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Topic: My sister has breast cancer

Forum: For Caregivers, Family, Friends and Supporters —

A place to share your struggles and concerns about supporting and caring for a person you love diagnosed with breast cancer with others who understand.

Posted on: May 14, 2008 11:20PM - edited May 14, 2008 11:21PM by misskriss

misskriss wrote:

My sister was diagnosed with IDC last month. Her pathology report reads:

Breast tissue with infiltrating poorly differentiated Ductal Carcinoma, nuclear grade 2, mitotic index 1.

Her hormone test came back that she is ER negative, PR uncertain and Her-2 negative.

She had a lumpectomy 2 weeks ago with a sentinal node biopsy, and now the doctor said they didn't get good margins, and they have to do a mastectomy. She is going next week for that. The biopsy came back negative for no nodes involved.

She went to an ocologist who told her that if the sentinal node biopsy comes out negative (which it came out negative) she may not need chemo.  

I thought that if you are triple negative (which she is) you always should get chemo. Especially now that she did not get good margins.

Also, she was not sent for any scans or chest x-rays to make sure it didnt spread. Should she be more proactive and make sure she is getting the right care, or should she trust the doctors? 

If it was for myself, I would definately make sure I got the chest and bone scans and even a pet scan, but she just wants to follow what the doctors say.

Thanks in advance.

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May 14, 2008 11:37PM Easybreezy52 wrote:

I am sorry about your sister. Mine was too, over a year ago. I do not know about the chemo with triple negative. My sister was estrogen/progesterone positive. She did not want chemo, even though it was recommended( she was grade 3). She made the decision herself, and I have supported it, even though I don't know if I would have made the same decision. It is her body, she would have to deal with the treatment. I remember my sister telling me that she was in such a fog just dealing with the diagnosis that it was difficult to even think about what her options might be. She took some time and came here and learned a lot and made the decision that she felt was best for her in her situation. I was proud of her resolve in such a difficult time. I worry more about her now, then I did then because she has other things going on that although were probably not caused by her cancer, were really made worse because of it. Good luck to you, sorry I could not be more help with the technical stuff.

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May 14, 2008 11:47PM shokk wrote:

MissKriss if your sister is triple negative even if her nodes came back negative triples are always treated as if they have positive nodes......if she is triple negative she should do chemo........if her doctor is telling her she doesn't need chemo she really should get a second opinion........also there are also some very aggressive forms of triple that for some reason chemo doesn't work or the tumor doesn't respond to...............chemo is doable..........no one wants to do chemo but then again no one wants bc............with triple negative bc she needs to treat it with everything they have including chemo and radiation.....it will give your sister her best changes of not having a recurrence and/or mets..........Shokk

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May 14, 2008 11:52PM misskriss wrote:

Thanks for the reply Shokk. Also the fact that the pathology says poorly differentiated can't be good, right? and how about nuclear grade 2? what does that mean?


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May 15, 2008 12:01AM rockwell_girl wrote:

what was the size of her IDC?

If it's less than 1cm that might be why her doctor is saying no chemo

She should ask about the oncotype test that helps you decide if chemo is beneficial.  I hope the best for your sister

Is she considering reconstruction...it's amazing what they can do but many women are just fine with no reconstruction.  Just have her do what is best for herself and no one else : )

Sandy/Sunshine : ) Dx 3/4/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage I, Grade 1, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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May 15, 2008 12:34PM BethNY wrote:

grade 2 goes on a scale of grade 1, 2, or 3.  It looks at the cells uder the micrscope and grade 1 the nucleus is still in tact-- think back to 10th grade bio- when you have the circle with the clearly defined center.  Grade three is poorly defined, and tends to be a faster growing cancer. 

I agree with everyone here, that a second opinion is worthwhile.  If she's triple negative, depending on her age and the size of the tumor, chemo may be a good safeguard.

Please let us know what happens.

Be your own hero
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May 15, 2008 06:09PM - edited May 15, 2008 06:12PM by Shirlann

Hi, I am a Triple Neg and I did not have chemo.  I had a lumpectomy and rads.  Now, this was 9 & 1/2 years ago and things change. I did not have any extra tests at all.  But as I say, a long time ago.  Oh, also, I have never seen a pathology report that was psotive that DID NOT say "poorly differentiated", and aggressive.

If in doubt, get another opinion, hopefully with a specialty breast clinic.

Gentle hugs, shirlann

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May 31, 2008 01:32PM SoulSister wrote:

My sister was diagnosed with bc last month.  Following a lumpectomy, the margins did not look good and the sentinel node biopsy came back positive.  She will now be having a mastectomy with reconstruction (in mid-June).  She will then have 5 months of chemotherapy, with treatments every two weeks.  I need advice on how best to help her and prepare for what lies ahead.  What can my other sister and I do to provide the best support? help? assistance?  She is a single mom with four kids (ages 6-16).

Thanks for any input, wisdom and advice you can provide.   

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Jun 3, 2008 10:43PM nmcourtland32 wrote:

My sister was diagnosed today.  I am a Registered Nurse and work in what else then an Oncology Clinic, but with leukemia patients.  She is looking to me for answers and reassurance, since I am a oncology nurse.  I want to be a concerned sister, not an analyzing nurse.  I have told her that BC is different from leukemia and treatment is different.  What else can I do to seperate myself from my JOB as a nurse and my RESPONSIBILITY as a concerned, loving, and supportive sister?  Anyone please HELP!!

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Jul 7, 2008 12:59AM sisterofsabrina wrote:

Hello, My sister was diagnosed in January with bc and had a lumpectomy. Now it has gone to her bones. She is taking Zometa. Sometimes I can't breathe in and out and I feel like I'm choking. Morbid thoughts come in to my mind and I try to shake them out. I ask everyone I meet to pray for her. I try to be very upbeat when I am around her. She has small children and I go every night after work and help with what I can and just sit with her and live her life. At times I wish I wasn't alive so I wouldn't have to be dealing with this and then I think how she must feel. Is this my purpose in life to help her through this. Is there a place where I can talk to people on the drug Zometa? thanks, Robin

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Jul 7, 2008 01:06AM sisterofsabrina wrote:

Hello Soulsister, My sis has told me that she just wants laughter and positive...everything. We tease her all the time. She chooses some horrible show on tv and we tell her we will watch her choice because she has cancer. We all laugh. MY sis has children and one is three and is so funny he just keeps us laughing all the time. I am single so I can be there more to cook and help with chores and just be with her, while my other sis has a family but she has more money so she finances all of her trips to the doc (150 miles from home). She calls often. I will pray for you and your sister, I'm Robin

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Jul 7, 2008 02:02PM Arleen1114 wrote:

Hello everyone.  I just registered at this site although I have visited it a number of times over the past 18 months.  My sister was diagnosed with breast cancern in January 2007 and has had several ups and downs along the way.  Right now she is returning to a new normal in her life; she's returned to work and has resumed all activities she loved prior to diagnosis.  Her tumor marker was up last week, so a PET scan was performed and we will learn the results tomorrow.

It is so difficult to watch my sister, who is a year younger than I am, go through this journey.  Yet she has done so with optimism and grace and peace.  I love her so very much.  I'm sure that is true for all of you as well.

My best wishes to you all.  ~Arleen

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Jul 7, 2008 08:31PM feelinghelpless wrote:

I too have a sister who had a masectomy 5 years ago. Unfortunatey hers has returned and she is now battling the disease in her bones. They have found and given radiation to 3 tumours on her back so far and are now checking 2 more spots. I feel so helpless and wish i could do more for her and her family. She is only 50.

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Jul 7, 2008 10:46PM cwbyjnkies wrote:

Breast cancer is a baffling disease in that no two are truly alike. Things like age, background, size, grade, hormone receptors, her2 positive or neg...btw what was the fish results, environmental factors, margins clear or close, lymph node status. Then the bottom line comes down to a woman's choice.

I am reading with interest the feelinghelpless writing on what you can do for your sister. My sister was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at age 37 and lived 6 months. I moved her in with me as she was not married and her son lived with her ex. One of the things that she appreciated was touch...massage her feet, her hands....feel her energy and allow her to feel yours. This reciprical energy exchange is powerful. Mindful walks and really enjoying each other. We did not have a lot of money, but the laughter was priceless. Additionally, she slept a lot and I got her 800 thread comforter and sheets. She said it felt like heaven

This past april, I was diagnosed with Invasive ductal carcinoma, grade 3, 6mm, estrogen 90%positive, progesterone 20% positive, her 2 neg....although fish came back positive which puts me in line for chemo along with that grade 3 knee slapper of aggressiveness...lymph node negative. The way I understand it through the folks at MOFFITT cancer center in Tampa, is that sometimes the grade and the Her2 status can be predictors of recurrence. 

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Jul 13, 2008 08:12PM Heaven85 wrote:

i'm also feel sorry with your sister. Anyway, try to give her a full of supports. And always encourage her to make following treatment as well.



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Oct 11, 2008 03:41PM - edited Oct 11, 2008 03:42PM by ultraviolet

my sister has breast cancer she fell and broke her hip do to a tumor . She has had radiation therapy and two bouts of chemo . its stage 4 its all over her body

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Oct 13, 2008 07:27PM - edited Oct 13, 2008 07:29PM by hollyann

Two of my sisters had bc.....one died a month after the other was diagnosed...then 4 months after that I was dx..........CANCER SUCKS!!!!.......We lost our mother to bc in 1972 she was 52......Our oldest sister has/had facial cancer.........the sister who died was only 54and had had cancer 4 10 years.....She died of mets to her lungs......The other sister was stage 2 b   I was stage 1 b...........Did i mention CANCER SUCKS?!?!?!?!?....I am 44 my surviving bc sister is 49 .....Does this mean we will be dead by 52 or 54?.....I hope not....Much love hugs and special prayers to you all...may we have the cure this century............Lucy

Hugs and Love....Lucy Dx 1-15-07 IDC stage 1b grade 1, 1.6 cm.....Also DCIS grade 3, both in left breast Dx 1/15/2007, IDC, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 1, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 14, 2008 11:39PM saint wrote:

Hi--I just stumbled onto this thread--it has given me a new persepctive on how MY sisters may be feeling about MY cancer.

Robin--I have been on zometa for almost 5 years---I have had no side effects after the first infusion--what else do you want to know about bone mets??? Some say-IF you have to have bc mets bone mets is the one to choose---of course---no one WANTS any of this-but I have learned from my case & others' that bone mets tend to be easily managed if dx'd early. 

nmcortland----give your sister what she needs---love support & laughter! and the truth if she asks----part of WHO you are IS a nurse & you both know that--we are all different, but I tend to be pragmatic & call a spade a spade---like sabrina's sister---I tell jokes about my cancer & often say things about being the adult poster child for make-a-wish & how they need to give me MY way-----do what feels right--there is no recipe for this---it sux, but love carries us thru.

Hollyann---it just never seems to end for some families------ wish there was a quota for the bad stuff we have to endure----I keep you in my prayers!

Misskriss---a second opinion is NEVER a bad idea------I strongly suggest it so you can all feel comfortable with the choices she has to make

HUGE hugs to all you wonderful sisters--- I have 4 & recently had the good fortune to inform them (& my dd) that, tho our mom also had bc, I am NOT braca positive---that made me SO happy to be able to tell them that.

Be well & stay strong 

Life is not about waiting for the storms to end, but learning to dance in the rain! Orig dx Nov '00 stg1 gr3 0/27 pos nodes er/pr+ her2- mets dx apr '04 eyes & bones new dx jan '07 lung Dx ILC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 0/27 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 14, 2008 11:43PM saint wrote:

ahh-just noticed the date this thread was started was back in May-----hope misskriss can update us on her sister......

Life is not about waiting for the storms to end, but learning to dance in the rain! Orig dx Nov '00 stg1 gr3 0/27 pos nodes er/pr+ her2- mets dx apr '04 eyes & bones new dx jan '07 lung Dx ILC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 0/27 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 18, 2008 05:29PM chngyaneng wrote:

my sister has bc. she is going into surgery to remove the lump.

i really dont know what to do best for her. I am considering to be with her to help her - but i am not sure this is the right move. She is in australia and i am in malaysia. She has a wonderful husband and 2 kids - 16 and 10 years of age.

Its hard on her, cos she could not even talk to me. Has been crying and trying to keep herself up and going and be brave to face it.

What should i do? Show support - but how?? We never had breast cancer in our family line, not that we know of - so this is really hard - i wished it was me, instead of her.

 anyone has any suggestion on how i can best be of help and be supportive - and how i can best handle this 

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Oct 19, 2008 04:58PM saint wrote:

Hugs chngyaneng

I can only imagine how you feel-- I have always said I'd rather be the one WITH cancer than to have to watch someone I love go thru it!

I suggest you tell her what you wrote here---that you want to help in whatever way she needs you & let her tell you what that is---the most important thing hasn't changed--that you love each other & want to help. Be sure to remind her of that thru this--her needs may change as she walks this road. Let her know you are there for her

I will keep you all in my prayers--be well & stay strong.

Life is not about waiting for the storms to end, but learning to dance in the rain! Orig dx Nov '00 stg1 gr3 0/27 pos nodes er/pr+ her2- mets dx apr '04 eyes & bones new dx jan '07 lung Dx ILC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 0/27 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 25, 2008 10:03PM hattiemay41 wrote:

My sister was diagnosed with BC in July. She had a modified masectomy . Now she is doing chemo and her hair is coming out. She's devastated. I'm going to visit her this weekend what do I say to comfort her. Her hair has been the hardest on her.

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Oct 26, 2008 05:44AM mybeautifulsister wrote:

Hi Hattie,  my sister was dx in Feb. The most comforting thing (which I learned through trial and error) is let her express her anger, or devastion or what ever it is she is feeling, or she will close down and feel very lonely even though you are there for her. I feel it is imperative to allow our sisters to feel what they feel, hug her, cry with her, and most definetly cellebrate the good days she will have, they may be few and far between. Let her know you are there for her anytime day and night, and just listen to her, really listen. When she was first DX I was determined to always be positve, encourage her, I would say things like " you have to be strong" " It could be a lot worse" I am so proud of you"  " you look great, your head is so cute"!!!! Boy was I wrong, aqauintenses say thoe things, waht sheneeded from me to say was  " your right this sucks" she needed me to cry with her, it justifies their feelings, when she needs to be alone I leave her alone, when she needs to cry we cry, when she is sad I let her know it is ok to be sad, with subtle encouragement. This is a very draining process on siblings if you are close siblings as we are. Ceratinly I don`t let her see all my pain and sadness I feel everryday, I don`t let her see my devastation becasue I don`t want her to worry about me. Just be her sister, you are the one she shouldn`t have to put on airs for, there will be so many people around her that she has to do that with, be her soft cushion she can fall on, love her with all your heart, be always gentle with her. My sister thanks me for just allowing her to feel what she feels when she feels it, we were so close before and now I cannot even describe to you the strength in our sisterly bond has become, it is WONDERFUL!!! Good luck to you, this for me has be the ultimate  emotional ride of my life because you feel helpless so many times.Read all the threads on this board, you will learn so much, remember knowledge is power and that is the best gift there is! (besides having a sister) keep us posted. Deb

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Oct 27, 2008 07:02PM hattiemay41 wrote:

thank you, my beautiful sister, your post was very encouraging. My sister and I haven't always been real close no big problems just distance mostly, but her cancer has brought us so much closer. It is really hard to see her go through this but she hasn't complained much . She went back to work about 2 wks. after her surgery, which we were there for, and she misses work the day of her chemo and the next day, she says she has her good days and bad. She lives in NC and I live in WV. Her cancer was stage 2 because of its size but it was totally encased in itself and had not tried to travel outside of that, so that was good. She has felt really good most of the time, her first chemo , she called me that night and she had been sick several times. The day after too, then it was more just nauseous for a few days. After her second treatment she was just nauseous for a day or too but then came the hair. She had long hair. But I know she'll get through this it just takes a lot of prayer and faith. Can I ask you a question? Does your sister's cancer scare you for yourself? I feel so selfish when I think about it. But I know that her having it has increased my risk also. Does that sound selfish or what?  Thank you for listening.

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Oct 27, 2008 08:10PM mybeautifulsister wrote:

Hi hattie,

I absolutely get scared about getting B/C!!! Nothing to feel guilty  about, I think that it is natural to feel scared because our risk has increased. Nothing about this is selfish, it is just how you feel and you are entittled to be scared. My sisters is stage 1 but invasive and spread to the lymphatic channel. Stay connected to her, it must be hard to be so far away, just do what you can, she is lucky to have you.

Keep in touch and you can ask me anything anytime


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Oct 27, 2008 08:21PM saint wrote:

Hugs Hatti & My, Try to laugh with them as much as you can, but cry with them as much as they need. IF you don't cry too it leaves them ALONE in this. Show them your true feelings---never much problem with honesty or the truth!

I feel priveledged to share your thoughts & feelings. My sisters have TRIED to help, but I truly think this scares them so much they are too afraid to just let it all be what it is. They need to believe I will OK--so I let them......Your fear is not selfish!! I suggest your sisters get the BRACA test. It is a genetic test that will show if she has the gene for bc. IF she is positive you can be tested, too. Odds are that she is negative, but my mom had bc & I know my sibs & dd were scared. When my test came back negative it was like a special gift I could give my daughter & sisters.

Hugs-----you care & that should help them more than you know. 

Be well & stay strong 

Life is not about waiting for the storms to end, but learning to dance in the rain! Orig dx Nov '00 stg1 gr3 0/27 pos nodes er/pr+ her2- mets dx apr '04 eyes & bones new dx jan '07 lung Dx ILC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 0/27 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 27, 2008 08:25PM mybeautifulsister wrote:


My mom  did get the braca test and all neg. thanks for your words


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Oct 28, 2008 09:01PM hattiemay41 wrote:

Saint, Thanks for your post. Im not sure if she had the BRACA test but I will ask her. I'm going down to visit this weekend. Crying with her is no problem, i seem to do that a lot. I'm an emotional person anyway, my son says I cry when I'm happy, cry when I;m sad, mad and everything in between, lol.This has been hard on my son too, who's 12, my sister and him have always been close and he hates to see her sick. Kids have to grow up so fast now. Any way take care and never give up hope. I am a Christian are you? I came across something the other day that said Faith is not hoping God will hear you but Faith is knowing that He will. Many prayers are sent your way. Thank you

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Oct 29, 2008 10:57PM saint wrote:

Hugs & thanx Hattie----please PM me anytime! I will be here to support you in any way I can!

Be well & stay strong 

Life is not about waiting for the storms to end, but learning to dance in the rain! Orig dx Nov '00 stg1 gr3 0/27 pos nodes er/pr+ her2- mets dx apr '04 eyes & bones new dx jan '07 lung Dx ILC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 0/27 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Nov 10, 2008 08:23PM hattiemay41 wrote:

Dear Saint, Hello how are you. The visit went well with my sister but bad news has happened ever since. On Monday Nov. 3 when we got home my cousin called and his daughter has a brain tumor. she's 11. On tues. Nov. 4 my sister called and they think her husband has throat cancer, my friend called me on wed. and her sister has BC and on thursday my husbands cousin died. So its been a bad week. How are you doing? Sometimes things are harder than you think you can bear but you get the strength to get through anything.  Take Care

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Nov 11, 2008 11:52PM saint wrote:

hugs hattie- I sent you a pm....

Life is not about waiting for the storms to end, but learning to dance in the rain! Orig dx Nov '00 stg1 gr3 0/27 pos nodes er/pr+ her2- mets dx apr '04 eyes & bones new dx jan '07 lung Dx ILC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 0/27 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-

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