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Local Recurrence Scare Post Mastectomy - 13 Years Out


Hi all! I was here back in 2010 and it was so helpful. Since then, I've been through a left mastectomy with reconstruction, chemo, 5 years of Tamoxifen followed by 5 years of Femara. I have been doing well. BUT …

A couple weeks ago I was outside in the sun for an extended time (covered, not bare). I felt a stinging sensation on my mastectomy side but thought it was possibly a bug bite, mosquito. When I came inside, my reconstructed left breast was red, as if with a rash. When I started feeling around, I detected two palpable lumps.

Jumping ahead, I had an ultrasound and today biopsies on the two lumps. I did have an MRI 6 months ago and it was fine. Everything looked good.

I'm afraid of a recurrence. I just don't see how it could be anything else. Scar tissue doesn't just pop up out of the blue after nearly 13 years, does it?

I'm not sure if anybody will see this, but looking for anybody who has had a similar experience and/or a local recurrence post mastectomy after years out. Hopefully this makes sense. You're all warriors. This just never ends, does it?


  • salamandra
    salamandra Member Posts: 745
    edited May 2023

    I'm sorry you're dealing with this! Are you able to get an appointment for a check up?

    I had an issue with new scarring found a couple of years after my surgery and the radiologist told me that actually the body takes a long time to fully heal. But I've also recently had pain near my surgery site and my oncologist said that the neurological impact can cause cause pain years or decades later. Finally, your reconstruction introduce a whole other layer of possible causes. Basically, try not to pre-diagnose yourself! This is scary enough. Get an appointment and show it to a doctor and let them use their fancy equipment and advanced degrees!

  • cameo65
    cameo65 Member Posts: 3

    Thanks for the replies. I'm relearning how to navigate this site and may have accidentally created a new account. My original diagnosis was in 2010 at age 45. Stage 2B IDC, Grade 2, ER+, PR+, HER2-, with 2 of 17 nodes positive. I had a modified radical mastectomy with tissue expander reconstruction on my left breast. I received Tamoxifen and Cytoxan for chemo. I took Tamoxifen for 5 years followed by Femara for 5 years.

    I had an MRI in November 2022 and everything looked great. Fast forward to May 2023, my ultrasound showed two suspicious masses on my mastectomy under the scar. Mass 1 is irregular with indistinct margins measuring 5 mm with heterogenous internal echotexture. Mass 2 is round with circumscribed margins measuring 10 mm with hypoechoic internal echotexture.

    I just don't see how something like scar tissue could pop up in 6 months time. It has to be a recurrence, and I guess I'm wondering how that works when you've already had a mastectomy and undergone extensive treatment.

    I know I have to wait for the biopsy results, but geez … after 13 years the last thing I expected was a recurrence on the side that got cut off!

  • cameo65
    cameo65 Member Posts: 3

    If anybody is following this, I just found the pathology results of my mastectomy ultrasound. I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure this is fantastic news:

    1:00 Mass: Benign breast tissue with fibrosis and focal foreign body giant cell reaction. Negative for atypia or malignancy.

    9:00 Mass: Benign skin and dermal tissue with fibrosis. Negative for atypia or malignancy.

    I'm not sure what the "giant cell reaction" means, but I 'm sure they'll tell me. It's so weird we see these things before our oncologists now!

    I'm going to come back to this site, as it has so much great information and so many fantastic warriors fighting the fight. I never thought with my initial diagnosis that I'd still be here nearly 13 years later. There is so much support here. I just love all of you!

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 1,072

    Cameo, That is good news. A giant cell reaction is an immune response to inflammation where the responding cells clump together. Maybe the heat was the cause of this even though you were covered up. As someone whose middle name is "inflammation" I would guess your doctor might prescribe anti inflammatory meds or steroid cream. It's much easier to treat than cancer.