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Jumping out of my skin/Drowning

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I apologize in advance for being crazy. However, I am looking for some hope/positive thoughts... I was diagnosed in 2013. Last week I went in for my annual mammogram. I get a Contrast Enhanced Mammogram. They found an enhanced mass in the vicinity of where my original cancer was. An ultrasound showed a correlated oval hypochoic mass. No mention of any calcification. My first time, there was calcification and a mass. Has anyone ever received a negative biopsy result when imaging showed a a mass in the same vicinity as the first time around. I am desperate and scared, actually terrified. 

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  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,959
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    roareus,

    I hesitate to answer but I don’t want to leave you hanging. Imaging, good as it has gotten, is still not perfect so your biopsy will be the final word on what it is. Although it’s tempting to look at others, bc has way too many twists, turns, and variations to expect that your experience will be like the experience of others.
    That being said, you’re talking about a breast mass, right? Yes, it would stink if it were to be cancer but if it’s a local recurrence (confined to the breast), you’d be in a favorable position. I know this is rough right now but just focus on what you know right now and minimize the “what ifs…”. Take care

  • roareus
    roareus Member Posts: 68
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    Yes, I am talking about a breast mass that is about .5cm. Thank you for replying. I have a feeling everyone thinks it's cancer and that's why nobody else is replying. 😟

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 1,004
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    Hi roareous, Maybe the lack of replies is due to your other thread "Suspicious Tumor" which is similar and has several replies. As exbrnxgrl said there is no way of knowing whether or not it's cancer just by looking at the imaging. I'm sorry you have to go through the stress of waiting for the biopsy and the results. Over the years my 19 biopsy record (multiple organs/sites) is 17 benign and 2 not; you just never know since every situation is different.

    Hopefully the results will be favorable. Either way come back and let us know so we can celebrate or commiserate with you. All the best!

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,959
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    roareus,

    I am willing to bet that absolutely no one thinks that! We all know very well that imaging is not the final diagnostic tool and no conclusion can be reached based on it. Additionally, how can anyone who has not seen the imaging and is not a doctor come to any kind of conclusion?
    I understand that this is anxiety provoking and facing unknowns is never easy but no one here has the ability to diagnose you or reach any conclusions. That’s your medical team’s job. Take care

  • roareus
    roareus Member Posts: 68
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    @maggie15 Got it. Thank you. I am overwhelmed with fear and understand that I am becoming a bit much. Mostly, thank you for sharing your experiences. Wishing you the best. I will be back with results.

  • roareus
    roareus Member Posts: 68
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    I am sorry. I think my anxiety is overwhelming and is bringing out the worst in me. Thank you for your response. Wishing you the best. I will keep you posted.

  • aprilgirl1
    aprilgirl1 Member Posts: 779
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    Roareus, sorry you are in this situation . It's best to know if something is brewing . I hope you can have a biopsy soon . Meanwhile , ask your oncologist or primary care doctor for some short term anti anxiety meds if you don't take any . It can help you get through this .

    Please keep us posted !

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,959
    edited January 15
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    roareus,

    You have nothing to apologize for as we know that this is a stressful time. Please focus on what you know with certainty. Although fear is not always logical, use logic and reason to allay speculation and conjecture over things that you don’t yet know and may not even be possible. A good example would be your fear that no one responded to you because we think it’s cancer. Logically, could anyone, even an oncologist, arrive at a dx based on a short post ? No, of course not so you can put that fear to bed.

    None of this is easy but please do what you can to make it easier on yourself. Take care

  • roareus
    roareus Member Posts: 68
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    @exbrnxgrl Thank you for your words and your logic. You are right. I must figure out a way to get through the next week without losing it. Again, thank you for your words. Wishing you all the best.

  • purplecat
    purplecat Member Posts: 226
    edited January 16
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    Roareus, no need to apologize! Anxiety can certainly be overwhelming - I’m experiencing that myself as I wait for my routine mammogram at the 5 year mark. Sometimes it helps just to have someone say “I’m in this dark place too; you’re not alone.” So many of us in here hand-wringing right now, and we can’t ALL get bad results, can we? I’m telling myself, just because I’m horribly anxious, doesn’t mean it’s going to turn out badly. I’ve always been horribly anxious about mammograms, and all medical testing in general, and only once has it ever been cancer.

    Half a centimeter is small! Even if it somehow turns out to be twice that size, that’s still small. And I think a lot of benign things are described as “oval.”

    In my case, it’s helping somewhat to think through the various scenarios and have a plan. After the mammogram I will stop at my favorite bakery on the way home and pick up a treat. I will be working a lot during the time of waiting for results, so that will keep me busy and distracted. If the results are good, great! If I get a callback, I can ask for an anxiety prescription and take as needed until the situation is resolved, however long that takes. Having been through it before, I generally know how things will go: diagnostic mammogram, then biopsy if needed, then wait for those results, then an appointment with my team if needed, and then onward. I also know that I’ve done it once, and although I really, really, REALLY don’t want to have to do it again, I can. And honestly, if they tell me I need a mastectomy this time, that’s my ticket off this roller coaster for good.

    I actually went so far as to make an appointment last year, after two biopsies in six months, to ask about getting a BMX because I couldn’t tolerate the idea of any more of those scares, ever again, and they talked me down. So, I tell myself that too: the highly educated and experienced professionals believed that the steps needed to resolve any additional trouble I might have would be preferable to the steps needed to extinguish all possibility of future trouble. Kind of like having a beautiful four-season porch on the back of your house, and tearing the whole thing down because you once had to get it treated for termites, and you never want to have to do that again. You’re tired of having to inspect every insect that crawls across the floor to make sure it’s just a beetle and not a termite, and you just want to be done with it all. But on the whole, it would be better to continue to have a nice porch, and know you can get it re-treated if the termites come back. It would be a bummer, especially if it means ultimately losing the porch after all, but if the exterminators are confident they can catch any future infestation before they invade the main part of the house and cause real trouble, you might as well enjoy your lovely porch in the meantime. Weird analogy, but it’s kind of working: it’s just my annual termite inspection. (Inspired by @alicebastable , if she wants the credit for this weirdness!)

  • roareus
    roareus Member Posts: 68
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    purplecat,

    Thank you for your words. I think I was just looking for others who have had suspicious tumors to share that some do come back benign even if it was in the same breast as the initial cancer. Of course it does but I was desperate to hear it from others.

    I have already asked for an anti-anxiety prescription and got it.

    Thank you again.

  • orangeflower
    orangeflower Member Posts: 95
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    I understand the fear and panic roareus. I'm glad you have anxiety meds, I take them as well. Please know we support you and hope your biopsy comes back with good results. hugs

  • purplecat
    purplecat Member Posts: 226
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    Roareus, was your biopsy today? How did it go?

  • roareus
    roareus Member Posts: 68
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    Waiting for results. Have to wait 3-5 days. As everyone said, the waiting is the worst. Thank you for asking.

  • roareus
    roareus Member Posts: 68
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    Just got my results on my portal. Invasive ductal carcinoma with apocrine features. I cannot believe this is happening again!!! Please someone give me some words of encouragement/hope. Does anyone know what apocrine features means? Please please help me.

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 1,004
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    Roareus, I’m so sorry you have to go through this a second time. It really seems unfair. The silver lining in the clouds may be the experience you already have; you can do this again.
    As far as I can understand your diagnosis is still IDC but the cells have some slightly different characteristics like larger nuclei. It is not very common. I don’t know if this changes the treatment any. Your doctors will be able to give you better information.
    Hugs for you.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,216
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    @roareus, we're so, so sorry for what you're going through, again… Here is an article from our main site about Papillary Apocrine Change. It might help you understand your diagnosis a bit better.

    Please let us know how you're doing. We are keeping you in our thoughts and are here to support you.

    Sincerely,

    The Mods

  • kaynotrealname
    kaynotrealname Member Posts: 417
    edited January 24
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    From what I've read, it's rare, normally triple negative, but actually has a pretty good prognosis. Seems to be less aggressive to the point that chemo may not even be needed -

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8949126/

    I'm so sorry this is happening again but hopefully your oncologist will be able to put your mind at ease. I've known of one other person on Breastcancernow who had the same diagnosis I believe and it was recent. Here is the conversation - https://forum.breastcancernow.org/t/triple-negative-apocrine-cancer-treatment/115035/12

    Edited by Mods to correct broken link.

  • purplecat
    purplecat Member Posts: 226
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    Oh, I’m so sorry that this is the news!

  • roareus
    roareus Member Posts: 68
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    My question is this. Now what? How will we know if it has spread? More scans? More waiting? Ugh... I just want to crawl into a hole and come out when it's over. How did this happen after ten years?!? I am so MAD!!! Does a regional or local recurrence mean there will eventually be metastasis? Someone please give me some words of encouragement/hope. I do not meet with my breast surgeon until Wednesday, 1/31. If you pray, please pray for me.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,959
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    roareus,

    Let say how sorry I am that you received that news. Your question about how this could happen after ten years has no real answer except for the fact that despite treatment, bc can recur years down the road. Though not talked about much, both local and metastatic recurrences can and do happen.
    Please speak with your oncologist to see if you will be getting a PET or CT scan. I know you mentioned you won’t have an appointment until next week, but not every mo handles things the same way so it is best to see what your mo will do rather than assume it will be the same as someone else. That’s the first step in determining if there is metastasis. It is very possible that your recurrence is local.
    This does not mean you will eventually develop mets as that is not how bc works. It is quite possible to have a recurrence confined to the breast and never develop mets. Unfortunately, bc is a tricky thing. It is not very clear why some never recur while others do even 15 or 20 years after original diagnosis. I’ ll be keeping my fingers crossed that it’s a local recurrence .

  • roareus
    roareus Member Posts: 68
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    Thank you @exbrnxgrl for your wise words. CT or PET scan.... another waiting game. I may bust before all the waiting is done. How do they determine if it is a recurrence or a new tumor? All the medical professionals I spoke with keep telling me it's a small tumor so it should be surgery.... but it's not that easy, is it?

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,959
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    roareus,

    They use a biopsy sample and compare it to your previous tumor. They look at the hormone receptors and perhaps other characteristics to determine whether it is new or recurrent.
    I know the waiting is difficult but it is encouraging to know that they believe the tumor is small. You are correct, bc and all the things that go into testing and treatment are not easy. Breast cancer has lots of variables and is more complicated than most people think.
    As for the waiting, please know that it will not compromise your health. Breast cancer is not considered an emergency in the same way a stroke or heart attack is. While you want things to keep moving along, as they are for you, a few weeks won’t make any difference though I understand the emotional component can be rough. Take care

  • roareus
    roareus Member Posts: 68
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    I have a question for my amazing sisters here. If my tumor ten years ago was estrogen positive, progesterone positive, and Her negative but this time around, it's estrogen positive, progesterone negative, and Her negative, is it considered the same? Would they consider it a recurrence or a new cancer? Thank you for listening.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,959
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    roareus,

    Certainly hormonal status being the same would be part of what is taken into consideration but I don’t know if other factors are involved as I mentioned above. Because the progesterone status has changed, I would think it would be considered new but… I am not an oncologist. I know you are anxious but really try to focus on what you know with certainty right now and not borrow trouble. Take care.

  • roareus
    roareus Member Posts: 68
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    Had a PET scan on Friday. It says one node is suspicious. How bad is that? Looking for positive words/encouragement and prayers.

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 1,004
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    roareous, I had a positive node (didn’t know until after surgery.) I still didn’t need chemo. It changed my radiation plan to include the nodes. Unless something more turns up it is still considered early stage. It’s difficult to get the details in dribs an drabs. Once you have the surgical pathology and a treatment plan things should improve.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,959
    edited February 6
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    roareus,

    There is no measure of “how bad” something is due to a positive node as you can’t look at that in isolation (and you are not even certain that it is positive). This is a good time to practice stopping catastrophic thinking that is not based on reality. Nodal status is certainly a part of determining stage and treatment plans but there are other factors that will be considered.
    I know it is stressful to wait in order to get the full picture but stop thinking “bad” based on incomplete information. Each piece of information is important but those pieces need to be looked at as a whole, not in isolation. Yes, it stinks to left hanging but you want treatment decisions to be based on all tests/info as a whole. Take care

  • roareus
    roareus Member Posts: 68
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    @exbrnxgrl I know you are right. Question... do you do anything to stay calm like mediation or something? Everything you say is very wise and encouraging so I would like some advice. Thank you...

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,959
    edited February 6
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    roareus,

    Please bear in mind that I have been dealing with this for 12 years so cut yourself some slack 😊. Let me say that although I can be a worrier, I don’t always leap to the worst possible conclusions. That simply isn’t in my nature but I have long practiced yoga, even before bc. If you want to laugh, imagine a 60+ year old woman balancing on top of a double student desk in order to teach yoga to three first grade classes over Zoom (and remember, I was stage IV de novo). Hopefully, that laugh relaxed you a bit 😊.

    I think distraction, especially when you are still in the testing/info gathering stage is a good coping mechanism. Additionally, many of us have sought therapy and meds, especially to get through all this initial stuff. But in the end time will be what makes things better. You are still in the early phase of bc where not everything is known and no treatment plan has been established. Once that plan is established, it seems a bit less stressful because you not only have a detailed dx but a plan of action .In the meantime, see what might work for you; yoga, guided imagery, meditation, long walks, etc.
    Be kind to yourself and remember if other bco members seem to be handling this well, it’s often because we have simply had more time to adjust to it. Oh, and meds. You don’t need to make a long term commitment to them but they really can help things.* Take care

    *I am not currently taking an antidepressant but I did in the early years. .