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Common Questions

  • 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
    over 5 years 10 answers
    • View all 10 answers
    • 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
    • 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
  • 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
    about 6 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
  • Thumb avatar default

    I am going to have a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction. Can anyone give me advice for what to bring to the hospital and what types of bras are best after surgery?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Ask your surgeons nurse what they prefer you to wear as far as bras some surgeons have reconstruction bras and some want you to wear sports bras with a front opening

      Comment
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Good morning, I was told to wear a underwire bra that morning. They did put it on me over my dressing and under the ace wrap. I was to wear underwire bras to help form your new breast with the implant in the healing process. Make sure you also take a loose fitting button down blouse. It'll be...

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      Good morning, I was told to wear a underwire bra that morning. They did put it on me over my dressing and under the ace wrap. I was to wear underwire bras to help form your new breast with the implant in the healing process. Make sure you also take a loose fitting button down blouse. It'll be hard to raise your arms to get a Tshirt on for a while so stock up on button down blouses. You may have drains in so they will safety pin it to the inside of the blouse so light denim or something similar that no one can see the drains is good. Also loose fitting pants for me my swelling from the surgery went all the way down to my coccyx I had taken jeans and couldn't button them. In the car for the ride home have a bucket or basin and towel I was nauseous from the anesthesia and pain meds.

      Comment
  • sharon ayers Profile

    Is chemo always necessary if you are HER2 positive?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 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
  • CB White Profile

    How do they determine if you need chemo after a mastectomy? I had a double and my sentinel node was benign, but I still have to see a medical oncologist.....am I not cancer-free after all this???

    Asked by anonymous

    Patient
    almost 5 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      the med onc will help with that decision. Treatment is very individualized today. It will depend on your type of cancer, stage, and if you hormone + or - . I was stage 3 ILC er/pr+ with clear nodes I had 6 rounds of taxotere/Cytoxan, 35 radiation treatments, and now 5 years of tamoxifen. They are...

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      the med onc will help with that decision. Treatment is very individualized today. It will depend on your type of cancer, stage, and if you hormone + or - . I was stage 3 ILC er/pr+ with clear nodes I had 6 rounds of taxotere/Cytoxan, 35 radiation treatments, and now 5 years of tamoxifen. They are already saying 10 years of tamoxifen is possible. You will find everyone here has a different experience. I took everything they suggested for treatment others have turned down some or maybe all. It is truly a very personal decision but it is important to meet the med onc and see what the treatment plan is. If you still have questions about the validity of the plan get another opinion. I know it all sounds very overwhelming take someone with you to see the onc. I took my husband he asked as many questions as I did and he took great notes while I was emptying a box of Kleenex. I went home and processed the information with a bottle of wine and a box of Kleenex then saw another onc and he suggested the same course of action. God Bless your journey

      2 comments
    • André Roberts Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 1 Patient

      CB, Marianne is right about the type, and having the oncotype test. Not everyone has to have chemo, but look at it like this.......... If cancer was a bar of chocolate, and you put in in a pot of warm water (your body), then scoop the bar out (surgery). You can still have 'residue' (cancer cells)...

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      CB, Marianne is right about the type, and having the oncotype test. Not everyone has to have chemo, but look at it like this.......... If cancer was a bar of chocolate, and you put in in a pot of warm water (your body), then scoop the bar out (surgery). You can still have 'residue' (cancer cells) in the water. Chemo is the Dawn dish soap that's gonna get rid of it all ;) Now, if your Her2 positive, I've got an explanation for needing herceptin if you want to hear that one too. Prayers to you.

      4 comments
  • 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
    over 5 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...

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      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
  • Sherry Barger Profile

    What is central necrosis?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 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

      It's good that they found the other spots and can recommend the best treatment! Hang in there!

      1 comment
  • Diane Oberholtzer Profile

    What is inflammatory breast cancer?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 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
  • Thumb avatar default

    What do I expect after lumpectomy from stage 1 carcinoma lcis

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 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
  • Thumb avatar default

    Once removed does a lymph node grow back?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 4 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
  • Thumb avatar default

    I had mammo, then us and now they want me to have MRI but no biopsy. Is this normal procedure? My ins. did not want to pay for MRI but my doctor sent appeal and they approved it. The radiologist said probable cause for concern. what does this mean?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 5 years 10 answers
    • View all 10 answers
    • Sandy B Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      I had the same process. The mamogram did not show tumors. My symptom was a bleeding nipple.The Dr. had a gut feeling that there was something going on. They did the MRI, showed areas of concern. They then proceeded with the biopsy. Showed no cancer. The surgeon encouraged me strongly to have a...

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      I had the same process. The mamogram did not show tumors. My symptom was a bleeding nipple.The Dr. had a gut feeling that there was something going on. They did the MRI, showed areas of concern. They then proceeded with the biopsy. Showed no cancer. The surgeon encouraged me strongly to have a lumpectomy, as again, he had that gut feeling. He performed that lumpectomy and he found 5 tumors, 2 large in my breast. He saved my life. No real answer as to why my tumors did not show. I hope your results are different, but I will be forever grateful my surgeon was persistent.

      Comment
    • Brandi Carey Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had a mammogram then ultrasound. Came back BI_RAD 5. I had a great radiologist! Biopsy (malignant)then they had me do MRI w/contrast.2days later,another ultrasound.then wanted me to have MRI guided biopsy. I opted out cuz I'm getting a bilateral masectomy but I honestly hope your dr is just...

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      I had a mammogram then ultrasound. Came back BI_RAD 5. I had a great radiologist! Biopsy (malignant)then they had me do MRI w/contrast.2days later,another ultrasound.then wanted me to have MRI guided biopsy. I opted out cuz I'm getting a bilateral masectomy but I honestly hope your dr is just being cautious!! Some dr are hard to convince w tests.:-) also MRI picked up R sided masses that mammo&U.S missed. Good luck

      Comment
  • Yashmira Devine Profile

    Does anyone wear medical bracelets to indicate no blood pressure, no blood and no needles for a specific arm?

    Asked by anonymous

    Stage 1 Patient
    over 5 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Lisa W Profile
      anonymous
      Patient

      I have one...it is in PINK and found mine on laurenshope.com ;)

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Yashmira,
      I JUST got a bracelet (in pink of course), from "Road ID" http://www.roadid.com/Common/default.aspx I am always riding or driving horses Lord only knows what kind of accidents I can have. I wanted to make sure it was visible... reason for the color, and if I was unconscious, medics...

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      Yashmira,
      I JUST got a bracelet (in pink of course), from "Road ID" http://www.roadid.com/Common/default.aspx I am always riding or driving horses Lord only knows what kind of accidents I can have. I wanted to make sure it was visible... reason for the color, and if I was unconscious, medics would see it. I think it is a great idea. Take care, Sharon

      1 comment
  • sylvia clark Profile

    Has anyone had to take a pill for 5 years after all the chemo? And why does it feel like I am the only one? :-(

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 14 answers
    • View all 14 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      You are defiantly not the only one, most women I know or have heard of have to take hormone treatment for at least five years. Some of us will be on it indefinitely. You will find many, many woman on this forum that are on the same treatment. Good luck with it all.

      Comment
    • Diana Foster Payne Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 4 Patient

      Hi Sylvia, I was put on Tamoxifen about three weeks ago. I will have to be on medicine for at least five years or more.

      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
    about 5 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
  • L D  Profile

    What is the best way to deal with hair loss? I had my first chemo treatment five days ago and I'm dreading it. I'm more nervous and sick about that than the chemotherapy. I know it's silly, it will grow back.

    Asked by anonymous

    Survivor since 2004
    over 6 years 14 answers
    • View all 14 answers
    • Nancy Bailey Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Don't feel silly! I cut my hair close before I started chemotherapy. It did give me a sense of empowerment and I actually like wearing it short. It has been four days since my second treatment and I am beginning to lose what's left. As hard as it may be, I have decided to shave the...

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      Don't feel silly! I cut my hair close before I started chemotherapy. It did give me a sense of empowerment and I actually like wearing it short. It has been four days since my second treatment and I am beginning to lose what's left. As hard as it may be, I have decided to shave the remainder and try to get past it.

      Comment
    • Alyssa Vito Profile
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      Hi LD,

      I just finished my second cycle of chemo and also have had anxiety about my hair loss. I love my hair and it was traumatic to think of losing it. Mine started falling out 13 days after my first cycle and I went in and got a buzz cut. It was easier to get rid of it myself instead of...

      more

      Hi LD,

      I just finished my second cycle of chemo and also have had anxiety about my hair loss. I love my hair and it was traumatic to think of losing it. Mine started falling out 13 days after my first cycle and I went in and got a buzz cut. It was easier to get rid of it myself instead of watching my very long hair fall out all around me. Id begun shedding all over the place. I bought myself an awesome wig that looks like my hair did before and I wear that now anytime I'm in public. People can't even tell the difference. When I'm at home I just throw on a scarf.

      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
    over 5 years 14 answers
    • View all 14 answers
    • 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...

      more

      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
    • 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
  • 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
    about 6 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
  • judith rowley Profile

    Have to decide on whether to have a single or double mastectomy. any advice on decision making? hardest decision I have ever had to make :(

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 14 answers
    • View all 14 answers
    • julie s Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      My plastic surgeon said its easier to make them match with bilateral... For what it's worth. I know these decisions we have to make are very difficult.

      Comment
    • Rita Jo Hayes Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      I chose both as doc said there was a40% chance to have it in the left breast. You will find the right choice for you.

      Comment
  • Carla Victor-rawson Profile

    What is the survival rate for stage 1 Invasive Lobular Carcinoma?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 8 answers
    • View all 8 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Carla, you have SO MUCH going in your favor. This sounds like its an early stage, and it is hormone positive which means you have much more of a chance to starve the little beastie's with taking a hormone blocking drug. I was a 2-B invasive ductal carcinoma, with a positive node, it was also...

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      Carla, you have SO MUCH going in your favor. This sounds like its an early stage, and it is hormone positive which means you have much more of a chance to starve the little beastie's with taking a hormone blocking drug. I was a 2-B invasive ductal carcinoma, with a positive node, it was also hormone positive. I chose to have a mastectomy just because I didn't want to take the chance of having the surgery and the possibility of not have clean margins. THey also said if I had a mastectomy. I would not have to come back for a multitude of radiation treatments. We live on an island and have to take a ferry..... daily for the treatments. So those were my two reasons for the choice of the mastectomy. I had 4 round of AC chemo and that was it for my treatment. We all make our choices for individual reasons. We ARE so lucky to have these choices to make! You need to get down to business and get it done. The quicker you do, the faster you can put this behind you and get on with your life. Breast cancer has already taken up enough of your time. You put on those big-girl-warrior-panties and march right through taking your wonderful life back for youself and for your family. Nobody wants to see you going through this but you can give them a fabulous picture of strength as you are kick-breast cancer's booty! Hang in there Carla, you GO GIRL! Take care, Sharon

      Comment
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      Carla, this is a question that comes up at various times during the process of treatment. I have always said there are statistics and then there are people. Statistics is a cold rigid bunch of numbers that justifies the existence of statisticians, computer programs, etc. You are human, a...

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      Carla, this is a question that comes up at various times during the process of treatment. I have always said there are statistics and then there are people. Statistics is a cold rigid bunch of numbers that justifies the existence of statisticians, computer programs, etc. You are human, a marvelous collection of living cells who had a mind, feelings, family, and everything to live for. Statistics take into consideration type, stage, etc. when they plug something like that into a computer and come up with a number. You are an individual... you are unique in your diagnosis, do not waste time or put any energy into statistics. You go into your treatment with a positive attitude, march through it with courage, and the "get-er'-done" mind set. You will be ok! It isn't a trip to Disneyland but the vast majority of us make the journey and go on to share our experience with others. Do NOT give these negative thoughts any power.... you are not a statistic. Some doctor's may think they have a line to God but they don't. Nobody knows how long they have to live and a statistical number is just a wild guess! Hang in there and take care, Sharon

      Comment
  • Unlucky Youth Profile

    Yellow spots on my nipples? Should I be worried?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 3 answers
    • Anne Marie jacintho Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2003

      Your nipples have little pin points pores when you are pregnant and breast feeding the milk comes out from all these pores. If you are not pregnant these pores are not as pronounced and you should not have any drainage from them. If you do have drainage you need to see a doctor ASAP . I read...

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      Your nipples have little pin points pores when you are pregnant and breast feeding the milk comes out from all these pores. If you are not pregnant these pores are not as pronounced and you should not have any drainage from them. If you do have drainage you need to see a doctor ASAP . I read your other questions and response being 16 with ovarian cyst and on birth control pills you must have a gynecologist that is following you. Please make an appt to have all your concerns evaluated. Do not wait. The sooner you are examined the sooner your concerns can be addressed if you need treatment it can be started and better yet a reassurance that you are in good health will give you peace of mind and a better understanding of your body. Your doctor would be the best person to answer all your questions after examining you.

      Comment
    • julie s Profile
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      See a doctor anytime you are concerned about anything that doesn't seem normal

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    Did anyone take anything to help "calm" the nerves before biopsy procedure? If so, what and did gyn proscribe it?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 4 years 13 answers
    • View all 13 answers
    • Marianne R. Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2011

      I 2nd xanax. It gets me through MRI, PET scans it gets me through my claustrophobia and the emotinal side.

      Comment
    • Betti A Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2013

      I had 2 biopsies; one with ultrasound guidance and one stereotactilly. They were both done at an imaging center and the only thing they could give me if needed was Xanax as they couldn't do anything stronger. I got by with nothing but then I used to help with biopsies so knew what to expect and...

      more

      I had 2 biopsies; one with ultrasound guidance and one stereotactilly. They were both done at an imaging center and the only thing they could give me if needed was Xanax as they couldn't do anything stronger. I got by with nothing but then I used to help with biopsies so knew what to expect and I just don't like taking anything that's not necessary.

      Comment
  • Sharon Thomas Profile

    If I have cancer, why don't I feel sick?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    almost 6 years 5 answers
    • View all 5 answers
    • Sharon Danielson Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2007

      If you are asking about breast cancer specifically, you won't feel sick unless it has metastasized (spread) to an organ, bones, brain, etc. Some women, have symptoms with breast cancer like itching, pain, tingling, inverted nipple, discharge from the nipple, some type of sensation in the breast...

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      If you are asking about breast cancer specifically, you won't feel sick unless it has metastasized (spread) to an organ, bones, brain, etc. Some women, have symptoms with breast cancer like itching, pain, tingling, inverted nipple, discharge from the nipple, some type of sensation in the breast that is out of the ordinary. Some women have no discomfort or sensation from breast cancer. Once breast cancer has metastasized to an organ, a person may then develop different symptoms that would make them "feel sick." Breast cancer is sneaky! The best outcomes happen when the disease is caught early and treated successfully.

      Comment
    • Wendy Lauber Kilbourne Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      Sharon, Cancer is somewhat a natural process of cell growth in your body. The cancer cells are just cells that don't know when to stop. Our bodies cannot tell the difference between good cells and cancer cells, thus, no symptoms, especially if caught early enough. The longer you have cancer...

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      Sharon, Cancer is somewhat a natural process of cell growth in your body. The cancer cells are just cells that don't know when to stop. Our bodies cannot tell the difference between good cells and cancer cells, thus, no symptoms, especially if caught early enough. The longer you have cancer the more you do start to notice symptoms as Sharon Danielson mentions above because the cancer cells start to add up.

      I had no symptoms when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I actually went in for a mammogram because I found a lump on my right breast. Come to find out, it was NOT cancerous. But in the meantime, they found cancer on my LEFT breast, which I never even felt.

      I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis, but wish you the best of luck and remember: Take it ONE step at a time.

      Comment
  • Thumb avatar default

    What changes in my breast can I expect during and after radiation therapy? I start on Monday and am kinda apprehensive.

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 5 years 10 answers
    • View all 10 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Hi Jayme, You won't feel anything on the table. By my 8th or 9th treatment, I began to feel little prickles and twinges. By the end of my 16 rads, I had a slightly tan box, a light measle-looking rash that would pop out, especially when I got hot, itching,tenderness, puffiness, and minor hardness...

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      Hi Jayme, You won't feel anything on the table. By my 8th or 9th treatment, I began to feel little prickles and twinges. By the end of my 16 rads, I had a slightly tan box, a light measle-looking rash that would pop out, especially when I got hot, itching,tenderness, puffiness, and minor hardness of the breast, small clear blisters. The underarm was already numb and the skin irritation here could be maddening. Many women suffer in the crease under the breast and have to put a cotton clothe in the crease to prevent skin on skin. NO skin on skin under my breast(mine was removed so that really wasn't my issue.) or skin on skin under arm and the arm against the breast. Wear a soft cotton t-shirt that will prevent that.You must do that all important stretching to keep the chest and arm mobile. Drink water, water and more water to aid the healing as the dead cells are disposed of and the sick cells have to work overtime to heal. Be sure to wash off all lotions and ointments before each treatment to prevent serious burning like a McDonald's fry.(I found that ritual even more tedious than the 2 and a Half hour round trip to the cancer center.) Fatigue will come depending on the individual. I came in from my trip, ate lunch and hit the couch for a snooze. Hope you can do the same thing. Since you have to wash off lotions everyday, avoid washing the breast during shower. Don't let the water hit the site directly, and NO hot water. Braless is good but I had to wear one at times because of the heaviness from surgery. Still had to sleep in a soft sports bra or lounging bra. My radiologist told me if I just had to wear one during the day, go to my drawers and pull out the old stretched out throw away and wear it.(No underwire or anything tight) Air is great but you're caught between a rock and a hard place. I wore a soft bra to treatment and came home braless. My last week, I would feel the sharp pains and prickles by the time I was leaving the city to head home. Nothing that hangs on (quick and fleeting pain, a slight dull throb sometimes). None of this was unbearable but more annoying for me and unnerving. I'm sure the girls that had twice the rads than me will have more to say. Finished mine two months ago. Still can't get hot and have minor discomfort from the surgery and rads, not sure which. My radiologist told me it could be up to a year before those painful little catches and prickles completely go away. I tell myself it's a reminder that I still have my breast and it doesn't look that bad. Don't use anything on your skin unless you get the ok from your doctor. No deoderant under that arm and no perfumed soaps. I used Dove soap for sensitive skin(hypoallergenic) Soft cotton helps wick away moisture and is a gentle caress on tender skin(keeps it dry except for your ointments you use) If it cracks, don't put ointments on the cracks. The doctor will prescibe something. You'll hear from Kaye, she really had a tough time. For me, radiation was the easiest of my treatment plan. If i had to do it again, I wouldn't hesitate. You girls that had chemo before and after rads are the real warriors. Ask your doctor all your smallest questions. Never hesitate. Tell your sweet techs every concern, they will shuttle you to the doctor if you need to have a quick peek by him. Good luck and be good to yourself during the treatment. Healing hugs. Jo :-D

      2 comments
    • Jk Joyce Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Yep, it's me Jo. :) I won't go into deep details Jayme but I got 16 rads and the week after my last one, I had second degrees burns. I had three places under my arm that cracked open and my dr. Gave me some purple stuff in her office to put in the splits. I used Aquaphor all the time. It took...

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      Yep, it's me Jo. :) I won't go into deep details Jayme but I got 16 rads and the week after my last one, I had second degrees burns. I had three places under my arm that cracked open and my dr. Gave me some purple stuff in her office to put in the splits. I used Aquaphor all the time. It took awhile to heal but I made it thru it. I am still sore inside and have hard places...but it's all ok. I am alive and kicking. Lol. Now, if I can make it thru the hot flashes from the Tamoxifen I gotta it licked. Best of luck and don't let any of what I went thru scare you. Everyone is different and yours may be a breeze. I think it just helps to be aware of possibilities. God bless.

      3 comments
  • Nikki De France Lucas Profile

    I'm 3 weeks post mastectomy and my arm and armpit swelling is worse and still alot of numbness in the same area anyone else have this experience? I'm scheduled for physcial thearpy and possibly a sleeve tomorrow..feeling like recovery is going backwards

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    about 5 years 9 answers
    • View all 9 answers
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Learning About Breast Cancer

      I had a mastectomy on August 27 two months later I started noticing swelling in my arm and I unfortunately got Lympadema on my right arm because of the removal of 16 of my lymph nodes. I'm doing therapy now it's supposed to help bed but from what I understand it's not something that goes away...

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      I had a mastectomy on August 27 two months later I started noticing swelling in my arm and I unfortunately got Lympadema on my right arm because of the removal of 16 of my lymph nodes. I'm doing therapy now it's supposed to help bed but from what I understand it's not something that goes away ever...God is yet good

      2 comments
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Stage 2A Patient

      I had a double mastectomy in June. I still have numbness and at times a burning like tingling under my armpit (kind if my upper side area) and sometimes my arm feels heavy. I saw a physical therapist who says I don't have Lymphedema. I do however have this annoying cord thing that goes thru my...

      more

      I had a double mastectomy in June. I still have numbness and at times a burning like tingling under my armpit (kind if my upper side area) and sometimes my arm feels heavy. I saw a physical therapist who says I don't have Lymphedema. I do however have this annoying cord thing that goes thru my armpit. Therapist said it will eventually pop or dissolve. My aunt had a mastectomy with lymph node removal 13 years ago and said she still has numb areas. I think it's just part of the whole procedure. Nerve endings were removed, maybe some don't repair. Good luck.

      1 comment
  • Kreesha Kuru Profile

    What are the symptoms of breast cancer ?

    Asked by anonymous

    Learning About Breast Cancer
    over 6 years 6 answers
    • View all 6 answers
    • Alice Eisele Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2009

      It's very hard to define symptoms for breast cancer. Everyone is different. Some women do not have any noticeable symptoms. Others notice a lump or a discharge from the nipple.

      The safest course is to have your yearly exames, Know your own body, and know your family history. If you have...

      more

      It's very hard to define symptoms for breast cancer. Everyone is different. Some women do not have any noticeable symptoms. Others notice a lump or a discharge from the nipple.

      The safest course is to have your yearly exames, Know your own body, and know your family history. If you have concerns, discuss them with your doctor right away.

      4 comments
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Patient

      I also had bad night sweats. I could sleep naked w no sheets and still b drenched

      Comment

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