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Possible Chest Wall Recurrence - Help

I am almost 12 years since my diagnosis. I had mastectomy, chemo, radiation, and Zoladex and Tamoxifen. I just found 3 tiny hard bumps below my scar. I don't know when they appeared but can't be that long ago. From what I read, this is most possibly a recurrence. I have made an appointment for Friday. My only hope is that I was doing red light therapy on my scar to loosen it up and this might be some weird side effect of that.

I am wondering if there is anybody out there that had such a recurrence and is willing to give me some hope?

Comments

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,659

    @fd1, we're sorry you're here again and concerned. Unfortunately, we cannot really help you with your question, but we hope other members are able to do so. You're not alone!

    We wanted to share with you this article on our site about Understanding Breast Cancer Recurrence with some info that might be helpful. Wishing you strength during your appointment next Friday, and if you need support, this community is here for you!

    The Mods

  • laughinggull
    laughinggull Member Posts: 509
    edited November 2023

    Hi fd1,

    Very sorry for you that you are going through a cancer scare. This past summer, I found a lump in the chest wall area in my cancer side, six years after my initial diagnosis; it was a tiny, round, very hard lump under the skin, reaching within the pectoral muscle. It turned out to be fat necrosis. My MO said that, in her experience, when they feel really, really hard, they tend to be fat necrosis.

    I wish that your lumps turn out to be benign, too. But even if they aren't, you have reasons for hope. Moreover, you deserve a peaceful, hopeful state of mind, and ease of wellbeing -no matter what. The lumps, as you say, are tiny and in the breast area, and haven't been there for long. If they are indeed cancer, perhaps you are facing a very incipient local recurrence, and you may need some treatment, then go on with your life with an excellent prognosis. Whatever it is, you will be find plenty of support from others here who have been there before.

    Hang in there, sister. We are here for you. You can do this. 😘

    PS: You don't have the details of your initial diagnosis in the signature. May be worth reviewing, so others with similar diagnosis can chime in.

  • fd1
    fd1 Member Posts: 53

    Laughinggull, thanks so much for your reply. It was exactly the hope and comfort that I needed to get me off the edge.

  • laughinggull
    laughinggull Member Posts: 509

    fd1, thinking of you today and hoping your appointment goes well and strenghtens you and eases your mind about dealing with this!

  • fd1
    fd1 Member Posts: 53

    Thanks again for your encouragement. The wait was awful but my MO said that he suspects fat necrosis and the bumps are not too concerning. He is arranging for a surgeon (mine has retired) to see me to do a needle biopsy to be certain. Did you also have a biopsy or were your diagnosed by imaging? I am still anxious but I feel slightly better than this morning.

  • laughinggull
    laughinggull Member Posts: 509

    Hi fd1,

    So happy to hear about your encouraging news. You just made my day.

    In my case, the surgeon ordered an ultrasound, and the ultrasound unfortunately didn't pick the lump. The next step should have been a biopsy, but since it was so tiny, the surgeon decided to take it out at once, in what they call it an "excisional biopsy". Are they going to do a needle biopsy per lump, i.e. three of them? Why not take them out?

    Best,

    LaughingGull

  • fd1
    fd1 Member Posts: 53

    The MO had a question mark next to biopsy on the requisition so i think he assumed that would be the next step but perhaps the surgeon will decide otherwise. I am not sure if they will do all three. They are in a row so whatever they are i would be comfortable assuming is the same. I will keep you posted. It's great to know there is someone out there who has been through the same thing and is willing to talk.

  • katg
    katg Member Posts: 206

    fd1

    Sometimes i just look through posts to see the new posts. I am 1 year out from my last surgery and 6 months from active treatment.

    Your post and the responses help me too. I do not ruminate over will I get it again, but I do believe having experiences shared like yours reminds me I have steps to take. You noticed the 3 lumps and reached out to the Dr's office. They took action. My hospital, the COH in Duarte worked like your team. My Gyno MO doctor told me that at my first meeting with him 4 months before my surgery. I had the Brca2 mutation diagnosed a month before meeting with him. I mentioned to him my older sister felt the genetic tests were invasive. He says this to his patients: "If we advocate for ourselves, we are in the driver's seat for our lives." My sister? She is in the back seat for this issue. (2 years from my diagnosis, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, stage 2)

    Our younger sister and my older brother took the genetic test. They carry the mutation. My younger sister had her fallopian tubes and ovaries out. Trust. come here to share and hear some truths. Trust that the Doctors and their team have a plan. Do they have a couple choices.

  • fd1
    fd1 Member Posts: 53

    I saw the surgeon this morning. He removed all three together and sent them to pathology. He said he sees things like this all the time and there is a chance it is nothing and not too worry too much. He did say the appearance a decade later is quite unusual though. We will see. I will get my results on Wednesday next week.

  • laughinggull
    laughinggull Member Posts: 509

    Hi fdl,

    Wonderful that the little f*ckers are gone! At least they won't waste your time with ultrasounds and other screenings that won't give a final answer. I was also told that the fat necrosis appearing more than six years after surgery was unusual and they didn't know how to explain it.

    You have done all you could, and now you need to wait. You deserve to wait in peace. Try to stay calm and distracted. I would fill my schedule with activities and outings and good company.

    LaughingGull

  • fd1
    fd1 Member Posts: 53

    Yes, it's so great that he just removed all of them on the spot! I live in Quebec so we have public healthcare - they don't waste money on unnecessary tests because frankly the system can't handle it hahaha.

    I am trying to be as positive as I can. Not going to lie though, there are a lot of PTSD symptoms coming up. Your advice to keep busy is spot on though. Distraction is the best medicine for now!

  • fd1
    fd1 Member Posts: 53

    The final verdict is SCAR TISSUE. I am beyond happy and so grateful for the support here.

  • laughinggull
    laughinggull Member Posts: 509

    YAY!!!!

    So happy for you fd1

    Thanks for the update

  • snm
    snm Member Posts: 52

    So happy to hear it was scar tissue! I am 1 year out from my diagnosis (stage 1A due to 1.3mm invasive breast cancer amongst large area of DCIS), hormone neg HER 2+. I have had bilateral mastectomy w implant reconstruction.

    Past few days, I have noticed pain to touch near bottom edge of implant along rib. Not sure if it's just costochondritis from exercise or maybe superficial thrombophlebitis (I don't see cording or any veins popping out). No skin changes. No bumps/lumps.

    Thinking of watch and wait approach?

    Can anyone give me insight on what a recurrence feels like?

    Thank you!