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Diagnosed with stage 3A? What are my chances of complete cure?

Mtayyab522
Mtayyab522 Member Posts: 1
edited January 2017 in Stage III Breast Cancer

i have been recently diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.Went through a mastectomy couple of weeks ago.Everything has changed i have no idea what will happen now.I had a 9cm ILC with 2 positive nodes.I want to know how good are my chances of a complete cure? Or are there any? I want to live a long healthy life.I am 48 right now.Any survivors out there?

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Comments

  • Artista928
    Artista928 Member Posts: 1,458

    You came to the best board for info and support. There is no cure for bc. All of us can only hope that the treatments we got put us in remission for the rest of our lives. There are all a lot of survivours out there even with original large tumours.

    Check out the ILC board for sure and post your story there too. So many knowlegable and friendly folks on this board that can share experience and give you advice to help you work with your medical team so you may have better chance of being one who will be in remission for life. A combo of this board and my team really helped me figure out my journey.

    I'd go to your profile and fill out what you know in your sig. That way people can look and see if they are close to what you have and can definitely chime in. I'm not ILC so while being stage IIIA like you, I can't quite chime in because I'm not familiar with ILC, only IDC. Hopefully ILC stage III folks will chime in. Post there too.

    Best wishes.

  • elainetherese
    elainetherese Member Posts: 1,625

    Hi!

    I'm like Artista; I was diagnosed with Stage IIIA IDC so I really can't speak to ILC. I also agree with Artista that there is no cure for cancer. At best, we can hope to remain with NED (no evidence of disease) for the rest of our lives. I was diagnosed at age 46; I am currently 49. I have finished active treatment (surgery, chemo, targeted therapy, radiation), and am now taking hormonal therapy (Aromasin) to keep the beast at bay. Otherwise, I keep going to work, looking after my kids, and living life.

    I also agree with Artista; for input on ILC, I'd check out the ILC boards if I were you. Best wishes!

  • barbe1958
    barbe1958 Member Posts: 7,605

    I am now stage IV but have seen HUGE treatment improvements since my first diagnosis 8 years ago. I expect to live a long (scary at times) life and enjoy watching my grandchildren grow up. Grand #6 is due this January. You are not alone.

  • outfield
    outfield Member Posts: 235

    I wish we could give you the answer you want. We all want that answer too. Look at the threads with posts from 5 year survivors, etc - there's some inspiration there. I'm there on the 5 year thread, and I'm actually 2 weeks away from hitting the 6 year mark from finishing treatment.

    There are terms you'll often hear in lay press or from patients, like "cancer free." That's not a medical term. There's just no way any of us will ever know we are cancer free. The only ones who know for sure are the ones who know they aren't. The doctors can't say any differently, at least not truthfully. What researchers look for is "overall survival" and "disease-free survival" at given intervals with given treatments, and it's all percentages within a group. They can't predict the outcome for one person, only the chance of an outcome. There are some tumour characteristics that increase or decrease your chances, but all they do is change the percentages.

    If it's just your chances you want to know, your oncologist may be a more reliable source of information than the internet. If not, there are sites where you can input your cancer's characteristics and they'll spit out information - I don't know if there's any way to know if their math and supporting study info is accurate, but they're there.

  • meow13
    meow13 Member Posts: 1,363

    Well my friend Minh is closing in on 20+ years stage 3c many many positive nodes, er+ of being NED. I think she was 33 when diagnosed not sure what kind of cancer other than she said her mammogram lite up like a Christmas tree.

  • lkc
    lkc Member Posts: 180

    hi there, so sorry you are facing this. I was diagnosed with a stage IIIC diagnosis almost 12 Yrs ago and am fine. I keep in contact privately with a group of long timer Stage IIIers, some with ILC and we're all doin great after 10 yrs.

    It does all suck, but the reality is we get through it and often times live long times with just the fading memories of BC

    Try to keep in mind that as stage III we get aggressive txs which reduce our chance of recurrence. I know it's hard, but you will get through this time.

    God Bless .

  • kicks
    kicks Member Posts: 319

    As others have said - at this time - there is no 'cure' for BC. NED (No Evidence of Disease) is the best we can hope for.

    I know nothing about ILC - I'm IBC. I'm not Stage IIIa but Stage IIIc. Had 19 pos. nodes. DXd Aug 2009 - I'm still here living/loving every precious second I have and still NED.

    I never worried about being Stage III as IBC is never DXd before Stage III and often Stage IV. It was IBC that I was concerned about. I am a believer in the power of 'Positive Thinking' and also the power of 'Negative Thinking'. I choose being positive. I'm now 70, a very active 'outdoor' woman and firmly intend on 'outliving' 1 Grandmother and 3 Great Grandmothers who all lived into their mid 90's as very active women. Especially Mom F. who rode her mare daily.

    No one knows what the future holds for any one. When I 'hit' a year post DX, all my Drs told me that they never expected me to make it a year. We laughed a lot about them being happy to be made a 'fool' of by me and teaching them a lesson - the future is never known/set. There is an old WW II song that hits my thoughts - "accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative". Also living today has so many positive developments that we are fortunate to have that were not available not terribly long ago - 'tomorrow' will bring more.


  • TectonicShift
    TectonicShift Member Posts: 102

    .

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,067

    Oh yes I remember Kicks & Tectonic. Now that song will be in my head all day.

    I had a recurrence after a BMX from DCIS to IDC after only 2 years. I think it is important to understand that at this time there is not a cure. I go to doc appointments every 6 months when scheduled and try to lead a healthy lifestyle. It's been another two years now since my last active treatment and all my scans have been good and bloodwork continues to improve. I'll take NED.

  • yatcomw
    yatcomw Member Posts: 57

    I had mostly ILC with a bit of IDC and IBC mixed in.......8cm tumor and at least 17 nodes positive. I am 12 1/2 years out. It's all doable and while there are no guarantees in life with or without cancer.....I think that being diagnosed today is a lot more promising with a lot of new drugs in the pipeline......Hope is a beautiful thing......and I think you should be most hopeful that you will be here for a long, long time.

    I was diagnosed at 46 and i plan to celebrate 100!

    Jacqueline

  • hugz4u
    hugz4u Member Posts: 1,818

    Mtay. I was like you, 45 yrs,hockey puck size lump ILC. Stage 3b. with Ductal also lurking around. Lump stuck to chest wall which is really not good at all. They first said no nodes then one node positive. Who knows for sure? I had chemo first to shrink tumor which could have shrunk that node to nothing. Then rads and dmx with implants.

    Here I am living since 2004. I don't consider my cancer curable but managed. No one knows from statistics who will survive for sure. It's really a crapshoot because each of us is made up differently and even environmental circumstances can affect our diagnosis. Best not to get stuck on how long you have just because of figures on a paper. My girlfriend has ILC cancer and is fine over 40 years! Yes it's true others don't survive much. Focus on good! I Love and live everyday like it's my last and can say I'm truly fulfilled. Will I get cancer tomorrow....I don't know. Move the wheel forward. Check out ILC threads. Knowledge is power.

  • ck55
    ck55 Member Posts: 28

    I had the same diagnosis as you. 9 cm ILC tumor and 2+ nodes.

    I just passed my 10 year mark in November. Can't say I am cured, but until it is proven otherwise I believe I will be just fine.

    Good luck to you andGod bless!!

    Cheers, Cyndi 🍸

  • ssinuk
    ssinuk Member Posts: 63

    Numbers and percentages can become an obsession - I've been there. But a broad and accurate interpretation of even the more out of date pessimistic nunvers for stage 111A is - you're more likely to be ok than not. Hold on to that. Good luck.

  • Artista928
    Artista928 Member Posts: 1,458

    There is no cure. Please do not use that word. Remission forever is what we can expect at best.

  • sbelizabeth
    sbelizabeth Member Posts: 955

    Wouldn't it be simple if BC were like strep throat? A course of penicillin and we're "cured."

    And I sometimes think people with no experience of breast cancer think of this nasty disease as something like strep throat. All that chemo, surgery, radiation...you must be cured, right? The concept of silent, sleeping cancer cells luring around, that may stay asleep until we die of something else, or roar into activity and give us breast cancer again, is a hard to grasp.

    For myself, I dislike the word "remission." My brain seems to equate it with "it has retreated into the background for now, but sooner or later, it'll be back." I prefer NED--no evidence of disease. It's an acronym that carries no implications for the future.

  • Artista928
    Artista928 Member Posts: 1,458

    NED is good. I just hate seeing people throw cured out there. It implies there is a cure and there isn't. The general public is not as savvy with this stuff as we are who are knee deep in this 24/7. Cured also may cause people to not be vigilant. They may see say DCIS with all the best #s you can have is you're done. Hopefully you are, but don't not keep up with your appts and exams. The further out you get from dx and tx, the greater the chance for some to "forget." This is my fear and using the word "cured" doesn't do any good because there is no cure.

  • traveltext
    traveltext Member Posts: 1,051

    I blame the pink charities that gloss over the reality of this complex and pernicious disease for the surreal public expectations that newbies experience on diagnosis. While they've dropped the word "cure" from their promotional material, the propaganda they produce, aimed at maximising donations that keep bloated marketing departments on their payrolls, is a disgrace. They often give well under 50% of funds raised for meaningful bc research projects, and with just "awareness" as their goal, they fail to reveal what is involved in living with bc. Worse, their lack of support for Stage IV patients means that once you've crossed into this zone you are likely truly alone.

    Because we want to believe the best for each of our circumstances, it takes a while to really face up to the challenges of this disease. I used to think knowledge was power, now I'd suggest it is a double edged sword. However, the fellowship amongst those on this site is a prime reason most of us face the future more in hope than in fear.


  • sbelizabeth
    sbelizabeth Member Posts: 955

    True words, Traveltext. Because of BCO, I learned what I need to know about this disease, shared fearful experiences along with joyful events, made forever friends, and learned to deal with my initial feelings of despair.

    Because of you, I no longer write "women who have breast cancer." It's "people who have breast cancer." And I wear a blue ribbon in Pinktober!

  • sam2u
    sam2u Member Posts: 43

    Welcome!

    I am 3 years out from a diagnosis almost identical to yours (9.5 cm ILC with 2 + nodes). "Cured" is not a term my doctor uses, but I have no evidence of cancer and am enjoying every moment I have.

    Time is what we all wish for, no matter what the terminology is-hopefully your treatment path will lead to a long and happy life!

  • Artista928
    Artista928 Member Posts: 1,458

    If your onc uses the word "cured" you need to find a new one. This means she/he won't be looking as they should for signs that it could be back. Anyone who says cured is fired in my book.

  • meow13
    meow13 Member Posts: 1,363

    For the 1st time in 5 years my onco used the words "well on the way to being cured". He said it looks good for me. I think what it translates to is keep getting regular screening but doesn't need high surveillance. It never comes off your medical history so any unusual screening results will set off an alarm.

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,067

    sbelizabeth - what a great idea - a blue ribbon in Pinktober (which I hate) in honor of Traveltext and his compadres will be perfect.

  • traveltext
    traveltext Member Posts: 1,051

    Thanks sbelizabeth and minus, here's one hundred of the compadres that you'd be supporting: http://malebreastcancercoalition.org/survivor-stories/


  • kicks
    kicks Member Posts: 319

    When you do searches on line of what color ribbons mean, you will find that different colors represent more than one 'issue'. Most of what I have seen male BC is representated by a pink ribbon with a blue border on it. There are also sites that show a pink ribbon with a blue border for IBC (TravelText is both). Any color can mean so many different reasons for why they are being worn.

  • traveltext
    traveltext Member Posts: 1,051

    Agree Kicks, it's confusing. Ribbon colors are just one aspect of the presentation of diseases, for example prostate cancer is signified by a blue ribbon. But the total barrage of pink that pushes bc fundraising and awareness needs to somehow acknowledge that one percent of new cases are in males. Otherwise, public awareness levels that men can get the disease will remain at 30% as opposed to 100% that women can get it. And men with BRCA2 mutations actually have a one in eight chance of getting bc, the same as that for women in the general population.


  • sbelizabeth
    sbelizabeth Member Posts: 955

    Traveltext, when I was first diagnosed my MO brought up the subject of BRCA testing. Since I'm a mom of sons, no daughters, I initially thought we could skip it. It just shows you what the general population knows about genetics, gender, and breast cancer.

    I was hospitalized last November for knee replacement surgery, and as I was strolling the hallways, I struck up a conversation with a man standing outside a room, looking distressed. Turns out, his 30-year-old daughter had just had a mastectomy, and he'd discovered HE had passed the BRCA mutation to both his daughters. Poor man--it shouldn't be a guilt thing; it's beyond our control what we inherit--but he certainly felt wretched about it.

    Danged cancer.

  • traveltext
    traveltext Member Posts: 1,051

    A poignant story sbelizabeth, and one that one that is being played out regularly as research and education on genetics becomes more widespread. Like you, I don't hold with the guilt trip thing, though, since we have no control on the genes we inherit or the genes we pass on.

    It needs to be noted reiterated that BRCA women have increased breast and ovarian cancer risks, while BRCA men have increased breast and prostate cancer risks.

    Since both sexes pass the genes on equally, you need to examine the generational health history of both men and women in your family to ascertain your risks and the risks for your blood relatives.


  • Artista928
    Artista928 Member Posts: 1,458

    I would say to the onc that tells me I'm well on my way to being cured, that I didn't think there was one. Are there new findings the cancer community is unaware of?? Can't stand oncs who don't choose their words carefully.

  • meow13
    meow13 Member Posts: 1,363

    I don't doubt my onco creditability. He is the top breast cancer oncologist in Seattle.

  • Artista928
    Artista928 Member Posts: 1,458

    Then he should know even better. Some people may take it literally and not be on the lookout anymore.