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Topic: Can't get this out of my mind

Forum: Canadians Affected by Breast Cancer —

Canadian health care, clinical trials, and life in general in the north.

Posted on: Dec 13, 2013 09:06AM

leggo wrote:

A few days ago, I had an appointment with my onc to go over some results. There are about 30 exam rooms in the center and it just so happens that his nurse always puts his patients next to his office to wait for him. I can usually here mumblings through the wall, but his door is always closed so I can never make out words when he's talking to his nurse or consulting with other docs. I have come to realize though, that he's usually talking about me in his office with someone while I wait. This last time he forgot to close the door and I heard every word. I'm pretty sure he was talking to the hepatologist he had referred me to and what I heard has me really disturbed. These were his exact words..."I think we want to be very careful how we handle this because she's under 50" and "I'd appreciate it if you kept a close eye on this and let me know about any changes asap". While I'm grateful that the conversation lead me to believe that he was taking very good care of me, I can't get over that under 50 comment. We have a pretty good relationship, so when he did come to see me, I asked him about it. I think he was embarassed that I heard, but followed up with, " if you weren't this young, we'd be handling things quite differently".  So, because I'm under 50, they're going to do something about it, but if I were over 50, they wouldn't?  I'm so bothered by this. Anybody else in Canada experience anything like this? I'm now terrified to turn 50.....seems like the magic number where doctors are going to go "meh, she's old".

"Once more into the fray... Into the last good fight I'll ever know... Live and die on this day... Live and die on this day." - The Grey
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Dec 13, 2013 09:51AM flannelette wrote:

Leggo - I was about 62 when dx (ontario) got mx, chemo (FEC 6 rounds) rads, just ending my 5 yrs of arimidex, followed carefully, 2 summers ago was scanned to pieces because of some enlarged lymph nodes (the Hunt for Red october I call it, culminating with dissection of 6 nodes on the "good" side. Next week is the 3rd - maybe 4th time they are scanning the "granule" on my lung they discovered during the Hunt for Red October - which granule, by the way, my bs thinks is just a scar leftover from some old lung infection. I'm now 66.

There is no way i'd say I rec'd less care than anyone else. I really don't know how much more meticulous they could have been, including the post-surgery visits at home from the kind & wonderful nurses. No people over 50 with bc in ON - or probably all of Canada - get less than the best we have IMHO.

Dx 7/2008, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIB, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 7/30/2008 Mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 10/1/2008 CEF Radiation Therapy 1/10/2009 Hormonal Therapy 2/15/2009 Arimidex (anastrozole) Dx 7/20/2012, 0/6 nodes Surgery 7/20/2012 Lymph node removal: Right, Underarm/Axillary
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Dec 13, 2013 02:18PM TB90 wrote:

I may know nothing at all about this, but could it be that because you are under 50, he wants to be extra vigilant due to the fact that some cancers are more aggressive in the younger population?  I have even heard that people in their early 50's sometimes do worse than in later 50's.  I would not put too much into this though as there is not a darn thing you can do about your age.  I am 54 and not certain where I would fit :)  I just think he wants to give you every chance and opportunity that you deserve.  I am certain that he will not throw you out with the bath water once you turn 50!  Let's celebrate each and every birthday.  I for one will never again complain about getting old.

Dx 11/28/2013, DCIS, Grade 2 Surgery 12/17/2013 Mastectomy: Left Radiation Therapy 2/19/2014 Breast
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Dec 13, 2013 04:00PM Morwenna wrote:

I hear you! I was 52 at diagnosis last year, and about 18 months since my last period, so officially post-menopausal. I had grade 3, triple negative cancer, which I have read is more common "in younger women". Am I automatically an "older woman" because of a difference of two years??

Saying that, my treatment has been about as vigorous and aggressive as it could be, so I don't think I have been treated any differently!

I just feel miffed about it. I didn't feel old at diagnosis. Indeed I even played field hockey the month before! NOW I feel, and look, at least ten years older than my "stated age". And I'm not supposed to play hockey, even supposing I felt fit enough, as I'm on warfarin for blood clots that chemo caused :(

Dx 11/8/2012, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 1/11 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- Surgery 11/23/2012 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left Surgery 12/12/2012 Mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 1/9/2013 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 7/22/2013 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 1/6/2015 Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Free TRAM flap; Reconstruction (right): Free TRAM flap
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Dec 13, 2013 06:03PM otceb wrote:

Hi leggo, maybe it has to do with the fact that you're likely not menopausal yet, so maybe the treatment chosen will consider this? Not sure. Maybe next time you see him, you can just ask him what he meant so that you don't end up worrying or speculating too much? Smile

Good luck!

Dx 10/8/2013, DCIS, Stage 0 Dx 12/19/2013, IDC, <1cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 1/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 1/31/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Ellence (epirubicin), Fluorouracil (5-fluorouracil, 5-FU, Adrucil), Taxotere (docetaxel) Hormonal Therapy 7/1/2014
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Dec 13, 2013 06:47PM RedReading wrote:

I agree leggo, my bs told me that they treat cancer differently pre and post menopausal. Pre-menopausal women still have all those hormones floating around in their bodies and that makes cancer a tiny bit more aggressive. They know how to deal with that, and they watch more carefully. I'm 56 and from my first routine mammo to my operation was 5 weeks, I don't think it could have gone any quicker, nor do I feel anything was left out. I go for rads in January but so far am not looking at having to do chemo. Because I'm mostly post menopausal. Still they are watching me too, because - are you ready for it? - I was taking hormones for menopause symptoms. Ggaahh if I only knew then, what I know now. lol. I'd have lived with the hot flashes and night sweats!

I also agree with the advice to just ask your doctor. Tell him it has made you very stressed thinking about what you overheard and that you would rather know the real story than to make up stuff in your head that just stresses you out more. That might work. Winking

Dx 11/7/2013, IDC, 1cm, Stage II, Grade 1, 0/7 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/28/2013 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Hormonal Therapy 1/28/2014 Radiation Therapy 2/19/2014 Breast, Lymph nodes
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Dec 13, 2013 07:08PM Moderators wrote:

leggo, you've had such good advice - we hope it's reassured you! When you've had a chance to check with your onc about what he meant exactly, please let us know.

• The Mods

To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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Dec 19, 2013 07:28AM leggo wrote:

My onc's nurse finally called me back to discuss my concern. I'm feeling much better about it all now. Thanks, ladies, for your responses.

"Once more into the fray... Into the last good fight I'll ever know... Live and die on this day... Live and die on this day." - The Grey
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Dec 19, 2013 07:58AM dogsandjogs wrote:

I was 74 when diagnosed and when the surgeon discussed lymph nodes he said:" If the sentinel node is positive for cancer there is no point in taking more nodes due to your age. Do you agree with that?"

I just nodded, but to this day I don't know what he meant. 

Dx 11/1982, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/17 nodes Surgery 11/17/1982 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction Dx 11/15/2010, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 2/11/2011 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel
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Dec 19, 2013 09:38AM kayfh wrote:

Leggo.  I was diagnosed with Stage IV BC mets to liver in April 2009 when I was 57, and living in small city Ontario.  I was asymptomatic (except a lump I noticed about 2 months before.  My oncologist said that he wanted to treat it assertively (I am not wild about the word aggressive) while I was young and healthy and could handle the rigours of chemo.  I am 61 (still young and healthy-in my own mind any way) and still NED. It may be because I was treated assertively at the outset, or because I am lucky.  Your oncologist was likely referring to your young age because statistically people who get breast cancer under 50 are statistically unlucky.  The strongest risk for developing breast cancer is in fact age, over 60.

Kay Dx 3/3/2009, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 8/8 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Surgery 4/27/2009 Mastectomy: Left
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Jan 12, 2014 12:18PM Curlylocks wrote:

Leggo,

Breast cancer in women younger than 50 tends to be more aggressive.  I was diagnosed the first time when I was 41 and now facing a new Primary in the same breast.  This time Triple Negative (I am 4 months shy of my 50th birthday).

Michele

Dx 10/23/2005, IDC, 4cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 3/23 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 11/9/2005 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary Chemotherapy 12/5/2005 AC + T (Taxol) Hormonal Therapy 5/1/2006 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 6/1/2006 Breast Surgery 5/3/2008 Prophylactic ovary removal Surgery 12/16/2013 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): DIEP flap; Reconstruction (right): DIEP flap Dx 1/9/2014, IDC, <1cm, Grade 1, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 2/11/2014 Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide), Taxotere (docetaxel)
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Jan 12, 2014 02:32PM dogsandjogs wrote:

I had a NEW cancer, not a recurrence, after 28 years. I was 46 when I had the first one.

Dx 11/1982, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/17 nodes Surgery 11/17/1982 Lymph node removal: Right; Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Nipple reconstruction Dx 11/15/2010, IDC, <1cm, Stage I, Grade 2, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 2/11/2011 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel
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Feb 18, 2014 10:52PM clarrn wrote:

I don't know.   I am 30 with what looks like an extremely positive diagnosis, but age isn't getting me into surgery faster.  Going on 3 months since I heard the "cancer" word and still no date for surgery.  Worried of course. 

30 years old at dx, Implant lost due to infection. Open wound packing for 108 days :( now onto a Free Tram Dx 12/4/2013, DCIS, 6cm+, Grade 3, ER+/PR+ Dx 1/29/2014, IDC, 1cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/3 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 2/27/2014 Mastectomy: Right; Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant, Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 4/7/2014 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 10/14/2014 Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 2/27/2015 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 3/22/2015 Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Surgery 8/23/2020 Reconstruction (left): Free TRAM flap; Reconstruction (right): Free TRAM flap
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Mar 5, 2014 10:44AM Sierra wrote:

Hi Leggo: 

I was in my fifties when dx and

the oncologist left the report on the desk

I accidentally picked it up with my file, and the dx

said, poor .. so of course, was I ever upset

Anyway, today I am at l4 years thriver

so very blessed

further, I was a grade 3 er-pr- and the onc

said my cancer was like a racing car :(

that rather frightened me

Yes, they were treating me like I was older

I heard the phrase, well you are getting on

I wish you well and sorry to learn you had to deal with this

Namaste

Sierra :)

The Time is Now! Dx 1/2000, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 1/14 nodes, ER-/PR-
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Mar 16, 2016 09:56AM - edited Mar 16, 2016 10:15AM by leggo

Because I referenced this thread today, just wanted to add more info. It wasn't because of being pre-menopausal. I had my ovaries removed the first time, diagnosed at 29, ovaries removed in my 30's. That didn't play into the comment at all.

"Once more into the fray... Into the last good fight I'll ever know... Live and die on this day... Live and die on this day." - The Grey

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