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All TopicsForum: Just Diagnosed → Topic: "Metastatic" Breast Cancer

Topic: "Metastatic" Breast Cancer

Forum: Just Diagnosed — Discuss next steps, options, and resources.

Posted on: Jun 12, 2012 10:27AM

LoriBach wrote:

I had a Fine Needle Biopsy of my right axillary lymph node because several appeared inflamed on an MRI.  I spoke to the surgeon after the results came in and she had informed me that the biopsy came out postive.  I knew from the previous office visit that an Axillary Dissection was in my future should this be the case.

Today I picked up the pathology report while I was at the hosptial.  The pathologist used the word "metastatic"... is breast cancer considered metastatic when it spreads to the lymph nodes?

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Jun 12, 2012 10:40AM, edited Jun 12, 2012 10:40AM by Chickadee

Typically the word metastatic is used to describe cancer that has spread beyond the breast and lymph nodes. For example to the bones, liver, lungs or brain. It would then be stage IV.

I'm in such bad shape, I'm wearing prescription underwear." Phyllis Diller 1917-2012

Dx 9/1/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 12, 2012 10:44AM Josiekat wrote:

Hi Lori. I just had my node dissection a month ago and I am recovering nicely. I had crazy cancer in just about every local node possible...including a couple that are inoperable. I remember seeing and hearing metastatic in the beginning, but to be stage four, the cancer must set up shop in a distant place, like bones or organs or distant nodes. It is confusing. Talk to your Onc, they can translate all of the craziness. Good luck to you!

Dx 12/6/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIc, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 12, 2012 10:45AM LoriBach wrote:

That is what I thought.  But since I have not had any pet or CT scans how would they know that?

Lori

Dx 5/14/2012, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIb, Grade 3, 1/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Targeted Therapy HerceptinSurgery 07/10/2012 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Chemotherapy 08/15/2012 carboplatin, TaxotereHormonal Therapy 01/11/2013 TamoxifenSurgery 04/05/2013 Reconstruction: Latissimus Dorsi flap (Both)
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Jun 12, 2012 10:45AM yorkiemom wrote:

That's my understanding also. Movement to breast lymph nodes is considered a localized metastasis and is typically Stage II or III I think.

Life is what happens while we're making other plans.

Dx 10/18/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIa, Grade 1, 2/21 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jun 12, 2012 10:47AM LoriBach wrote:

Thank you Josie - I have been sitting here freaking out...just the word "Metastatic" is enough to freak me out.

Lori

Dx 5/14/2012, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIb, Grade 3, 1/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Targeted Therapy HerceptinSurgery 07/10/2012 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Chemotherapy 08/15/2012 carboplatin, TaxotereHormonal Therapy 01/11/2013 TamoxifenSurgery 04/05/2013 Reconstruction: Latissimus Dorsi flap (Both)
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Jun 12, 2012 10:48AM rava wrote:

In my path report it says 7 out of 14 nodes are metastatic. It means that the cancer had gone to 7 nodes. I knew before I went to surgery that I had positive nodes. The surgeon then removed "all" axillary nodes.

Hopes this clears things for you.

MX 11.8.11 no recon. Medullary carcinoma. Ki67 84% starting chemo 12.16.11 FEC 100 x 4 Taxotere x 4. 17 cycles of Herceptin. 25 rads.

Dx 10/26/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIb, Grade 3, 7/13 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Jun 12, 2012 10:50AM LoriBach wrote:

Thank you everyone...I think I am breathing again!Cool

Lori

Dx 5/14/2012, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIb, Grade 3, 1/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+Targeted Therapy HerceptinSurgery 07/10/2012 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Chemotherapy 08/15/2012 carboplatin, TaxotereHormonal Therapy 01/11/2013 TamoxifenSurgery 04/05/2013 Reconstruction: Latissimus Dorsi flap (Both)
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Jun 12, 2012 11:21AM Fitz33 wrote:

Lori, My path report also said I had metastatic but my NO said on a path report it doesn't mean the same as what we think, only that it spread to the nodes, making me a stage 3. Not to worry. I think she even said she wished they would come up with another term on the path reports as everyone reads that and freaks. Check with your MO or NO.

Dx 9/14/2010, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIIa, Grade 3, 9/23 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+Targeted Therapy HerceptinChemotherapy carboplatin, TaxotereRadiation Therapy ExternalSurgery 04/23/2011 Lumpectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right)Hormonal Therapy 08/31/2011 Arimidex
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Jun 12, 2012 11:22AM Chickadee wrote:

I'm thinking I may have heard the phrase " local metastasis" to refer to the lymph node involvement. Someone can correct me. It can cause unnecessary freaking out on the part of the patient. So you wish they'd be careful in their descriptions.

I'm in such bad shape, I'm wearing prescription underwear." Phyllis Diller 1917-2012

Dx 9/1/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 1, 2012 03:04PM mom22ja wrote:

Do they have to do surgery to determine if the cancer has spread to the nodes?  I just had CT scan of chest, pelvis and abdomen and whole body bone scan that came out ok.  I have so much to learn!

Dx 6/26/2012, 5cm, Stage IIb, Grade 3, 0/7 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2-Surgery 07/26/2012 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Right); Prophylactic Mastectomy (Left); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Chemotherapy 08/23/2012 Adriamycin, CytoxanChemotherapy 10/21/2012 TaxolRadiation Therapy 01/10/2013 External
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Jul 1, 2012 03:18PM Kam170 wrote:

Mom22 - pre-surgery, I had an ulstrasound of my nodes.  The Radiologist called it the "gold standard," but then said there was a 20% false negative rate.  Not so gold, but in my case, I was negative with the US, and negative post SNB.  I don't know if a CT or PetScan would supercede an US in these matters.

BRCA2+ Oncotype Score 39 ooph/TE exchange/port removal planned 8/30/2012

Dx 11/11/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage Ia, Grade 3, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 12/20/2011 Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Left)Surgery 01/20/2012 Mastectomy (Left); Prophylactic Mastectomy (Right); Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Both)Chemotherapy 03/01/2012 Adriamycin, CytoxanChemotherapy 04/25/2012 TaxolChemotherapy 06/27/2012 carboplatinHormonal Therapy 08/12/2012 Aromasin
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Jul 1, 2012 03:18PM AnnNYC wrote:

Chickadee is right, "local metastasis" is a term for breast cancer in the axillary (armpit) lymph nodes. "Distant metastasis" is the term for what we all think of when we hear the word "metastatic" (Stage IV/ spread to bone or other distant site).

Dx 3/9/2007, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 12, 2012 06:53AM Melissarg333 wrote:

My sister in law was just diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer that has speed to all her bones. She is mother of 3 and only 34. I am on here to try to get some knolage of what our family is about to help her get threw. She has started double radiation treatments and should be starting chemo as early as tomorrow . She has a dog and a cat at home, and I would like to know if anybody else has had to get rid of their pets during chemo? Will the pets germs make her more susceptible to infection?

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Jul 12, 2012 02:39PM Jejik wrote:

I also have metastatic breast cancer and my pets were a big comfort to me during chemo. I have never heard of someone having to get rid of their pets during treatment. I lived with both cats and dogs.

I am a breast cancer fighter, not a survivor.

Dx 9/21/2010, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 1/10 nodes, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2+Surgery Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Left)Chemotherapy carboplatin, TaxotereRadiation Therapy ExternalTargeted Therapy Herceptin
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Jul 13, 2012 12:11PM Angelfalls wrote:

I have mets, am currently doing chemo and my cat is sitting on my knee as I type! I haven't heard of anyone getting rid of their pets either. Just apply the usual hygiene precautions.

Dx 3/2003, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIa, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2-Dx 9/15/2006, 5cm, Stage IVDx 10/5/2011, Stage IV, metsSurgery 04/01/2003 Mastectomy (Right); Lymph Node Removal (Right); Reconstruction: Breast implants (permanent), Latissimus Dorsi flap (Right)Chemotherapy 04/30/2003 Cytoxan, Ellence, fluorouracil, TaxotereRadiation Therapy 11/15/2003 ExternalHormonal Therapy 01/05/2004 TamoxifenRadiation Therapy 11/01/2006 ExternalSurgery 01/31/2007 Prophylactic Ovary Removal (Both)Hormonal Therapy 02/28/2007 ArimidexChemotherapy 01/05/2012 XelodaChemotherapy 03/20/2012 TaxolHormonal Therapy 10/24/2012 AromasinTargeted Therapy 05/07/2013 AfinitorHormonal Therapy 01/07/2014 FemaraChemotherapy 01/31/2014 Navelbine
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Jul 13, 2012 12:19PM etherize wrote:

mom22ja, the way they determine whether cancer has spread to the nodes is usually a sentinel node biopsy (SNB).  They'll inject you with a dye or radioactive tracer (or both) and that will "light up" the node(s) closest to the tumor.  They'll remove that one (or two) and see if cancer is in it.

Often they'll do the SNB at the same time as the surgery to remove your primary tumor, especially if you have a lumpectomy.  

I had my CT scans after that surgery.  So you may have already had the surgery and the SNB.  In that case, your pathology report would say whether cancer had spread to the nodes.  Ask your breast surgeon (BS) or medical oncologist (MO).

Dx 8/17/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIb, Grade 3, 1/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery 09/14/2011 Lumpectomy (Left); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection (Left)Surgery 10/17/2011 Lymph Node Removal: Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Left)Chemotherapy 12/19/2011 Cytoxan, fluorouracil, methotrexateRadiation Therapy 05/07/2012 ExternalHormonal Therapy 06/19/2012 Arimidex
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Jul 13, 2012 02:58PM Kathy044 wrote:

etherize, Lori had a fine needle biopsy of the inflamed node which was done before surgery, the pathology report of that test showed cancer, so SNB will not be required. 

Lori my fnb pathology report read: "Positive for metastatic carcinoma - consistent with breast origin", (along with some other scary stuff from the microscopic description). I had an axillary dissection the same time as lumpectomy, so they put in one drain and I stayed overnight in hospital. 15 nodes were removed, only the one turned out to be positive. My BS said, looks like that one node did it's job ie prevented the distant spread of the cancer.

Are you heading for surgery or will they be doing the dissection before neo adjuvant chemo? Either way it is nice to be able to know exactly what is happening with our cancers up front instead of worrying later.

Kathy

Dx 10/2009, ILC, Stage IIa, 1/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-Surgery Lumpectomy (Right)Chemotherapy Hormonal Therapy ArimidexRadiation Therapy 05/01/2010 External
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Jul 13, 2012 10:19PM ridergirl wrote:

Just had a "chemo education" class last week and someone asked that question about pets. Like others have said here, we were told we absolutely do not need to get rid of any pets just wash hands after touching them, and if u have a cat
u r off litter box duty :-)

Dx 6/25/2012, 6cm+, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-Hormonal Therapy 07/09/2012 TamoxifenChemotherapy 10/04/2012 Adriamycin, CytoxanChemotherapy 11/16/2012 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, fluorouracilChemotherapy 01/25/2013 TaxolRadiation Therapy 02/11/2013 External