Second Opinions & Genetic Testing
This is my second post, but I'll give a brief summary of my diagnosis.
Diagnosed 1/24/22. I've received a biopsy and PET scan. I have a 4 cm lump in my left breast and a lump (I believe 2 cm but can't remember) under my arm in my lymph node. The PET scan has revealed that there is no distant cancer that they can see and biopsy revealed that I'm ER+ and PR\HER2 negative. I was told I was stage 2b for now but maybe 3 if more lymph nodes are found.
I met with a medial oncologist and my surgeon this week. The recommended treatment plan is chemo first to shrink the lumps and hopefully make the surgery easier. That will be followed by surgery (lumpectomy), radiation and then hormone therapy. She stated she'd send my labs for an oncotype test if there is enough tissue remaining, but if I start the treatment next week, what's the point? If my oncotype test states the side effects of chemo outweight the benefits, I would have already begun treatment.
Question: I am not looking for a second opinion because I doubt I have cancer. Moreso about the treatment plan. I was hoping not to have chemo and I'm not sure if having chemo before surgery is the standard in my scenario. I understand the recommendation to shrink the tumor since it may make my healing time easier for the surgery, but it's my understanding that chemo doesn't always shrink the tumor. If it doesn't then it feels like I've harmed my body more than I needed to. If there are other options to shrink the tumor, I'd like to know what those are. I was told that even if I don't have the chemo before the surgery, I'd be recommended to get it afterwards to get any cancers that may be too small to be detected or may be hidden somewhere in my body.
Question #2: How did you determine where to get a second opinion? There is a major hospital here (Emory) that seems to be the go to in my state (It's not the hospital I'm receiving treatment from currently) but I was wondering if it's better to try to get a second opinion from one of the top hospitals from the US News Best Cancer Hospitals list like MD Anderson, Mayo Clinic and Sloan. I'll probably be paying for the second opinion out of pocket. Just not sure of the turn around time or if I'm putting myself at risk if I wait for this opinion.
I just got a call during a meeting a few minutes ago and they've setup my first chemo session for next week. I'll have to try to get an appt to have a muga scan for my heart prior to that appointment and I'll also have to get a port put in before that time. It just all feels so rushed considering I was just told my stage and met with the surgeon and med oncologist this week. I think hearing from a second opinion would make me feel better about the plan if it seems their recommendation is pretty standard. I'm the most nervous about taking chemo out of everything since I've read so many horror stories about it causing other issues and cancers.
This turned into a longer post than I anticipated. Thank you to anyone who is able to read it all and chime in.