New to breast cancer

Hi, I have recently had surgery where the removed the margins of tissue around my positive biopsy site and they removed the sentinel lymph node., both cam back neg. Now they want me to do radiation treatments and then 5- 10 years of hormone therapy. When I asked the Dr. why I needed it since everything came back negative, he replied that there was a 20% chance of it coming back without treatment and with treatment I had an 86% chance of being cancer free. Now I'm confused as to weather it is really that beneficial to do the treatments. I would appreciate anybody's comments on weather I should or not.

7 Replies

oldestnewest
  • Hi mes51Mary

    First of all I'd like to say that your confusion is very common. Many of us have received similar results with recommendations for further treatment. Did you have a lumpectomy after your biopsy? Do you know what type of cancer you have (DCIS, lobular, invasive), what stage, what grade and Oncotype? It sounds like you may have Estrogen positive receptors which could be why they are recommending additional meds that would block estrogen. Care recommendations are based on these factors with the intent to prevent recurrence. Watchful waiting is sometimes a viable option but it may not be for everyone.

    I recently was diagnosed with stage 0 DCIS , high grade. I had a lumpectomy with very clean margins. Radiation was also recommended for me for a 16% chance of recurrence. I too was very upset and confused. After much research, calling SHARE and attending DCIS support groups I found that I was not alone with what is the dilemma of DCIS. It took me 2 months after surgery to painstakingly weigh all the pros and cons before I agreed to radiation which I started 3 days ago.

    I recommend that you learn all you can about your breast cancer so you can make informed decisions about your care. Don't be afraid to ask questions or consult with another physician for another opinion.

    Good luck on your journey. You are not alone. There are many sisters here to listen and help you.

    R

  • I would certainly do radiation and hormone therapy to decrease the chances of recurrence. Recurrence is not good. I would suggest you read up on the share website so you can understand the seriousness of the threat of recurrence. I have certainly experienced side effects over my last 8 years of treatment but it's totally worth it to remain cancer-free. Of course, there are no guarantees but I think I really would have regretted it if I went against the doctors advice and then had a recurrence .

  • Hi,

    So glad that you reached out to us. Based on what you have said, it appears that you have early stage breast cancer. If it is Stage 0 DCIS, you have options and choices. DCIS may never become invasive breast cancer. As the stage of the breast cancer increases, you will know what you need to do to prevent recurrence.

    The best thing that you can do for yourself is to become educated. Go to reputable websites. In addition to SHARE, I would suggest BreastCancer.org and LivingBeyondBreastCancer. On these sites you will find suggestions about questions to ask your doctor. There is information about how to read your pathology report and much more.

    You can call the SHARE Helpline at 866.891.2392. Depending upon the nature of your question, SHARE can match you with someone that can address your concern.

    It's a journey. You are not alone. Reach out.

  • Your treatment options depend on your diagnosis Having DCIS (stage 0) gives you more leeway as to how you should proceed forward But if you are early stage breast cancer your surgeon/oncologist might be basing his/her recommendations for treatment on your pathology report Your doctor might be looking at a high grade tumor which might leave you open to a recurrence Anyway these are issues that you should discuss with your doctor. breastcancer.org has a wonderful brochure that you can download on "Questions to Ask Your Doctor".

  • It is VERY important to do Radiation Treatments after a Lumpectomy if you were diagnosed with invasive cancer. That is the only way you can be declared Cancer free. The hormone therapy is to stop the Estrogen from feeding any new tumors in your breast. You can always get a second AND third opinion from another Oncologist/ Breast Surgeon.

  • I agree with much of what is stated above,however I do not agree that you absolutely should have radiation .I believe you should get as much information about the affects radiation can have on you,the limitations having radiation now if you don't have an invasive cancer and develop a recurrence will be,but most importantly what alternatives are out there. The diagnosis can be really scary and too often we rush into treatment without all the info necessary for a truly informed choice on our treatment and with things like radiation you can not go back and change your mind.There are times when we don't have time to research our options but we must always get a second opinion and a complete explanation of why that treatment is best for you and what the results and percentage of recurrence you face if you don't have the particular treatment and as you did here reach out to support from women who have traveled this road ahead of you.just being able to open up with all our fears doubts and even anger can take a huge weight off your shoulders. Thoughts and prayers are with you

  • Hi, I had a lump, clear margins, no lymph involvement. I only have two more sessions and I finish radiotherapy. Yes, there is the possibility radiation could harm, but I know for definite I had cancer - my number one worry just now. It's also reality not a possible threat sometime in the future. Radiotherapy is, I'm told, very effective at killing off residual cancer cells, and so I accepted it as part of the process. With it I have a ninety to ninety five per cent chance of staying cancer free in that breast. Tamoxifen added two more per cent on. It's about giving yourself the best chance of recovery possible. Most medical procedures/medication have side effects but if we need them now, we have to take a chance. Good luck x

You may also like...