Aug 8, 2019 12:05PM WC3 wrote:
Cancer can simmer for years before it becomes detectable and even palpable breast cancer can yield negative mammogram interpretations. Also, some cancers metastasize while microscopic and the mets and primary tumor grow together and become apparent around the same time.
But I came across a case study which was very tragic. A 22 year old woman had swelling in her breast for 3 or so months and presented with a localized 5cm metaplastic tumor. These are fast growing and aggressive. Two weeks later she started chemotherapy. Two weeks in to the chemotherapy, the tumor had grown to 10cm and the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. An emergency mastectomy and axilliary lymph node dissection was performed, with 6 of 6 positive for mets, and the tumor measured 12cm x 14cm at that time. She then continued chemotherapy.
After chemotherapy the study says that she "defaulted follow up and underwent traditional Chinese medicine instead" against medical advice, but that might not be relevant because her cancer was triple negative and there wasn't much left to do except maybe radiation.
4 months later she presented with a large fungating mass which had killed her left arm requiring amputation.
She also had a mass growing on the opposite breast. Yet despite the severity of the disease, scans came up negative for advanced metastasis. She died two weeks later. I am guessing from advanced local disease rather than metastasis.
The total time that elapsed between diagnosis and her passing was 6 months.
It illustrates how fast some cancers can move.