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Avatar universal

breast cancer risk

I am wondering if my family history is strong enough for genetic testing. Here is a run down......Father's sister had bc and now pancreatic cancer, and many of his sisters had to have hystectomies. (Mother's side) My grandmother and grandfather both had or have a sister with breast cancer. I have been having some breast issues and was just curious.

Thanks
14 Responses
326352 tn?1310997895
What exactly are you gaining to know if you are BRCA positive?  Yes, you have a strong possibility of cancer.  So, that means you should be vigilant in knowing your breasts, doing self-exams, seeing an OB regularly.  Being cautious is good.  Being proactive can be good, but what if you never develop breast cancer?  Would the removal of your breasts make that better?   Would it just ease your mind?

I didn't imagine I would develop breast cancer until I was in my 50s, but here I am not even 40 and have a new man-made boob in the place of the old one.  I knew there was a strong family correlation, my dad had prostate cancer (estrogen sensitive cancer, too) and mom and my maternal aunt had breast cancer.

Talk with the genetic counselors and see what they have to say.  Listen to yourself on what you hope to obtain by knowing the answer.  And remember, not all women who are positive for the gene get cancer and there are many women who don't have the gene that do get cancer.  And answer the question to yourself:  What will knowing do for me, what am I prepared to do about the results?  Will this make me happier?

It's not a pretty place to be, but you have to decide for yourself what you are going to do with the answers.  That in itself will determine if you truly want to know the answer.

Good luck to you!
L
326352 tn?1310997895
And one last thing...if you are having breast issues, don't wait.  Get someone to check out whatever it is that concerns you.  It may be nothing, or not.  Best to have the experts judge for themselves.

Hope it's nothing!
Avatar universal
Hi and thanks for your post. Here's the story since Jan 2006 I have been having a recurring breast infection? in my right breast. I had a lumpectomy b/c I also had a lump and a duct removed that was infected. Not cancer but the tissue around the duct was "abnormal" but again it was not cancerous either. I have taken antibotics and nothing will get rid of it. I was told at 15 I had fibro. change. I am use to sore and tender breast but since this all started it has been unbearable at times. I have swollen lymph nodes above my collarbone that have been there since this started and recently I have developed a stabbing pain that even goes up into my shoulder area and a very deep itch. I have had a mammo. and an ultrasound and other than asymmetric heterogenously dense breast they saw nothing that would cause this. I am 33. My doctors are concerned about as they say this "problem area" but not sure what to do. So I was wondering if I am going to have problems down the road.  Again thanks
326352 tn?1310997895
Sounds like a massive infection.  Are you seeing a breast surgeon, OB, regular MD?  Who have you consulted with?  And also, if you aren't getting answers, please ask for a referral elsewhere and let someone else see if they can determine what the problem is.

You have a problem, not sure it's cancer or cancer related, however, it doesn't sound like it is going to help you any.  So, continue to seek answers.  

Swollen lymph nodes are a sign of infection.  Have you been checked for mono?  This could be a phase of your life (like a recurrant infection that will eventually resolve itself) or it could be a signal of something more.

What all are you doing to help alleviate the problem besides antibiotics?  I'm probably not helpful, sometimes we go through things without understanding why.  Keep trying to resolve this.  And I hope you can find answers.  (right now, though, I doubt the BRCA testing will give you answers to this).

Lisa
Avatar universal
Hi Lisa

When this all started my ob/gyn of 17 yrs would express my nipple and it would get better and then in 2-3 months it was back I would return to her and she would do it over and on a couple of occasions she put me on antibotics. The last time I saw her she said I think you have Padgett's Disease and referred me to a cancer center. When I got there they did a breast exam and said that they didn't think so but it would be 6 weeks before I could have a mammo done. I just was not about to wait so I went to a diagnostic center where my aunt worked. I had a mammo that day that showed the hetergen. dense breast and I also had an u/s done as well. I went on from there to a general surgeon who did a lumpectomy and removed the duct on 11-07-07. About a month ago I was gettting undressed and saw a drip of water on my nipple and barely touched it and there was a large amount of this thick white sticky infection? that came out. So now I am back to where I was.

When I was 15 I had my first lump that resloved itself. The funny thing is the infection, 1st lump, and terrible pain are and always have been only in the right breast. I have discomfort in the left breast as well but not as bad. When this all started is when it all went haywire. I noticed the nodes, more pain than I am use to in each breast and strange enough my sugar levels are running either to low or too high. I have never had nor has anyone in my family had diabetes. I guess that is why I have to have a nap everyday b/c I am so tired. It doesn't matter if I sleep 30 minutes or 30 hours I am still tired.

That is one of the reasons I ask about genetic testing. The fact that I have always had problems with my right breast bothers me. I also worry about my aunts. My dad's sister had a right mastectomy about 3-4 yrs ago and they got everything. She now has stage IV pancreatic cancer. Both of my mom's parent's sisters have or have had bc. My mom's dad had colon cancer and my father's dad passed away from bladder cancer. Most of the females in my family have had hystertomies because of various fibroids they had.

I am not doing anthing right now b/c it is doable. I use hot compresses on my breast and take an OTC pain reliever if it's to bad. I go back to the surgeon on Monday. I saw a another surgeon last week that says that it is just part of having fibrocystic change. I have news for them all it is at times unbearable and I want it fixed. Thanks for your help any advice? I sure will listen.

Thanks
Debbie
Avatar universal
Hi Lisa

When this all started my ob/gyn of 17 yrs would express my nipple and it would get better and then in 2-3 months it was back I would return to her and she would do it over and on a couple of occasions she put me on antibotics. The last time I saw her she said I think you have Padgett's Disease and referred me to a cancer center. When I got there they did a breast exam and said that they didn't think so but it would be 6 weeks before I could have a mammo done. I just was not about to wait so I went to a diagnostic center where my aunt worked. I had a mammo that day that showed the hetergen. dense breast and I also had an u/s done as well. I went on from there to a general surgeon who did a lumpectomy and removed the duct on 11-07-07. About a month ago I was gettting undressed and saw a drip of water on my nipple and barely touched it and there was a large amount of this thick white sticky infection? that came out. So now I am back to where I was.

When I was 15 I had my first lump that resloved itself. The funny thing is the infection, 1st lump, and terrible pain are and always have been only in the right breast. I have discomfort in the left breast as well but not as bad. When this all started is when it all went haywire. I noticed the nodes, more pain than I am use to in each breast and strange enough my sugar levels are running either to low or too high. I have never had nor has anyone in my family had diabetes. I guess that is why I have to have a nap everyday b/c I am so tired. It doesn't matter if I sleep 30 minutes or 30 hours I am still tired.

That is one of the reasons I ask about genetic testing. The fact that I have always had problems with my right breast bothers me. I also worry about my aunts. My dad's sister had a right mastectomy about 3-4 yrs ago and they got everything. She now has stage IV pancreatic cancer. Both of my mom's parent's sisters have or have had bc. My mom's dad had colon cancer and my father's dad passed away from bladder cancer. Most of the females in my family have had hystertomies because of various fibroids they had.

I am not doing anthing right now b/c it is doable. I use hot compresses on my breast and take an OTC pain reliever if it's to bad. I go back to the surgeon on Monday. I saw a another surgeon last week that says that it is just part of having fibrocystic change. I have news for them all it is at times unbearable and I want it fixed. Thanks for your help any advice? I sure will listen.

Thanks
Debbie
326352 tn?1310997895
General surgeon or breast specialist surgeon?  Is there a doc that specializes in breast surgery in your area?  

Ok...having read all that...I think you might want to go talk with the genetic counselors.  At a minimum, if you come up positive for the gene, you might have enough ammunition to ditch those hurtful breasts.  I had fibrocystic disease, but NOT like that.  I'm so sorry, that truly sounds unpleasant to have to deal with on a continual basis.

I would also suggest you make an appt with an endocrinologist and let them have a look at you, especially the weird blood sugars.  That's not good, definitely.  

Can you take the mammo report back to the cancer center and get a consult now?  Are there any other docs in the area that could look at the report for you and see if there is something that can be done to help?  Keep searching for someone to help.  I think there must be some underlying problem going on....you just need to find a doc that can help.  It may take a while, though.  Stay strong and be forceful about getting some resolution.

Hope some of this can give you direction.  
Lisa
Avatar universal
Let me 1st say you have been very helpful.

The doctor that I am seeing now is a general surgeon. He is wonderful and he is the one that did my lumpectomy. I need to research information on a breast surgeon and an endocrinologist as well.

As crazy as this sounds I am at the point I could care less if they did say I needed a mastectomy. I am tired and other than all of this I am healthy.

I go tommorrow to see him so I will let you know what is said. My family doctor is the best and he is pushing me along. He thinks I have a deep tissue infection that antibotics just aren't going to cure. He said I should consider "reconstruction surgery". This is coming from a man who I had to beg to give my 10 yr old son a referral to see a ENT for his tonsils. I have always been been told to listen to those who you trust and who know you the best.

Thanks for all of your help and if you think of anything else or something I should ask let me know.

Thanks
Debbie

326352 tn?1310997895
Hey, if it's not good for the body, then by all means, remove it!

Sounds like a pretty good thing.  Let me know what the docs say tomorrow.  And I think your family doc might have a clue.  :)  Does he think that removing the breasts where the infection might exist will help or hinder the cure?

Something to think on.  And reconstruction surgery is when they whack off the breast and then put a new one back on in one fell swoop.  talk later...

lisa
Avatar universal
Hi Lisa

Well I just got back from the doctor and I am so mad!!!! I go in and he does a breast exam and there was no discharge this time so he says this must be part of the fibrocystic change. But when I do have discharge there are ducts that are dilated. My breast are swollen and very very painful. They stay this way. I am tired of taking vitamin E, evening of primrose etc etc.

I told him that I have to have something done. I don't know what but something?

Do I need to just take it as fibrocystic change or do I stay after this? With the family history and the breast issues for over 2 yrs is this a sign that this may turn into something more severe down the road? What would you do?

I am to see him again in 6 weeks.

Any advice would be great.

Talk to you later
Debbie
326352 tn?1310997895
Well, I had fibrocystic disease (whatever you call it) pretty much all my adult life, although never with discharge, but usually very lumpy and painful especially around AF.  

I *knew* at some point I would have to fight breast cancer, but never thought it would be this soon.  Mom had it, her sister, my maternal grandma had some kind of cancer, dad had estrogen related prostate cancer, my mom's bro has now been diagnosed with prostate cancer.  We just have some fun all around.  I was hoping by some fortune of luck that I would inherit my paternal grandma's gene's and just go senile at 95.  Not a bad way.  She was healthy up to 92-93.

I would keep pushing the problem.  Try to write up as much detail of your issues during the next 6 weeks of pain (scaled 1-10), are you still having periods? and if so, how does the pain and/or discharge relate to a cycle, if no periods, does the pain seem to be cyclical?  Does E and primrose oil help?  If so, does it help more some times and less some times?  Oh, and have they checked you for ovarian cysts?  Sometimes when you have one, you have other related problems.  I had a fibroid growing on my uterus during this time...unwelcome little fellow.  PCOS?  Have you been able to get a consult with a endocrinologist yet?  They might have some advice (sometimes they have cross-trained info).

Even with just fibrocystic changes, they need to be monitored, which is what they are doing...a wait and see approach.  Usually that's ok, but in your case, you seem to have much more involvement of other issues (maybe not cancer related, but definitely state of health and wellness related).  

I've a friend that has had I know 2 fibroids removed in the last 4 years, but I don't think even her issues are nearly like yours.  I'll see if I can talk with her...she has a mom who had breast cancer and then had other breast issues after her 5 year mark.  See what she did and has done.

If you've not seen an honest to God breast surgeon, get a reference for one and get his/her opinion.  If there is a teaching hospital near you (college related), then see if you can get a consult there.

Where 'bouts in KY?  Gee, I have family just on the other side in Pennington Gap, VA (near the border with TN, KY and VA).  Some days I'm amazed at how small a world this really is!

Anyway, I would keep pushing if not for cancer, then just for some relief.  Dollars to donuts you will eventually find cancer a foe in your life...hopefully not anytime soon.

Have you had kids or a pregnancy?  Sometimes that can related to things.   You don't have to answer, if it's too personal.  Ok with me.  Just think on these questions and about how they are related to what you are going through.

I'd be upset and pretty aggrevated.  I've been blessed with many wonderful docs and only 1 jerk who actually is a really good surgeon, we just didn't agree.  And I just went and found me a group that I liked.  Sometimes it takes a bit to find the person who is willing to help.  Like my radiation oncologist (who I LOVE and get to visit with this week).  She's a doll at helping me with the lymphedema related issues of all this.  She's been my advocate for physical therapy and the bandaging that I need.  She'll be pretty upset with me...I've put back on my 10 pounds I lost.  oops.  Still working that one.

Just keep harking and asking about referals to some specialists.  The more info you can give to your regular doc about the occurance and pain amount you actually are experiencing, the better.  Make sure you keep following up (I'm sure you will!).  

Side note...my kids now think I can see behind my head.  Little do they know I'm listening to everything they do!  I'm about to bust laughing at their reaction to my warnings.  Ok, funny over.

Get thee to another specialist and get some advice.  Keep trying and be your own advocate if you have to.  It's a pain, but then again...which is worse?

Sorry this appt was not very helpful.  I realize it can be frustrating.  Deep breath, tomorrow is another day.  

Lisa
326352 tn?1310997895
Oops, I thought you had mentioned a child.  Duh!!!!  Sorry, brain cramp.  I have them a lot.

Ok, it's time to drag these youngin's out of the tub before they shrink anymore and get everyone to bed.

!
Lisa
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