...

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      I know you have to do herceptin, which i did for a year. I also had chemo as I had a very small tumor (0.7cm) that was invasive ductal carcinoma. It depends on the tumor, size and many other factors. Don't let being her2 scare you, my oncologist said herceptin is a miracle drug and being her 2 was not bad.

      2 comments
    • Betsy Chapin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      I also had stage 1 cancer, HER2 positive. I had a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation(in that order). I am not sure if HER2 positive patients always are a candidate for chemo, but your doctor will advise you on the best treatment for your situation. I also was in a medical trial where I did not get...

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      I also had stage 1 cancer, HER2 positive. I had a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation(in that order). I am not sure if HER2 positive patients always are a candidate for chemo, but your doctor will advise you on the best treatment for your situation. I also was in a medical trial where I did not get herceptin, but was given an oral medicine, lapatnib instead.

      Comment
  • Carla Victor-rawson Profile

    Stage 1 cancer : lumpectomy or Mastectomy ? So confused, any opinions out there...need help, musy make up my mind soon!

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 8 years 10 answers
    • View all 10 answers
    • Betsy Chapin Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      This is such a personal decision and you will make the right one for yourself. I know when I was diagnosed with Stage 1 cancer, my first feelings were to have a mastectomy because I just wanted the cancer out! I never wanted to go through this again, but my doctor was a big help in making this...

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      This is such a personal decision and you will make the right one for yourself. I know when I was diagnosed with Stage 1 cancer, my first feelings were to have a mastectomy because I just wanted the cancer out! I never wanted to go through this again, but my doctor was a big help in making this decision with me. We had long talks about lumpectomy vs mastectomy. This was one of the hardest decisions of all in the whole cancer process, but I know I made the right one for myself. The reasons I chose lumpectomy had a lot to do with the studies done on women and their recurrence rate after lumpectomy vs mastectomy. With a lumpectomy, I knew radiation was also going to be part of my treatment. Now, 2 years later, I am very content with the choices I made. Hang in there Carla and take your time with this.

      2 comments
    • K G Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I agree with the ladies. Sometimes a second opinion helps. Don't rush into your decision, even though we all know the feeling of "get it out". I think alot of it depends on family history, what type your tumor is, the size of your tumor, etc. Do you have a nurse navigator helping you? The studies...

      more

      I agree with the ladies. Sometimes a second opinion helps. Don't rush into your decision, even though we all know the feeling of "get it out". I think alot of it depends on family history, what type your tumor is, the size of your tumor, etc. Do you have a nurse navigator helping you? The studies are showing the chances of cancer reoccuring are about the same whether or not you have a lumpectomy or mastectomy. You will make the right decision for you, and follow your gut instinct. We are all here for you.

      Comment
  • Mary E Powers Profile

    I was told the suspicious lump has its own blood supply & though they are going to start with the needle biopsy, the dr. feels she will probably want the lump removed. what does the forming of its own blood supply mean?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 7 years 2 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Hi Mary, From what I've read that simply means the tumor is able to continure to grow because it has its own supply of oxygen and nutrients. Whether it is malignant or benign, I would want it removed. It may be benign but biopsy is the only way to know. Try to breathe and wait for the...

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      Hi Mary, From what I've read that simply means the tumor is able to continure to grow because it has its own supply of oxygen and nutrients. Whether it is malignant or benign, I would want it removed. It may be benign but biopsy is the only way to know. Try to breathe and wait for the pathology. It may be a scary benign mass. Thinking and praying for peace. Keep us posted, please. :-)

      1 comment
    • julie s Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      Hi Mary! I wish I could speak to this but I don't know much about it. I googled it and it seems a biopsy is necessary to determine... It could be benign. Stay strong and keep us posted!

      2 comments
  • 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
    over 6 years 23 answers
    • View all 23 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...

      more

      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
  • Thumb avatar default

    Disscomfort right breast fuller heavier than left one; acute sharp pain/very tender. Full hystorectomy over 15 years ago hormone replacement. Mamograms last 3 years normal. My mom died from breast cancer before age 60.

    Asked by anonymous

    Family Member or Loved One
    about 8 years 4 answers
    • View all 4 answers
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Any changes at all in the breasts should be checked out ASAP! My right breast was fuller than my left, tender, & swollen. It seemed to happen overnight. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. And this came 5 months after a so called "clean" mammogram. Please get it checked out. It may be nothing to...

      more

      Any changes at all in the breasts should be checked out ASAP! My right breast was fuller than my left, tender, & swollen. It seemed to happen overnight. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. And this came 5 months after a so called "clean" mammogram. Please get it checked out. It may be nothing to worry about...but you never ever want to take that chance!! Always better to be safe than sorry. Keep us posted on how you are.

      1 comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      My breast was uncomfortable, heavy and burning so I went and had a mammogram. They found IDC and I am mid way through my treatment. You need to have any changes to your breast checked out. Even more so because you have a family history. All the best.

      Comment
  • sheree oden Profile

    Has anyone had a recurrence in a previous mastectomy ? An identical tumor came back 10!yrs later in the tissue surrounding an implant where my left breast had been. Next week I will have a re mastectomy, followed by radiation and more chemo.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Lisa S Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Recently diagnosed in my lymph nodes on my chest wall as well as many lymph nodes regionally after mastectomy chemo radiation and hormonal therapy. First dx 1/2010 this time 2/2012. Prayers and hugs going your way. Keep in touch.

      1 comment
    • Lisa S Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Recently diagnosed in my lymph nodes on my chest wall as well as many lymph nodes regionally after mastectomy chemo radiation and hormonal therapy. First dx 1/2010 this time 2/2012. Prayers and hugs going your way. Keep in touch.

      Comment
  • Jeanne Arroyo Profile

    I did 3rd round of AC, one more next Thursday, then 4 rounds of taxol. I hear everyone say taxol is easier than AC, is it true?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 8 years 14 answers
    • View all 14 answers
    • Nikol Vega Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Taxol is easier on the body, you won't feel nausea or fatigue or any of the other side effects from AC. I developed a mild rash on my cheekbone with taxol. I also had bone pain.

      Comment
    • Elizabeth Flanigan Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had the same 4AC dose dense followed by 4 Taxol dose dense. While I agree that Taxol was much easier for me, it did pose its own set of issues. I found the peripheral neuropathy to be bothersome and the night sweats to interfere with my sleep. Be sure to tell your medical onco about any pain...

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      I had the same 4AC dose dense followed by 4 Taxol dose dense. While I agree that Taxol was much easier for me, it did pose its own set of issues. I found the peripheral neuropathy to be bothersome and the night sweats to interfere with my sleep. Be sure to tell your medical onco about any pain or neuropathy you experience. After my first Taxol, I was switched to abraxane (generic form) due to anxiety symptoms (the oncologist said that was part of what we know as restless leg syndrome) and my dose was lowered due to the "disco" type shooting pains that indicated my dose was too high. The Taxol wasn't the cause of the anxiety, but the Benedryl that had to be administered along with it, was. The abraxane was much better tolerated than the Taxol. I did lose the last remaining bit of my hair, and my eye lashes/brows...but within three weeks they were already growing back! So, in sum, be sure to tell your oncologist about any pain etc., it will help him/her judge whether your dose needs to be adjusted, etc. Also, because I felt so much better on the Taxol/Abraxane (like a bird that just grew wings!), I tended to "hit the ground running" so to speak after the last couple rounds. I paid for this later. Get your exercise, but REST and let your body recover.

      Comment
  • Matt Roth Profile

    Last year we (drawMD) created a free breast health anatomy app for iPad. The app can be used to help providers visually explain complex medical procedures. We would love to hear any feedback you might have. Have a look http://visibl.es/1aQnY2f

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 6 years 3 answers
    • Leah Fortune Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      I'll look

      Comment
    • Leah Fortune Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Not what I was expecting might be good for docs unsure.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    How soon after mastectomy is it ok to have intimate relations with your spouse?

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2012
    almost 8 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Elaine Mills Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2B Patient

      I can't tell if you are the patient or the spouse, but I am a patient. I know that for us, "intimate" became something different than sex. He waited for me to initiate. Realize that there are so many emotions to deal with having had your breasts removed. Positioning, energy, everything about...

      more

      I can't tell if you are the patient or the spouse, but I am a patient. I know that for us, "intimate" became something different than sex. He waited for me to initiate. Realize that there are so many emotions to deal with having had your breasts removed. Positioning, energy, everything about our first, second ... 30th time is different than before. I am not in the mood in the same way. My heart is, but my body could care less most of the time. I want to let him know I love him and I feel allowing him some normalcy of a sexual release seems important for him, so I do what I can.

      Comment
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      As soon as you and your special other are comfortable . My husband was afraid I'd break. He got over it. :-)

      Comment
  • Becky N Profile
  • Connie Herrick Profile

    How does the survival rate increase with radiation after a lumpectomy and chemo? Does it add 5%, 10%...anyone know?

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2011
    over 8 years 1 answer
    • Coco Smith Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      1. It has been standard for many decades that radiation does not result in less deaths from breast cancer [called disease specific survival]. In fact, reputable studies have shown a slight increase in the overall or all cause death rate [called overall survival rate] for women treated with...

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      1. It has been standard for many decades that radiation does not result in less deaths from breast cancer [called disease specific survival]. In fact, reputable studies have shown a slight increase in the overall or all cause death rate [called overall survival rate] for women treated with radiation versus those who did not have it. Before concluding radiation is overall causing more deaths than it is saving, there are other theories about these results, such as women who get radiation as opposed to women who don't tend to be more unwell and therefore at higher risk of dying from all cause conditions.Most radiation oncologists will not tell you this - most of them are trained not to as they believe this information may influence more women not to agree to RT. In fact, I find they deliberately try to obscure and dumb down any statistical information to try and get me to go along with whatever they are recommending.
      2. Studies however do show an RT benefit when it comes to reducing BC recurrence. Recurrence reduction is important for the following reasons - each recurrence places you under more health stress, and expense but also each recurrence raises your risk of it being more dangerous.
      3. This brings us to Connie's question. The benefit an individual breast cancer patient gets from radiation is relative to her risk of recurrence. So, first you need to find out what your individual BC recurrence risk is. I found I had to push my Radiation Oncologist to give me the true facts about my recurrence stats. In my case and with my type and grade of BC as well as other makers such as no lymph node involvement, ki 667 score and all those other results on the histopathology report arising from my excised tumour and lifestyle [I do not drink alcohol, I do not smoke, I take a daily asprin but I am overweight] - well, it was enlightening to FINALLY have him admit my risk of recurrence without radiation was 5% [ie., 95% no recurrence]and if I submitted myself to what he recommended which was 6 weeks radiation plus boost to my entire breast, the best I could improve the situation was by 2%, which means 97% no recurrence risk. I was not offered partial breast irradiation which is a less damaging RT option for women with my stats but PBI is another topic.
      4. I realised immediately at this point why he did not want to inform me about my real risk stats. I am a numbers person and try to make rational decisions based on facts - I am not an emotional decision maker and I was not sitting there crying or anything like that. He knew from my personality and presentation that there is no way I was going to subject myself to radiation for a measly 2% improvement in my already great stats. So getting this most basic medical information about the the Radiation Oncologist was time consuming and he was as uncooperative as a hostile witness on the stand - it took me an hour to drag the most basic medical information out of him about my stats to enable me to make an informed decision about my own health care and stats but I hunted him down verbally an kept up a steady stream of polite but increasingly pointed questions till I eventually dragged out of him the information I needed as was in fact entitled to in order to make an informed decision about my own health care. My surgeon and Oncologist were the total opposite - they handed over information generously and wanted me to be an adult and make up my own mind.
      5. I elected not to have any RT after quadruply checking on things and reading all the leading scientific reports on the topic.
      6. I had a rare form of BC called tubular carcinoma which was incredibly slow growing with other helpful features even though it was invasive. I also researched thoroughly every single finding on my histopathology report so I understood what it all meant.
      7. My approach was because I had large breasts and a small wide local excision meant I still had plenty of flesh left so if I had regular checks for the rest of my life, any recurrence is likely to be detected and I still have enough breast for another lumpectomy etc and RT if its worse than my first BC. However if I had RT now, I am not permitted to have it a second time - its straight to mastectomy. As my initial BC was so favourable I preferred to keep RT up my sleeve to use in the future as a future BC may not be so indolent. I am also in my 50's so I had on average another 30 years of life in which BC could happen again so I did not want to use up my one go at RT now.
      8. Some women are understandably so distressed by the word cancer that they would elect to make RT even for a tiny boost to avoiding a recurrence.
      9. I am being so careful here setting out the steps as the overwhelming majority of women with BC are not in my situation and they will get an appreciable or even significant benefit from recurrence by having RT.
      10. The question for you Connie is what are your individual BC recurrence stats, and what is your appetite for risk? Its a sliding scale on both questions so its a very personal decision based on what you believe you can cope with. Some women I meet say they would hate themselves if they did not undertake all treatment options no matter how painful, expensive or minimal the benefit and the BC recurred. They would grab any treatment even if it gave less than 1% benefit. Others are like me, weigh up and the pros and cons and have to think there is enough of a benefit to put our bodies through more stress. Your question is where do you fit on this continuum?
      11. The one consideration I constantly kept hearing from BC survivors was that RT was a piece of cake compared to eg., chemo, surgery etc simply because it was quick, there was no cutting, and they were not throwing up constantly. My view is RT is not a piece of cake simply because you cannot see and feel all the damage the RT does to your body in the same way we can see and feel surgery or chemo! To me those considerations are irrelevant. To others they feel comforted by their perception is that RT poses the least insult on their body in comparison to their other treatments.
      12. I am not encouraging anyone with BC to refuse RT. To me that is irresponsible because I do not know your personal stats, values, personality, options and lifestyle. What I am doing is encouraging any one with BC to carefully question their Radiation Oncologist so you know your true stats with and without RT and you make a decision about your own treatment based on that knowledge. Other patients prefer to know nothing, ask no questions and go through whatever treatment regime is recommended by their medicos.
      13. Anyone who is having RT - ask to see the practices stats on radiation errors so you understand what your risk are of over or under treatment. If they don't keep such stats or won't show them to you - flee and go somewhere that has decent quality assurance program in place and is willing to show you results!
      14. I know this is a detailed response Connie but this is a very serious question you are posing here, I take it very seriously and I do not want to give you a glib answer.

      12 comments

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