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mom meeting with surgeon tomorrow

capergirl39
capergirl39 Member Posts: 19
edited March 2021 in Just Diagnosed

Hi everyone. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer two days ago. We meet with a surgeon tomorrow and they told her she will be having surgery next week. Just curious if chemo or radiation is a must after having surgery....is it possible that she wont need treatments? Appreciate any help anyone can give me.

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Comments

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,648
    edited March 2021

    caper girl,

    Sorry to hear about your mom’s diagnosis. Breast cancer has several variants and hormone status, size of tumor, lymph node involvement all play a part in determining what the treatment plan will be for each person. Until those things are known, and they will be known after the surgical pathology is complete, it’s not really possible to speculate on what her treatment might be. Some of this info might be available as a result of her biopsy sample, but the final pathology report will be what drives it. All the best

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,688
    edited March 2021

    Dear capegirl, we're sorry for you mom's diagnosis, but wanted to say welcome. You've come to the right place for questions and support. Until you get more information from her medical team, here are some articles and other threads that may be of help:


    Questions to Ask Your Surgeon

    Getting Your Pathology Report | Breastcancer.org

    Topic: Shopping/packing/to-do list for surgery + recovery....
    Forum: Caring for Someone with Breast cancer

    Good luck with everything! Please keep us all posted as to how things go for you and your mom, and let us know if we can be of help.
    Warmly,The Mods
  • flashlight
    flashlight Member Posts: 311
    edited March 2021

    capergirl39, Also your Mom will have to see a Medical Oncologist to plan treatment. Sometimes the surgeon's office will assign your Mom to a MO and RO. They will schedule a group meeting with your Mom, after surgery, to talk about a plan of treatment. If this isn't offered your Mom should be thinking about who she would like to see and where.

  • capergirl39
    capergirl39 Member Posts: 19
    edited March 2021

    does the doctor give this printout to us? do i ask for her pathology report?


  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,648
    edited March 2021

    It depends on what system is in place. Many doctors/medical institutions have patient portals where biopsy/test results can be viewed on line. Others are given paper copies during follow up visits. There is no one way in which this is communicated so be sure to have your mom ask about how she will receive the report

  • melissadallas
    melissadallas Member Posts: 929
    edited March 2021

    Is the surgery scheduled just for an excisional biopsy to follow a core needle biopsy? If not, that sounds very strange. How can your mom be scheduled for surgery if there has been no prior discussion of her wishes regarding lumpectomy vs. lumpectomy, reconstruction and reconstructive surgeon and HR, PR and HER status, which conceivably require chemo before surgery

  • capergirl39
    capergirl39 Member Posts: 19
    edited March 2021

    Exactly...but that is what her family doctor told her. All we know is her needle biopsy came back as cancer and her mammogram showed a lump in her left breast with it showing up in the lymp nods as well. I should also mention she is 75 but in great shape.

  • melissadallas
    melissadallas Member Posts: 929
    edited March 2021

    I think someone just needs to confirm this is solelyscheduled for a follow up surgical biopsy. Not “final” surgery.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,648
    edited March 2021

    Hmmm, you do need to determine if this is a biopsy or actual surgery such as a mastectomy or lumpectomy. Regardless, a treatment plan is developed by an oncologist based on surgical pathology. Biopsies provide a window into aspects of a persons tumor but treatment plans are based on the surgical pathology report. All the best

  • flashlight
    flashlight Member Posts: 311
    edited March 2021

    Did this surgeon do the biopsy? When I went to my first visit with the BS she told me the results of the biopsy and her recommendation for surgery. When I left that day I had the date of my surgery and the names of the team I was to see. I would then receive a call from their offices to schedule an appointment because at that time they weren't doing group meetings. Because her office was in the breast center at the hospital she sent me that afternoon to get the pretesting done for surgery. It all went very fast with a lot to take in. I hope your Mom will have a group meeting with her team and you will be allowed to be there. Then you can ask a lot of questions.

  • beesie.is.out-of-office
    beesie.is.out-of-office Member Posts: 1,435
    edited March 2021

    capergirl, what your mother needs to understand is that she is the one who gets to decide. Doctors recommend, patients decide. So whatever information your mother needs to make her treatment decisions is owed to her. And no doctor should be making her surgery or treatment decisions without consulting with her first.

    In most cases (but not always), the first major decision is the surgery decision - lumpectomy + radiation vs. mastectomy (which usually isn't followed by radiation but sometimes is). With certain diagnoses, if chemo is required, chemo might be given prior to surgery. Your mother needs her pathology and imaging reports to understand her diagnosis and how it affects these different treatment options.

    Key pieces of information: Is the cancer ER+ or ER-, PR+ or PR-, HER2+ or HER2-? How large is the area of cancer estimated to be, and is the cancer in one location only or it is multi-focal? What is the grade of the cancer? From imaging, does there appear to be nodal involvement? It sounds like a possible "yes" to the last question but no information yet on any of the other questions. No decisions, even about surgery, can be made without this information.

    Get those reports, get the opinion of the surgeon, and let us know how it goes. Lots of us here can help with interpretation of the reports and let you know which factors impact treatment options.


  • capergirl39
    capergirl39 Member Posts: 19
    edited March 2021

    Thank you so much for all this information. I will definitely be in touch because it is quite obvious that this is an awesome source to have....thank you thank you! I will ask for all of this information tomorrow during her appointment with the doctor.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,934
    edited March 2021

    capergirl39

    You say your mother is in good shape for age 75. Why not ask her to sign up as a member here so we can see what questions SHE has, and we can talk to her directly? I'm close to her age, and I'd have been very upset (as in furious) if a grown child of mine tried to get involved in my medical decisions.


  • capergirl39
    capergirl39 Member Posts: 19
    edited March 2021

    wow...that's so very helpful of you to assume that she isn't aware that I'm asking these questions on here! First of all, she doesn't have internet, Second, she doesn't use a computer, and lastly, I called her and told her I found this forum and if she wanted, I could ask some questions that WE have! So rude of you to throw that in someones face like you have the answers!

  • capergirl39
    capergirl39 Member Posts: 19
    edited March 2021

    thank you for this info and i will pass this onto my mom

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,648
    edited March 2021
    caper girl,

    No one is trying to be rude but most of us are very used to and encourage others to be the primary driver of our treatments and decisions. It is the exception when we run into folks, regardless of age these days, who don’t have Internet access.
    I am thrilled that you are there to support your mother as that will be very helpful to her but don’t forget that your mom (unless incapacitated in some way) is the team captain and she will be the one undergoing surgery and treatments. Take care
  • beesie.is.out-of-office
    beesie.is.out-of-office Member Posts: 1,435
    edited March 2021

    capergirl, you are right - we shouldn't assume. I think it's just that most of us have been in your mother's shoes and many of us are close to her age, so we're commenting from our own perspective - that's human nature but it also means we sometimes make the wrong assumption. It's easy to get tangled up in words but we're all here to help and offer support, and I'm sure no one intentionally means to be rude. It's great to know that your mother knows that you here and that we can speak to her through you.

    With Covid, many doctors don't allow anyone but the patient to be present for appointments. You mentioned that "we meet" with the surgeon tomorrow. Does this mean that your mother is among the lucky few who can bring someone with them to the appointment? It's always good to have a second set of eyes and ears present.


  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,648
    edited March 2021

    And barring a second set of eyes and ears, since COVID may interfere with that, most docs will not mind if you record the appointment (but do ask). Most mobile phones can do this. I also found it helpful to listen to the recording at my leisure when I could absorb it slowly by starting and stopping the recording. Take care

  • flashlight
    flashlight Member Posts: 311
    edited March 2021

    capergirl39, My sister was allowed to bring her daughter to the team meeting. They do make exceptions during Covid! Also, my MO's portal can be shared with family members. Your Mom would have to give her permission. The office staff is usually pretty helpful and the portal is a great resource.

    My daughter's best friend parents don't have internet and just got a cell phone last year! They don't text!!

    Good luck and let us know how we can help.

  • harley07
    harley07 Member Posts: 249
    edited March 2021

    @capergirl - I'm so sorry to hear about your mom 's diagnosis. It's very sweet of you to help out and every family has different dynamics. If this works for you and your mom then keep going. There is lots of good info available in this site. Please keep us updated

  • capergirl39
    capergirl39 Member Posts: 19
    edited March 2021

    Hi Beesie

    We are very lucky with low Covid numbers so she is allowed to bring one person in with her. Just making a list of questions now. I appreciate all the support

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,648
    edited March 2021

    caper girl, consider recording the visit even if you’re there. There is so much info coming at you at this point that it’s really nice to have a second (or third, or fourth ) listen. I found that helpful and my dd was with me. Even after almost 10 years, she still comes to some of my appointments.

  • capergirl39
    capergirl39 Member Posts: 19
    edited March 2021

    Hi everyone. Well, we just got home and didn't get the news we were praying for. We didn't get the pathology report. Surgeon said that the lump in her breast is measuring at 4.2, stage 3. It has also spread to her lymph nodes. He is booking a CT scan to see if it is anywhere else and booking an appointment with the oncologist to determine next steps. He suggested no surgery until she starts taking oral medication to start treating the lymph nodes first, and depending on how that goes, look at surgery later. My head is spinning.

  • LivinLife
    LivinLife Member Posts: 301
    edited March 2021

    Hi capergirl! I just logged on since yesterday and caught up with your thread. So sorry to hear your mom's info was not at all what either of you imagined! I imagine your head is spinning and your mom is likely struggling to wrap her head around the news too.... Makes sense on the CT scan and glad the onc appointment is being scheduled.... Hopefully these things happen somewhat timely so the two of you don't have to wait long - quite stressful! Please keep us updated as things unfold.....

  • beesie.is.out-of-office
    beesie.is.out-of-office Member Posts: 1,435
    edited March 2021

    Ah, capergirl, I'm sorry.

    Did the surgeon refuse to give your mother the pathology report or was the report not signed off yet?

    Anything on the ER and HER2? I'm guessing ER+ and HER2-, if the surgeon is thinking oral meds prior to surgery. Of course the recommendation on the sequence of treatments comes from the MO.

    As LivinLife said, hopefully the CT scan and MO appointment can be scheduled quickly.

  • alicebastable
    alicebastable Member Posts: 1,934
    edited March 2021

    I'm glad she has you by her side. Even though she can't be on this forum, please tell her we're all pulling for her.

  • ShetlandPony
    ShetlandPony Member Posts: 3,063
    edited March 2021

    Hello, capergirl and capergirl's mom!

    One reason to do either hormonal therapy or chemotherapy before surgery is to shrink the tumor so that breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) becomes possible. Another reason to do chemotherpy before surgery is to go after any rogue cells that may be hiding somewhere in the body right away, in cases where the cancer is a more aggressive subtype (either triple negative or Her2 positive). In this case local therapy (breast surgery) comes second.

    Some things to know:

    If the scan finds the breast cancer has spread, the treatment plan could be quite different from the plan for stage III. It could actually be milder. It also depends on where it has spread. Hopefully it has not! They are right to check now.

    Lumpectomy and radiation is typically a package deal, so your mom will want to learn about radiation in order to help with that decision. But in some cases radiation is recommended even if the patient has a mastectomy, when there are nodes that need it.

    Do start a binder and collect copies of all reports, especially as your mom does not use a computer which would give her access to a patient portal. It may be easier to ask for a copy when you are there; otherwise you have to submit requests to the medical records department.

    There may be a nurse navigator available to your mom, to help smooth the way.

    This time when you don't know exactly what is going on or what the plan is, is the most stressful time for most people. You will both feel better when things are settled and you can take action.

    This is all do-able. Don't believe horror stories or quack medicine you may read. Your mom's otherwise good health is a great thing in her favor, as is having a supportive daughter.

  • capergirl39
    capergirl39 Member Posts: 19
    edited March 2021

    Thank you so much. Her spirits are good and her family doctor called her today to tell her that the appointments for CT and Bone scans have come through as well as oncologist so we will hopefully find out a date soon,

    The full Biopsy pathology is not done yet and the surgeon today said he will be in touch with us when it comes in.

    My mom and her three children certainly appreciate the support and she is coming over tomorrow to see this thread.

  • ShetlandPony
    ShetlandPony Member Posts: 3,063
    edited March 2021

    It sounds like her doctors are really on top of things and moving ahead without unnecessary delays.

  • capergirl39
    capergirl39 Member Posts: 19
    edited March 2021

    Just wondering if there is anyone on here that was stage 3, with greater than 5cm tumor spreading to Lymph nodes that can tell me what their treatment plan was. Just want to have an idea of what others have had. Thank you