We are 161,517 members in 81 forums discussing 127,295 topics.

Help with Abbreviations

All TopicsForum: Just Diagnosed → Topic: "Metastatic" Breast Cancer

Topic: "Metastatic" Breast Cancer

Forum: Just Diagnosed — Discuss next steps, options, and resources.

Posted on: Jun 12, 2012 12:27PM

LoriBach wrote:

I had a Fine Needle Biopsy of my right axillary lymph node because several appeared inflamed on an MRI.  I spoke to the surgeon after the results came in and she had informed me that the biopsy came out postive.  I knew from the previous office visit that an Axillary Dissection was in my future should this be the case.

Today I picked up the pathology report while I was at the hosptial.  The pathologist used the word "metastatic"... is breast cancer considered metastatic when it spreads to the lymph nodes?

Lori Dx 5/14/2012, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Chemotherapy 8/15/2012 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 1/11/2013 Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab)
Log in to post a reply

Posts 1 - 18 (18 total)

Log in to post a reply

Jun 12, 2012 12:40PM , edited Jun 12, 2012 12:40PM by Chickadee

Typically the word metastatic is used to describe cancer that has spread beyond the breast and lymph nodes. For example to the bones, liver, lungs or brain. It would then be stage IV.

I'm in such bad shape, I'm wearing prescription underwear." Phyllis Diller 1917-2012 Dx 9/1/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
Log in to post a reply

Jun 12, 2012 12:44PM Josiekat wrote:

Hi Lori. I just had my node dissection a month ago and I am recovering nicely. I had crazy cancer in just about every local node possible...including a couple that are inoperable. I remember seeing and hearing metastatic in the beginning, but to be stage four, the cancer must set up shop in a distant place, like bones or organs or distant nodes. It is confusing. Talk to your Onc, they can translate all of the craziness. Good luck to you!

Dx 12/6/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2-
Log in to post a reply

Jun 12, 2012 12:45PM LoriBach wrote:

That is what I thought.  But since I have not had any pet or CT scans how would they know that?

Lori Dx 5/14/2012, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Chemotherapy 8/15/2012 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 1/11/2013 Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab)
Log in to post a reply

Jun 12, 2012 12:45PM yorkiemom wrote:

That's my understanding also. Movement to breast lymph nodes is considered a localized metastasis and is typically Stage II or III I think.

Life is what happens while we're making other plans. Dx 10/18/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 2/21 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
Log in to post a reply

Jun 12, 2012 12:47PM LoriBach wrote:

Thank you Josie - I have been sitting here freaking out...just the word "Metastatic" is enough to freak me out.

Lori Dx 5/14/2012, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Chemotherapy 8/15/2012 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 1/11/2013 Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab)
Log in to post a reply

Jun 12, 2012 12:48PM rava wrote:

In my path report it says 7 out of 14 nodes are metastatic. It means that the cancer had gone to 7 nodes. I knew before I went to surgery that I had positive nodes. The surgeon then removed "all" axillary nodes.

Hopes this clears things for you.

MX 11.8.11 no recon. Medullary carcinoma. Ki67 84% starting chemo 12.16.11 FEC 100 x 4 Taxotere x 4. 17 cycles of Herceptin. 25 rads. Diep reconstruction 09.15.13 Dx 10/26/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 7/13 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2+
Log in to post a reply

Jun 12, 2012 12:50PM LoriBach wrote:

Thank you everyone...I think I am breathing again!Cool
Lori Dx 5/14/2012, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Chemotherapy 8/15/2012 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 1/11/2013 Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab)
Log in to post a reply

Jun 12, 2012 01:21PM Fitz33 wrote:

Lori, My path report also said I had metastatic but my NO said on a path report it doesn't mean the same as what we think, only that it spread to the nodes, making me a stage 3. Not to worry. I think she even said she wished they would come up with another term on the path reports as everyone reads that and freaks. Check with your MO or NO.

Dx 9/14/2010, IDC, 3cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 9/23 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Surgery 4/22/2011 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary, Right Hormonal Therapy 8/30/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy Breast, Lymph nodes Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)
Log in to post a reply

Jun 12, 2012 01:22PM Chickadee wrote:

I'm thinking I may have heard the phrase " local metastasis" to refer to the lymph node involvement. Someone can correct me. It can cause unnecessary freaking out on the part of the patient. So you wish they'd be careful in their descriptions.

I'm in such bad shape, I'm wearing prescription underwear." Phyllis Diller 1917-2012 Dx 9/1/2009, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
Log in to post a reply

Jul 1, 2012 05:04PM mom22ja wrote:

Do they have to do surgery to determine if the cancer has spread to the nodes?  I just had CT scan of chest, pelvis and abdomen and whole body bone scan that came out ok.  I have so much to learn!

Dx 6/26/2012, , 5cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/7 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 7/25/2012 Mastectomy: Left, Right; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary, Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 8/22/2012 AC Chemotherapy 10/20/2012 Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 1/9/2013 Breast
Log in to post a reply

Jul 1, 2012 05:18PM QuinnCat wrote:

Mom22 - pre-surgery, I had an ulstrasound of my nodes.  The Radiologist called it the "gold standard," but then said there was a 20% false negative rate.  Not so gold, but in my case, I was negative with the US, and negative post SNB.  I don't know if a CT or PetScan would supercede an US in these matters.

Log in to post a reply

Jul 1, 2012 05:18PM AnnNYC wrote:

Chickadee is right, "local metastasis" is a term for breast cancer in the axillary (armpit) lymph nodes. "Distant metastasis" is the term for what we all think of when we hear the word "metastatic" (Stage IV/ spread to bone or other distant site).

Dx 3/9/2007, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
Log in to post a reply

Jul 12, 2012 08:53AM Melissarg333 wrote:

My sister in law was just diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer that has speed to all her bones. She is mother of 3 and only 34. I am on here to try to get some knolage of what our family is about to help her get threw. She has started double radiation treatments and should be starting chemo as early as tomorrow . She has a dog and a cat at home, and I would like to know if anybody else has had to get rid of their pets during chemo? Will the pets germs make her more susceptible to infection?

Log in to post a reply

Jul 12, 2012 04:39PM Jejik wrote:

I also have metastatic breast cancer and my pets were a big comfort to me during chemo. I have never heard of someone having to get rid of their pets during treatment. I lived with both cats and dogs.

I am a breast cancer fighter, not a survivor. Dx 9/21/2010, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 1/10 nodes, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2+ Radiation Therapy Surgery Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary, Left Targeted Therapy Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel)
Log in to post a reply

Jul 13, 2012 02:11PM Angelfalls wrote:

I have mets, am currently doing chemo and my cat is sitting on my knee as I type! I haven't heard of anyone getting rid of their pets either. Just apply the usual hygiene precautions.

Dx 3/2003, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 3/31/2003 Mastectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right; Reconstruction (right): Latissimus dorsi flap Chemotherapy 4/29/2003 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 11/14/2003 Hormonal Therapy 1/4/2004 Dx 9/15/2006, , 5cm, Stage IV Radiation Therapy 10/31/2006 Surgery 1/30/2007 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 2/27/2007 Arimidex (anastrozole) Dx 10/5/2011, , Stage IV, mets Chemotherapy 1/4/2012 Xeloda (capecitabine) Chemotherapy 3/19/2012 Taxol (paclitaxel) Hormonal Therapy 10/23/2012 Aromasin (exemestane) Targeted Therapy 5/6/2013 Afinitor (everolimus) Hormonal Therapy 1/6/2014 Femara (letrozole) Chemotherapy 1/30/2014 Navelbine (vinorelbine)
Log in to post a reply

Jul 13, 2012 02:19PM etherize wrote:

mom22ja, the way they determine whether cancer has spread to the nodes is usually a sentinel node biopsy (SNB).  They'll inject you with a dye or radioactive tracer (or both) and that will "light up" the node(s) closest to the tumor.  They'll remove that one (or two) and see if cancer is in it.

Often they'll do the SNB at the same time as the surgery to remove your primary tumor, especially if you have a lumpectomy.  

I had my CT scans after that surgery.  So you may have already had the surgery and the SNB.  In that case, your pathology report would say whether cancer had spread to the nodes.  Ask your breast surgeon (BS) or medical oncologist (MO).

Dx 8/17/2011, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/14/2011 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel, Left Surgery 10/17/2011 Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary, Left Chemotherapy 12/19/2011 CMF Radiation Therapy 5/7/2012 Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2012 Arimidex (anastrozole)
Log in to post a reply

Jul 13, 2012 04:58PM Kathy044 wrote:

etherize, Lori had a fine needle biopsy of the inflamed node which was done before surgery, the pathology report of that test showed cancer, so SNB will not be required. 

Lori my fnb pathology report read: "Positive for metastatic carcinoma - consistent with breast origin", (along with some other scary stuff from the microscopic description). I had an axillary dissection the same time as lumpectomy, so they put in one drain and I stayed overnight in hospital. 15 nodes were removed, only the one turned out to be positive. My BS said, looks like that one node did it's job ie prevented the distant spread of the cancer.

Are you heading for surgery or will they be doing the dissection before neo adjuvant chemo? Either way it is nice to be able to know exactly what is happening with our cancers up front instead of worrying later.

Kathy

Dx 2009, ILC, Right, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 2, 1/15 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/28/2009 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary, Right Chemotherapy 12/15/2009 translation missing: en.treatments.chemotherapy.chemotherapy_regimen.options.short_regimens.other Radiation Therapy 5/1/2010 Whole-breast: Breast Hormonal Therapy 6/3/2010 Arimidex (anastrozole)
Log in to post a reply

Jul 14, 2012 12:19AM ridergirl wrote:

Just had a "chemo education" class last week and someone asked that question about pets. Like others have said here, we were told we absolutely do not need to get rid of any pets just wash hands after touching them, and if u have a cat
u r off litter box duty :-)

Dx 6/25/2012, , 6cm+, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 7/8/2012 Chemotherapy 10/3/2012 AC Chemotherapy 11/15/2012 Adriamycin (doxorubicin), Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil) Chemotherapy 1/24/2013 Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 2/10/2013 Bone