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Second time for me

It's good to know this forum exists. Had a lump in my armpit and, after waiting seemingly a long time to get a biopsy, it came back malignant. Same cancer, I think, as the larger tumor that was removed in my mastectomy in 2018. Doctor I spoke to said there is still breast tissue — "axillary tail"— left after mastectomy. I wonder why it isn't protocol to mammogram that area (they did it this week to image the biopsy clip placement).

She ordered a LOT of scans (scary), and I will see the same breast surgeon next week. Stunned and scared of what the extent of it may be, but at least I know the territory. I'm sure once the plan is in place, it may be a bit less scary. Just not a good holiday season at all.

Comments

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,683

    We're so sorry to hear, @miranda2060! Please hang in there. We know it's hard right now, but as you said, as soon as you start a treatment plan, things will start to improve. In the meantime, feel free to come here often to vent, share, and ask questions. We also have very informative and supportive virtual meetups. Click the link below to see the different groups and schedules we have. Our team and other members would love to support you there as well, and you'll be warmly welcomed!

    Virtual Community Meetups

    Hope this helps. We are sending you lots of love and are happy to give you any additional assistance you may need.

    Best,

    The Mods

  • miranda2060
    miranda2060 Member Posts: 207

    I have now seen the breast surgeon and my oncologist. The surgeon was a little more "upbeat," which is how she is. After she sees the MRI (taken tomorrow), she will know whether she can operate in the area (high up on the armpit near other structures), or whether the tumor has to be shrunk first. Hopefully she will be able to operate sooner rather than later.

    My visit with the oncologist had a more grim tone. She says it's rare ("less than 10%") to have a recurrence of this type, this quickly. Lucky me. Says it would likely have happened even if I were still taking the letrozole. Once the scans are in (next Friday, scared) and determination is made about surgery, a plan can be made — she is inclined against chemo, because "my" cancer is not very chemo-sensitive. She is looking at Faslodex injections, different method of targeting hormone-based cancer — or a clinical trial of an oral form of a similar drug. She didn't give false hope, except that even if it's spread I'll be around for a while (oh boy). It could take 6 months to shrink the tumor, if that's what's deemed necessary before surgery. I cried in the office, something haven't done yet this time around.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,683

    Hello again, @miranda2060!

    We are truly sorry to hear about what you're going through, but glad to hear that your medical team is exploring treatment options and developing a plan for you. While you wait for that, we encourage you to keep reaching out, sharing your thoughts, and asking questions. Please know that this community is here for you!

    Warmly,

    The Mods

  • amel_83
    amel_83 Member Posts: 98

    Hi, sorry abou that. I'm in a worst situation, but I can definitely say that once you have a plan and start treatment and have some results, the anxiety usually come down a little...at list for me.

    I wish you all the best, now there are powerful medicines, and many more are been discovered.

  • miranda2060
    miranda2060 Member Posts: 207

    Thank you, dear friend. You have my gratitude, love and prayers.

  • roareus
    roareus Member Posts: 68

    Hello-

    i searched for the term axillary tail and came across this. I too am in the initial stages of a recurrence. I had a single mastectomy about ten days ago. The pathology report came back with no cancer in the sentinel node but a node in the axillary tail had cancer. The axillary tail with no surrounding breast parenchyma. So my question is, is this confined to the breast or is this considered a positive node like a positive axillary node? Then I had extra breast tissue in my arm pit that was removed. No cancer there or in the nodes of this breast tissue. Because the node in the axillary tail was positive, the surgeon wants to do a lymph node dissection. I am loosing my mind!!! HELP!!! Anybody have any insight? Is this a local or regional occurrence?

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,683

    Hi @roareus,

    Understandable that you are feeling a lot of distress from this. Anyone who has gone through breast cancer once fears a recurrence. You know what it's like to go through the treatment process, and it's certainly not pleasant .This may be a new primary cancer, or it may be an unusually located recurrence. The surgeon needs to do the lymph node dissection to get additional information in order to compare the cells in this node to anything they have from your previous cancer and anything they found in the tissue that was removed in the mastectomy. This will allow them to determine the best approach for treatment. Please keep us posted!

    Also, we have free weekly meet-ups over Zoom if you would like additional emotional support while going through this. The In Treatment for Breast Cancer group meets on Tuesdays at 1pm EST and Thursdays at 6pm EST. They run for about an hour and a half each. We have individuals that attend who are experiencing recurrences, as well as for the first time. You can register here: