Breast Cancer: Stage 3 & 4 Community
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Contradictory treatment options

I first posted on one of the forums in February 2009. I am from the UK and had been to hospital to have a breast lump examined. On my initial visit, I had a mammograms with various views taken and an ultrasound. I did not have a biopsy. On a subsequent visit, I had a manual examination. A year later in January 2010, I had a repeat mammogram, but no ultrasound. I was then officially discharged from their system and told not to come back until I was fifty. I was 43. I was told I had fibrocystic condition and that the other breast would start to mirror the right breast.

The lump in the right breast kept getting bigger until it basically became all lump and I was in pain. I rang the breast clinic and they agreed to see me in January of this year. I saw a registrar, not the consultatnt I had seen on my previous visits, he seemed very concerned and requested the consultant. I told him it was just fibrocystic condition.

After the tests/biopsy had been done, I was told it was lobular carcinoma ( I believe there was DCIS as well) I had a bilateral matectomy and all my lymph nodes removed on the right affected side. 13 of 20 were positive and the tumour was deemed grade 3 and hormone sensitive. My left breast which had not been screened was cancer free. I had a sample of lymph nodes taken on the left (13 again) and there were all clear.I had clear CT and bone scans.

The surgeon did tell me that looking back on my ultrsound scans from January 2009, that a biopsy should have been taken and would have probably shown up LCIS at the least. I am very disppointed obviously that this has happened to me, but I am not taking it any further, it was a mistake and at the end of the day  - your health is your wealth. However I have asked for my surgical care (reconstruction) to be taken over by a different hospital.

I then had six treatmentments of .chemotherapy FEC-Docetaxol and 25 radio treatments. I had to go to a sign off meeting with the surgical consultant who had missed the cancer. He stated at the meeting that my best treatment option would be to have my ovaries removed (which would mean, I would definately be post menopausal and could go on arimadex instead of tamoxifen, which he stated was a slightly better drug) and have my womb removed, which would mean that I could stay stay on the drug for 10 years as there would be no risk if endometrial cancer.He also stated that I would have regular CT and bone scans as I was high risk.

Since then, I have been to my first review appointment with my oncologist. I explained what the surgical consultant had proposed and she disagreed. She stated that there was no benefit in having my ovaries out and she stated that she would not put me on arimadex for 10 years. She stated that we did not know at this stage if my ovaries were working and even If I took my period back, she would not change my current regime - which I believe is two years of tamoxifen with a possible switch to arimadex after two years depending on oestrogen tests. She also stated that I would have no further CT or bone scans as she does not go looking for trouble. However if she felt something or I indicated something of concern she would scan me.

Sorry, this has turned into a bit of a book. I would be grateful for your opinions as I'm not sure what is the best course of action.

Thanking you in advance
1 Responses
Avatar universal
Hello and hope you are doing well.

Understand your predicament. Arimadex is the preferred choice over tamoxifen in post menopausal women. The long term recurrence rates of cancer are less with Arimadex than tamoxifen, though it does cause bone thinning and repetitive fractures. You can have the functional status of your ovaries tested now so that you can decide on the options. Also, a bone scan would be mandatory if you are considering Arimadex.

Hope this helped and do keep us posted.
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