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Jan 21, 2007 12:12PM
It is true that nodal status does play a large part in tumor staging and recurrence statistics. But again statistics and staging are just generalized methods of categorizing cancer. I have been told that 0-3 positive nodes is the first general category, 4-9 nodes the second, and 10 or more nodes the third category as far as impact of positive nodes on staging. In addition nodes that are matted together or ruptured (extracapsular extension)are more cause for concern also.
Obviously no nodal involvement is what we all wish for but that is still no guarantee that cancer has not spread since there are other mechanism thru the vascular system for spread to occur. At the same time having positive nodes is not a guarantee of spread outside the local breast area either.
All 23 of my nodes removed were positive, largest size greater than 5mm and had extracapsular extension in the axilla. I could be really upset by that on one hand but on the other I am glad that these 23 little cancer sites were totally removed from my body and that the nodes were doing their job. I know my risk is still very high that other nodes not removed are positive but at some point we all just have to have faith in the decisions we make and move forward with life.
Liz you treated your cancer very aggressively and your cancer characteristics were very favorable! Try not to let cancer take away your peace of mind. I know thats a tall order for all of us and I accept that we can never completely wipe out the "what ifs", but I refuse to let doubt take over my life. Thats one of the reasons this site is so great because we all can indentify with and understand totally the emotions and fears that cancer tries to smother us with. It is so encouraging to me to hear the strength and determined wills of so many women who continue to beat the odds. Makes it easier for the rest of us to face each day.
Life is not measured by how many breaths we take...but by the moments that take our breath away! ...I am a 14/9 yr survivor of 2 Primary BCs, 23/23 Positive Nodes (Zometa x 5 years) Started Paloma-3 Clinical Trial 4-14-14
7/14/2000, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 2/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
8/10/2000 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel
8/29/2000 AC + T (Taxol)
2/25/2001 Breast, Lymph nodes
11/21/2005, ILC, 5cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 1, 23/23 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2-
12/4/2005 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right
12/22/2005 Taxotere (docetaxel), Xeloda (capecitabine)
4/6/2006 Aromasin (exemestane)
4/6/2006 Breast, Lymph nodes
3/21/2014, ILC, Stage IV, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2-
4/13/2014 Faslodex (fulvestrant)