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Help with Abbreviations

Topic: 74 and counting

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

Posted on: Dec 3, 2018 08:27AM

Barbara44 wrote:

recently diagnosed with a recurrances of invasive ductal carcinoma. First cancer was 3.5 years ago. Clean margins, no lymph node involvement., tiny cancer. I did not have chemo, or radiation as the onco score and my age at that time, although suggested for the radiation, I was actually borderline for the therapy. I did however, start taking anti hormone medication. I could not olerate the effects and after researching, second opinions, and other variants, I decided that based on the information I had learned that there was a 3% variance in the 5 year survival rate, or recurrances rate, of this cancer returning without taking the medication. I stopped taking it. Yes, I did notify the Doctor. Well, 3.5 years later with a 6 month follow up mamogram and biopsy, the cancer had returned. Very near the original site. Less than the size of pea, same cancer. Lumpectomy followed with pathology of clean margins, no lymph node I volvement. This was in November of this year.

Now, to my request for your help and input. Now, at 74 years of age, life expectancy of 12 to 16 years, I am again wrestling with the option of radiation and/or medication. My quality of life is number one at this stage in my life. I do have bone on bone arthritis and high blood pressure (on medication).

I have been doing my homework, talking with oncology, and have an appointment with radiology next week. The effects of either of these therapies is what draws me away for incorporating either of them at this stage of my life.

My nstincts do not want either of these therapies but i would stay closely monitored as I have been with 6 month mammograms, and if and should this cancer return it would be discovered early once again. However, as you can tell, I wouldn't be posting here if I weren't wrestling with this decision.

Unfortunately, my age bracket falls between the cracks of studies in senior women. I would certainly appreciate hearing from anyone who is in my place with this and how you reached your ultimate decision.

The medical staff is so supportive, they are presenting me with all my options, and have stated explicitly that the final decision is mine.

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Dec 3, 2018 10:20AM rockymountaingirl wrote:

Barb, I was diagnosed with IDC earlier this year at the age of 70. I also had a small tumor with no cancer in the lymph nodes, but, because my cancer was aggressive, I had both chemotherapy and radiation. I had 19 radiation treatments, 15 "regular" (whole breast) and 4 "boosts" (focused on the area of the cancer). I moisturized as instructed and had very few side effects. My skin got a little pink, as if it was sunburned, and for a while it was itchy, but it quickly returned to normal after treatment ended. I did have some fatigue, too, but that may have been due to the chemo that I had earlier rather than the radiation, and in any event, it wasn't severe. So for me, radiation wasn't bad at all.

Dx 3/8/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Dx 4/24/2018, DCIS, Left, Stage 0 Surgery 4/24/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Surgery 5/15/2018 Lumpectomy: Left Chemotherapy 6/9/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxol (paclitaxel) Radiation Therapy 9/26/2018 Whole-breast: Breast
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Dec 3, 2018 10:35AM Moderators wrote:

Dear Barbara44,

Welcome to the BCO community. We are so sorry about your recurrence but very glad that you reached out to our members. We are sure that you will find support and helpful information that is offered by the shared experiences of others with your circumstances. Here is some information about all things Radiation Therapy that might be helpful to you in your decision. We hope that you will continue to hear from others like rockymountaingirl who can offer you their stories for further consideration. Keep us posted on what you decide and best wishes to you for the very best outcome. The Mods

To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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Dec 3, 2018 12:58PM Mystic18 wrote:

Oh Barbara, I am so sorry to hear this for you.

I have very high risk of BC and recently had my second biopsy in the past 12 months. Still waiting for the results of that and so am not speaking of personal experience but I can share information about my aunt and moms.

My adoptive mother was diagnosed with Stage 3 IDC at 75 in the fall of 2016. She had all of it: Chemo, radiation, etc. She did not handle any of it well. My birth mother was diagnosed with Stage 2 IDC at 62 last fall and had radiation - she tolerated that very well. My aunt also had IDC stage 2 at 78 and had radiation - also tolerated it very well. The difference between my adoptive mom and aunt (since their ages were most similar to yours) was their overall mental health and outlook on life. My mom went into this with a very sour attitude - she felt the lump many months prior to having anything done about it and may have avoided the extensive therapies and treatments if she'd jumped on it. On the other hand, my aunt was the first person to pick up the phone immediately after noticing the lump and kept her head held high with a huge smile and gratitude for life the whole time.

The only thing I can offer you in my 44 years of life experience is that attitude and outlook seem to have an effect on how people handle treatment. I'm sure other women on here who have been through this themselves, or know someone who has, can prove or disprove this but from what I've seen personally it seems true. The way you write makes me believe you're a fighter and I've no doubt you will make the decision that feels right for you. I am thrilled you have a supportive team and that you're doing everything you can to gather as much information as possible.

It was recommended I take Tamoxifen last year after my benign abnormal biopsy. I declined due to its side effects. Now, going through another biopsy at just 12 months later, I am rethinking that decision. I didn't want to enter menopause early if possible but I don't want more children at my age and my mood swings have already increased back to that of a teenager in the last year so I feel like it's coming whether I want it to or not. :)

I wish you peace and confidence during this decision making process. XO

Hugs and love from Pennsylvania.

Dx 12/5/2018, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IB, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 1/8/2019 Mastectomy: Left, Right Hormonal Therapy 2/13/2019
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Dec 3, 2018 02:17PM Barbara44 wrote:

Thank you, Mystic. I think the fact that this is a recurrances in the same breast elevates the importance of doing some kind of follow up therapy. There are just so many plusses and minuses no matter what avenue is taken including none at all. I have tried to find information on a possible third recurrances in the same breast if I did nothing at this time. I know I sound all over the place...that is because I am....

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Dec 3, 2018 02:39PM Barbara44 wrote:

Thank you for your reply. I so appreciate your encouraging words. There are extenuating circumstances incorporated into my decision making process which make me so protective of the quality of life I have now, and the mountain I climbed to get here. I have made the Doctors aware of those circumstances and I so appreciate the fact that they are listening and supportive. This is so not easy to deal with......

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Dec 3, 2018 03:22PM YoungTurkNYC wrote:


Chemo and anti-hormonal therapy are not for local recurrences (the ones in the breast) but they are rather systemic therapies which prevent recurrence in other parts of the body and in the other organs (such as preventing the cancer from coming back in the bones or liver or other sites where breast cancer tends to metastasize). I just wanted to make this post because your post seemed to indicate that by having mammograms you could catch the next cancer early, and hence, you do not need any other therapy, However, having mammograms or local breast follow up does not catch metastatic cancer early, and systemic therapy is intended to prevent metastatic cancer.

That being said, I understand your concerns about having systemic therapy. My mom was also diagnosed with an extremely small cancer, and she refused therapy (other than surgery) not realizing that a single cell could break off the tumor (or could have broken off the tumor) and years later could come back in her organs. In fact, that is what happened. Systemic therapy is trying to kill that single cancer cell which has broken off and is circulating in the body and could attach itself to some other organ and come back as a metastatic tumor.

I wish you all the best with your decision.

Dx 10/14/2012, DCIS, 6cm+, Stage 0, Grade 2, 0/6 nodes Dx 10/14/2012, ILC, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 10/14/2012, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/25/2012 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left Surgery 10/25/2012 Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 12/10/2012 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 5/29/2013 Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Surgery 7/9/2013 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 7/16/2013 Femara (letrozole)
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Dec 3, 2018 03:27PM edwards750 wrote:

It’s a tough call but if it was me I would have the radiation treatment. The fact that you have already had a recurrence suggests a different game plan. My sister had a recurrence after 4 years in the same breast. She had a MX but no chemo or radiation. This time around she had radiation and has shots every month.

Radiation wasn’t bad at all for me. A bit of burning and fatigue halfway through the treatments. It was never a question for me whether I would do it or not. I had 33 treatments. I too had a low Oncotype score@11, IDC, Stage 1b, Grade 1 followed by a lumpectomy.

If you decide not to do radiation just don’t second guess yourself or look back and ask yourself what if..

Good luck.


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Dec 4, 2018 08:58AM claireinaz wrote:

Barbara, there is also a forum for those 60 and older with b.c.; you might find some insight there by reposting your questions and concerns. Here it is.



Claire in AZ

9/29/11 ILC, 2 c. stage II grade 1, ER/PR+ HER2-, 6/11 nodes, lumpectomy, DDAC x 4, Taxol x 12, 33 rads, Tamoxifen/arimidex/aromasin, BMX/immed recon 7/3/13 "In the midst of winter, I found in me an invincible summer.” Albert Camus

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