I had written last week about the core biopsy and the car accident I had almost 3 years ago whereas I thought the lump was a hematoma caused by the accident. So the biopsy came back positive. Now I am being sent to get a bonescan and catscan I guess to see if it had spread and I wanted to know if that is normal procedure. The surgeon wants to put a port in my chest and give me 4 months of chemo and then do a lumpectomy if the tumor shrinks down. My tumor is 8 cm and my concern now is that because it is so big that is must be advanced cancer and also because I experience discomfort there as well as a burning sensation. The surgeon said that it didn't feel as if my lymph nodes were swollen and the size doesn't designate the stage or mean it is more severe. Is this standard procedure and does the fact that they want to do chemo first and then the surgery a positive sign? Now I am also experiencing breathing difficulty but think perhaps it is anxiety and stress induced but am afraid it has passed into my lungs. Is this also normal behavior? I simply don't know what is normal to feel or how to act. I feel as if I am going to die and my cancer has spread and I have no hope. Is it normal to feel this way? All the symptoms I had were not symptomatic of cancer so I convinced myself I couldn't have it but I was wrong. I asked the surgeon if it has spread could he help me and he said yes but I felt as if he were lying and didn't think I could handle the truth. Is there hope?
Dear georgy97: An 8 cm tumor is a large tumor but that doesn't mean you have advanced cancer. However, it is a good idea to do all the testing so that you know what you are dealing with. It is becoming quite common to give chemotherapy before surgery, particularly in large tumors. It can reduce the tumor very effectively, making the surgery easier. Breast cancer is very treatable, even if it is advanced. It sounds as though the care you are receiving so far is right on track. When you get to this point, you should discuss with your breast specialist the pros and cons of lumpectomy versus mastectomy. Yes, there is hope.
there is certainly hope: 8 cm is big, and it's bigger than one likes to find it. On the other hand, if it got that big and didn't spread, it's telling you it may not be a very aggressive variety. To start chemo before surgery is not always done, but in some situations it is, especially if the tumor is very large, like yours. I'd assume that the surgery you have might depend on response to chemo: if it shrinks a lot, and if you prefer it, a lumpectomy followed by radiation could be done. If it doesn't shrink much, then likely a mastectomy would be the better choice, with or without radiation to the chest, depending on the final microscopic analysis. If your other tests come out ok, and there's no sign of it outside of the breast and lymph node area, then you can still be considered curable!!!
I am so sorry you are SO afraid. I had a very bad accident 8 years ago and know somewhat of your anxiety. Continue to have hope and keep us informed. Be strong and confident and remember you are the boss of your body, accept no care but the BEST!
A large tumor is frightening but it does not mean the end! Four years ago I was diagnosed with a 12 c.m. aggressive invasive ductal breast cancer. After chemo, bilateral mastectomy, radiation, and more chemo I am still alive and well. You can beat the odds, too!
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