Basically I was diagnosed with breast cancer on Thursday. In the past month the lump has grown from not sure if that’s a lump to it in-operable at the size it is and stretching my skin. I have been told by the doctor I need chemo to shrink the cancer before they can operate. I am also going for a CT scan and bone marrow test this Tuesday.
The thing I am worried about is why haven’t they told me to get a mastectomy? Do they think it has spread and this is why the want to start chemo straight away?
It is fairly common in the case of a larger tumor to give chemo prior to surgery. This is called neo-adjuavant chemotherapy. In some cases it can reduce what would otherwise be an inoperable tumor to a size that can be completely removed. This plan has the additional advantage, in the case of a fast-growing tumor, of addressing any possible spread (matastasis) or microinvasions (tiny clusters of malignant cells as yet too small to be detected) right away, through administration of a sytemic tx (one affecting the whole body), rather than waiting until after sugery and/or radiation (local txs).
This does not necessarily mean that your doctors believe your cancer HAS spread. It is routine to do additional tests (CT scan, bone scans, etc.) to check for evidence of distant metastases. The results of those tests, as well as lymph node biopsy to look for the presence or absence of lymph node involvement, will allow them to determine the Stage of your BC, and to make recommendations regarding a treatment plan most appropriate in yor specific case.
It sounds as though you are in goods hands and that the order of treatment suggested is correct. However, if you are not getting all of your questions answered, or still feel uncertain about the treatment plan that has been recommended, you could request an appoinment for a second opinion consultation. (The main drawback to this would be further delay in getting started with tx of what you have described as a a fast-growing tumor, which is likely to be an aggressive grade of BC.)
Firstly, I wanted to let you know how sorry I am that you have received a diagnosis of breast cancer and hope we can help reduce at least some of the anxiety you are currently feeling
BlueButterfly has given some wonderful, comprehensive advice, but wanted to added a couple of additional points as well.
You've indicated that your tumor has grown in size from a small lump, to being inoperable in only 4 weeks.
This is an indication of quite an aggressive, invasive cancer.
If your medical team has used the word "inoperable", this means that the cancer cannot be removed at this time by surgery alone which I hope answers your question as to why you have not been offered the choice of a mastectomy.However, it's important to know that "inoperable" doesn't mean "untreatable"
The term inoperable usually occurs if the cancer is too large in size to be removed so other options are considered as to how to shrink the cancer to a size where it can be surgically treated which is why you are having chemotherapy straight away to shrink the tumor down.
Please try not to worry too much (if you can) about mastectomies or if the tumor has spread as it is so easy to become overwhelmed
The thing to concentrate on at the moment is shrinking that tumor down. Once this is achieved, a whole list of options will open up for you and your team will certainly discuss this with you fully.
Please keep in contact if you can to let us know how you get on and I wish you the very best
I don't have any additional medical information to provide you, but I just wanted to add my good wishes for you to bluebutterfly and Nalani's.
I'm really sorry about your cancer diagnosis also but I hope that you will try to remain positive about beating this disease. I truly believe our attitude has a lot to do with how we recover, so as hard as it is, please try to keep your spirits up and always hopeful. Rely on your doctors to do what's best for you as far as treatment and on the support of family and friends. Our thoughts are with you and we do care.
Sending you a big hug from Michigan ( ),
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