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Recently diagnosed

yasminerivera Member Posts: 2

Hi all, I’m new to this forum and some other patients I have met recommended me to come here. I just got diagnosed with stage 2A ductal invasive carcinoma, ER+/PR+/ HER- and I’m 26 years old. I have a 3.2 cm lump in my left breast. The treatment they want me to do is chemotherapy first even though they said there is a chance my tumor won’t react to the chemo and then I would undergo surgery to remove it. Is that normal? Can anyone tell me if they’ve had to go this route too and their experience?


  • nilespark44
    nilespark44 Member Posts: 37

    I have no idea if that's normal but most people might suggest a second opinion. I know someone who got 3 opinions. Good luck and please, if you aren't comfortable or sure about treatment. Seek another opinion

  • mandy23
    mandy23 Member Posts: 113

    Hi @yasminerivera -

    Glad you have found us, but sorry for the reason you are here….

    There are different orders of treatment depending on many things like how large the tumor is and where it is located. Sometimes they want to treat it first to reduce the size to make it easier to remove surgically.

    My situation was different than yours, so I can't share a similar experience.

    Just thought I would tell you that it is pretty common to treat and then have surgery.

    Best of luck to you! Keep posting for advice as you go on this journey.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,287
    edited February 21

    Hi and welcome again @yasminerivera! We, too, are so sorry for the reasons that bring you here, but we're really glad you've found us. As you can already see, our community is full of helpful members always willing to offer advice, information, encouragement, and support — we're all here for you!

    It is common for some people to have chemotherapy treatment before surgery (called neoadjuvant treatment), in some instances. From our page called When Is Chemotherapy Used for Breast Cancer?:

    Before surgery for early-stage breast cancer (neoadjuvant chemotherapy)

    Doctors call chemotherapy given before surgery neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is given before surgery to shrink large cancers, which may:

    • give your surgeon the best chance of completely removing the cancer
    • allow you to have less extensive surgery — lumpectomy rather than mastectomy, for example
    • reduce the amount of cancer in the lymph nodes, allowing you to have less extensive lymph node surgery

    DCIS (stage 0), stage I, stage IIA and IIB, and stage IIIA are considered early-stage breast cancer.

    Chemotherapy before surgery also allows your doctor to:

    • see how the breast cancer responds to the chemotherapy medicines
    • see whether other medicines are needed to treat the breast cancer if it doesn’t respond to the chemotherapy medicines

    Again, doctors don’t recommend chemotherapy before surgery for everyone diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. But, depending on the characteristics of the cancer, doctors may recommend chemotherapy before surgery for people diagnosed with:


    We hope this helps! Please continue to let us know how we can support you while you navigate your care.

    —The Mods

  • spookiesmom
    spookiesmom Member Posts: 8,178

    Yes, I had chemo first, then surgery, then radiation. As said above, everyone is different, doesn’t seem to be a hard, fast rule on tx timeline.

  • yasminerivera
    yasminerivera Member Posts: 2

    Thank you all so much for the responses. Just trying my best to learn as I go!

  • jmfws10
    jmfws10 Member Posts: 10

    @yasminerivera I am also newly diagnosed and am having chemo first. I start tomorrow actually. Stage 2B ductal invasive carcinoma, ER+/PR+/ HER- I am having dose dense AC-T. Everything is so scary, but I’m ready to start treatment.

    The only way out is through.

    Sending everyone here strength.

  • salamandra
    salamandra Member Posts: 745

    I'm so sorry you're having to deal with this in your 20s. That just sucks.

    I have had different specific experiences, but I would say that this:

    "even though they said there is a chance my tumor won’t react to the chemo and then I would undergo surgery to remove it."

    … sounds like normal doctor prudence/disclosure to me. Doctors with enough experience know that no matter how strong their professional and informed prediction about the efficacy or outcome of a particular treatment may be, individual bodies and cancers vary and there's always a chance they are wrong. Cautious doctors will be open about the possibility of less than optimal outcomes, and prepare patients for that possibility.

    My understanding is that even when neoadjuvant chemo is less effective than hoped, it still can give additional information about the cancer that may be useful for further treatment.

    That said, many women find it comforting to seek a second opinion. And even when the opinions agree, different doctors have different ways of explaining things that could help you feel more confident. Most American insurances cover a second opinion for cancer, afaik. You shouldn't feel obliged to get one (I didn't), but you also shouldn't hesitate to do so if it feel right to you.

    Wishing you the best and easiest route through this shitty thing.

  • srahunt13
    srahunt13 Member Posts: 2

     @yasminerivera My daughter was diagnosed at 23 just 4 months ago. She was negative for genetics. She is in an incredible Young Adult Cancer support group which has provided her with lots of support. She is having neoadjuvant (before surgery) chemotherapy. She has one more chemo to go and then lumpectomy and radiation and a year of targeted HER2 therapy. If you haven't already make sure meet with a fertility specialist about egg retrieval. My daughter decided not to go through the procedure.

    Many prayers for you during this cary difficult time

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,287

    Welcome, @srahunt13. We're so sorry to hear about your daughter, we know this is all overwhelming and difficult. But we're glad to hear she's found a support group to lean on!

    If you haven't already, take some time to read through some of the resources and information in our Caregivers forum, we know that caring for someone who's been diagnosed with cancer is not without its own unique challenges and we're here to support you both.

    The Mods