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Jan 22, 2012 08:53PM
Jan 22, 2012 08:54PM
I posted early in the life of this thread and then must not have put it on my favorites list (duh) so I've been reading to catch up for the last hour. I see a lot of familiar names from the class of 2010 and also some new folks.
Beth, T3 means the tumor is >5 cm. TNM staging is usually determined after surgery, so you won't know for sure until the pathology report comes back. I am T3N0Mx, which means Tumor size > 5 cm, number of positive lymph Nodes = 0, and Metastisis = unknown. You can read about the staging here:
Neither my onc nor my surgeon told me a stage (and I didn't ask). I figured it out myself after I got my pathology report. When I did ask, they said they didn't want me to get hung up on a number, and it wouldn't change the treatment I received. I liked that approach.
I had one of those bagel-sized tumors, 9.7 x 9.4 x 4.7 cm. Thanks for posting that scale. I have always thought of it as tangerine sized. I also found my lump, but only after a bout of "mastitis" where I got a red patch on the skin for a few days and then a lump that was visible. When I first felt it, it felt the size and shape of a tootsie roll. I thought it would go away, that it was an infection (dumb, since my kids are in college). Why would I have mastitis? I had also had some shooting pains, but sort of ignored them.
I was 43 and had NOT been for my first mammogram yet, thinking I was not at risk after nursing two kids. I too, did not know I had any family history (one aunt) until after dx. I finally went to a friend who is an NP when my nipple started inverting. I did know that was bad. She sent me immedately for a diagnostic mammo and US. I could see the "stellate" pattern on the mammo film the radiologist showed me, although it didn't look anywhere near 10 cm at that time.
By the time I was approved for an MRI (mistake in waiting) and then finally a biopsy (4 months later??) it had grown. While getting the ultrasound guided biopsy, the tech was measuring the size of the tumor with the US and the BS said "don't go off the screen". I asked him, is there something else besides cancer that could be that large and cause this much damage? He said yes. But, I should have known. Even then I was still in shock to get the diagnosis when the biopsies came back.
Sorry for the long post. I really wonder how the tumors can crop up and grow so fast out of nowhere? It is also a mystery how such a huge tumor doesn't make it into the lymph nodes and some tiny ones do. Like Lago, I used Cancermath to assess the risk of lymph node involvment and it was 92%! I know I am not out of the woods completely, though.
Hugs to all my Big Sistas!
Rt. Mx 3/11/10 no recon. FECx3-Tx3. 28 Rads. Finished 10/26/10. Arimidex. On with life.
3/8/2010, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 0/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
3/10/2010 Mastectomy: Right