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Topic: So scared of metastasis at diagnostic. Possible for stage 2?

Forum: Stage II Breast Cancer — Meet, share and support others with Stage II Breast Cancer

Posted on: Jul 4, 2018 10:00PM

MiaG wrote:

Hi, I am new here and from Norway (excuse bad English). I have stage 2 I believe. In short, I had one quite small tumor of 14 mm. removed, along with two sentinel lymph nodes. One showed after surgery to be positive for cancer cells by 2,5 mm. My doctors concider this just above the limit for getting radiation (2 mm.)   I am now on chemo. Doctors are positive.

Still, I am so extremely scared right now. Can it be possible (well, I guess) to already have methastases in my body? Have anyone heard of this for this stage? When is methastasis at diagnostic point more "common", if there are any similarities?

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Jul 4, 2018 10:54PM vlnrph wrote:

Hello - your English is fine! Are you far enough north to be having extra hours of sunlight this time of year?

Although I can't answer all your concerns, here are a few things to keep in mind: our bodies are frequently making mutated cells which our healthy immune systems then recognize and destroy. Plus, you are on chemo which also kills cancer. So, be good to yourself by eating well and doing exercise when you feel up to it. Try not to worry...

Unles you are having other unexplained symptoms such a headache/chronic cough/pain doctors have no reason to suspect metastatic disease. The only intervention I had at diagnosis was a chest x-ray mainly to serve as a baseline for comparison in the future. Even when stage 4, it's possible to enjoy decades of life. You will be fine.

IDC too! Rt MX+DIEP 4-2011; ALND 5-2011 d/t micromets; TC X 4; tamoxifen; lymphedema as of 9-18-11; switch to letrozole 3-15-14; Discovery made during chemo=I'm a human BEING, not a human DOING Dx 3/7/2011, ILC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/25 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 4, 2018 10:55PM moth wrote:

Hi Monica76,

Odds are in your favour that it has not metastasized. I mean it is possible but overall, it's not likely.
You can look at some large scale survival statistics here http://www.predict.nhs.uk/predict_v2.1/

The thing is, we just don't know for whom it will turn out to have spread or who will have a recurrence. All we can do is treat it appropriately and hope for the best.

You may also be interested in reading a bit about the theories of breast cancer - theories is what we have because we don't actually know. I think if you google for these terms you will find literature in Norwegian (perhaps in med school textbooks?) because these are common breast cancer oncology theories.

The "Halstead theory" is that it starts in a local area and then has the potential to seed and spread throughout the body.

The "Fisher theory" is that breast cancer is systemic and that right at the beginning, it either is metastatic or not, and that tumors which will metastasize will do so even before diagnosis and before clinical signs of metastases.

Then there's the Spectrum theory which says it's a bit of both theories. As research continues, I'm sure we will continue to gain more understanding of how and why certain cancers recur and others don't.

The anxiety and fear of recurrence and spread is common though. I think most if not all of us struggle with it. I think it's important to find some way of coping with that.

best wishes -

Dx at 50; Left, IDC/DCIS 1.7 cm, Stage I, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, pathology ER+/PR-, HER2-; Oncotype says ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 12/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 2/14/2018 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy
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Jul 5, 2018 02:24AM MiaG wrote:

Thank you so much for your answers! And yes, I do get plenty of sunshine, it has been weeks now with high temperatures up to 30 degrees c in Oslo, record for Europe :-) too hot for wearing my wig, but will not complain about that.

I will try to keep a positive focus, but at the time I feel it is very difficult. But I guess this comes with it all and that I have to learn to deal with it somehow. It is so much at stake, I have three kids. But glad to find this forum, I have already read many sunshine stories, that helps.

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Jul 5, 2018 09:46AM 1redgirl wrote:

20 plus years ago, I found a small tumor that was DCIS. I actually knew I was sick as I had the shakes. It was summer and I was freezing. I was 40 at that time. I had the tumor removed and that was it. Late 2017, I began to shake again. I had skin cancer on my right breast removed in early 2017. So that breast got handled a lot. However, I felt 3 tumors late 2017. I knew I was sick again, only this time the cancer was aggressive. My doctor thinks it developed in a few months, not years. Again, I had the tumors removed and because of my age have declined treatment. At the moment, I feel good. I bike 20 miles a day, and eat a no carb, no sugar diet, which has completely removed migraines, joint pain, that I have been plagued with for years. I spend a considerable amount of time researching breast cancer. I have come to this realization. It is not curable, and its progression cannot be certain no matter the path taken to stop it. It seems to be extremely unique for each woman. A friend had a mother and grandmother both with breast cancer. Both began treatment, but the grandmother eventually gave it up. She lived into her 80s. Her mom died much sooner still aggressively treating it.

The symptoms of metastasis seems unique as well. My mother was diagnosed with melanoma cancer, refused treatment and lived several years with no symptoms it had spread. She traveled, and led a full life. She would have a stroke and that is when they found out she was full of cancer everywhere. She would pass away within a year. Age 83.

Breast cancer changes our lives. There can be no denying that. None of us are promised tomorrow. We all should live each day as if it our last. When I got cancer the first time, I would make a decision that drastically changed my life. I left home to pursue a dream. I figured why not? I learned a lot about myself, and became best friends with a courageous woman fighting for her life with stage IV breast cancer. It was God’s plan.
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Jul 5, 2018 11:00PM vlnrph wrote:

Monica76 (the year she was born?) with 3 kids to worry about sounds fairly young. Whenever I learn of a premenopausal diagnosis, I wonder whether genetic counseling has been suggested.

Even with little family history of cancer, mutations can ‘hide’ through a couple male generations, only to surface decades later. Something to consider once chemotherapy is done!

Redgirl, congratulations on knowing your body so well. If you’re only in somewhere in your 60s that is certainly not too old for aggressive treatment. You can always quit should the side effects become unbearable.

IDC too! Rt MX+DIEP 4-2011; ALND 5-2011 d/t micromets; TC X 4; tamoxifen; lymphedema as of 9-18-11; switch to letrozole 3-15-14; Discovery made during chemo=I'm a human BEING, not a human DOING Dx 3/7/2011, ILC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/25 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jul 6, 2018 01:52AM MiaG wrote:

Hi again! It is common practice in Norway to suggest genetic testing when bc occurs at young age. I was nearly 42 when diagnosed. I did the testing, too scared in case I was at more risk. To my surprise I did have the BRCA2. We have no family history of bc.

I will do the necessary preventive operations as soon as I am done with the treatments. Will do all I can to be around for my kids, for sure.

It is a mental rollercoaster now, but today I feel more at ease. Thanks to all the good stories and understanding that s many women have come through this.

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Jul 12, 2018 02:35AM JaBoo wrote:

Hi Monica, I live in Europe too (a bit down from you, in central E.). I feel for you as I am in somewhat similar situation... I have 2 small kids and am 38. Starting chemo next Monday and I'm scared stiff. I had micrometastasis in one of 3 sentinel nodes too...

How are you coping with chemo? How far along are you?

I have found your topic via search tool, because I was searching for tips - how to manage the household with small kids during chemo... I am considering starting a topic, if I don't find any...

Please consider adding your diagnosis and treatments in your signature, as this really helps when somebody is answering your questions... are you hormone or her2 positive?

Regarding your fear of mets somewhere in your body - well, I guess nobody knows for sure, but I think it is unlikely with your small tumor... Do they do tests for mets in Norway? I have had some tests, like lungs x-ray, bone scan and ultrasound check of liver - so far nothing was found and my tumor was bigger than yours.

I will do the genetic testing too, but it's really a hassle here. I don't get it - it takes at least 3 months or longer. So there was no chance to get the result prior to my operation (which I had exactly 1 month after I found my lump). How long does it take in Norway to get the result? I'm sorry to hear you tested positive... I peobably will be positive too, since 2 mothernal aunts had BC (both alive and well and 5+ years out)

dx at 38 Dx 5/22/2018, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (FISH) Surgery 6/14/2018 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Surgery 6/19/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Chemotherapy 7/15/2018 AC + T (Taxol)
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Jul 13, 2018 03:17AM MiaG wrote:

Jaboo, sorry to hear you (or anyone) are in the same situation. Nobody should…

I have to say I cope with the chemo very well. For me it has not been so bad. I manage quite a lot, and try to work out a bit, although I definitely feel tired and less energetic also. I think it is important to accept that we need more rest during this treatment.

I have had two treatments out of four now, and yesterday I did a shorter mountain hiking (this is in the last week before the third chemo) and felt so good afterwards! But I have to say that my husband has taken quite a lot with the kids. Main tip is to get as much help as possible during your treatment, pay for cleaning at least, so that you have time to both relax and be active.

Regarding my fears; I can of course do tests for that here, but I have been told by my doctors that it is highly unlikely that it has spread, but just in case, I get the chemo and radition. If I want to do some scans, I can, but I try to listen to the docs. My treatment with chemo and radiation is standard procedure in my case as I also had micro mets in the one sentinel node. 

You could say the mental part has been harder for me than the chemo part...so far at least. Although, I feel better now after reading a lot of positive stories, in combination with all stories I have heard from people I know who knows people getting through this and is fine. 

Regarding the genetic testing. I got the answer after a month, it takes some time, but in some cases I think they can push it. I was so surprised as NOBODY in my family has had BC. I have also heard another family with three sisters with BC, but without the gene. I would say with BC there are always surprises and uncertainties, but we have to keep in mind that the prognosis for this is very good. Wish you the best going foreward, we will get through this!

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Jul 13, 2018 11:31PM vlnrph wrote:

How nice to hear from a couple of European ladies! I hope to visit both of your countries some day...

You are both younger than I was at diagnosis and I did not have radiation even though micromets were found on the sentinel node because my DIEP flap was already in place but I am over 7 years out and feel fine.

With JaBoo being HER+ she'll have additional chemo however can be thankful that such treatment has now been available for nearly two decades. Enjoy the rest of the summer, hug your kids and take it easy when you need to.

IDC too! Rt MX+DIEP 4-2011; ALND 5-2011 d/t micromets; TC X 4; tamoxifen; lymphedema as of 9-18-11; switch to letrozole 3-15-14; Discovery made during chemo=I'm a human BEING, not a human DOING Dx 3/7/2011, ILC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/25 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-

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