We are 214,047 members in 82 forums discussing 152,598 topics.

Help with Abbreviations

Topic: Stage III Advice

Forum: Stage III Breast Cancer — You are not alone. Meet others who have Stage III breast cancer.

Posted on: Nov 16, 2018 06:56PM

metsnj123 wrote:

Good evening all,

My girlfriend was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The tumor is fairly large (6 cm). She has mixed lobular and ductal, lymph node biopsy came back negative, ERPR+ and oncotype score of 15. She is 33 years old.

We finally received our treatment plan today. She is going to undergo chemo (ACT) every two weeks 8 times. After that, it seems like the plan is for a mastectomy and then radiation. Can anyone provide similar stories? We are obviously nervous and still not clear on what the prognosis is and what to expect. Thank you

Log in to post a reply

Page 1 of 1 (11 results)

Posts 1 - 11 (11 total)

Log in to post a reply

Nov 16, 2018 07:59PM star2017 wrote:

Hi there,

So sorry to hear about your girlfriend's diagnosis. I was diagnosed last year at age 37 with a large tumor too, though it was invasive ductal carcinoma and DCIS, so slightly different diagnosis. The treatment plan for me was 4 infusions of AC and then 4 infusions of Taxol. Is that how hers is? Please don't hesitate to ask questions. If I can help, I will. I also did radiation and had mastectomies. You can see the details of my process below.

It's going to be a long year, and it's best to focus on one step at a time. Each step is manageable, but it feels overwhelming when you think of the whole process.

Chemo wasn't too bad. I recently wrote out my experience in another thread. I'll copy that here, as I hope it will be helpful for your girlfriend:

With AC, my main symptom was fatigue. I was very rarely nauseous. The doctors gave me anti-nausea meds in my infusion and also some steroids for the few days after which made me feel pretty good. If I felt even the slightest bit of nausea, I took Zofran, but I think that was only twice or three times during the whole time I was on AC. I was also given Neulasta to help keep my white blood cell counts up. I was pretty tired during the AC treatments, and napped whenever I could, but I was able to be up and about too. The first week is tough, and then you start to feel normal. Then it's time for the next infusion.

My hair started shedding about two weeks in, and fell dramatically three weeks after my first chemo. When it first started to shed, I had my husband give me a buzz cut. That's when I started wearing the chemo beanies (I had a cute wig, but didn't wear it that often).

After my second AC infusion, I developed a fever. It was cold and flu season. My kids were sick, and I caught something from them. But bloodwork revealed my white blood cell count was also very low at the same time, so as a precaution, the doctors checked me in to the hospital. I had to have lots of tests, and was hospitalized for four days. It probably would have been more, but I was feeling better and all the tests were clear, and the doctor was sympathetic to the fact that I had a newborn plus two other kids at home, so I was out after four days. Thankfully, that was the only time my white blood cell count dropped like that and the only time I got sick and needed to be hospitalized. Due to the hospitalization, I had to delay my infusion. Then a couple weeks later, I developed a mild case of shingles, and so we delayed it again, to make sure I was strong enough for infusion #3.

The four rounds of Taxol were easier in some ways and harder in others. Taxol usually doesn't affect your immune system the way AC does. I did not have quite as much fatigue, but I was very achy in the 2-4 days after Taxol infusions. I learned to take pain meds (Aleve, Advil, or Tylenol) regularly those first few days, until the aches wore off.

Though I lost my hair in the first 2-3 weeks of chemo, I lost my eyebrows and eyelashes about 2 months in. That was a bit of a shock because suddenly I felt like I looked sick in a way I did not feel with just the hair loss. I started chemo November 2017 and completed it March 2018. I've got my brows and lashes. My hair is a little longer than pixie length, pretty wavy/curly.


Dx@37, pregnant, BRCA2+ Dx 9/2017, DCIS/IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 4/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/17/2017 Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 11/29/2017 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 4/18/2018 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Radiation Therapy 5/21/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 10/24/2018 Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
Log in to post a reply

Nov 16, 2018 08:20PM - edited Nov 16, 2018 08:24PM by Castigame

I was 47 at time of DX. bilateral 3A and 1A. grade 2 and 3 mixed in. 5 tumors total and the biggest was 3.5 cm 2nodes from left w neg but 4 out 17 from right was pos. mixed type. 100% ER pos PR HER2 neg. DMX w/o recon. followed by 8 dose dense chemos(#8 even came 13 days from #7) 30 rads followed. Last chemo was on 06/26/17.

I won't sugarcoat the treatments. they suck royally in everyway. I had to sleep 20 hrs a day by drugging myself during chemos. Even the rads which was the least of the devils used to make me fall asleep so suddenly. dose dense chemos are damned if you do bc they kick butt damned if you don't bc dose dense is necessay for higher stage younger patients. please do your best to help her to get all 8. I am glad I did. Beside sleep eating is crucial during chemo. If she has problem w putting food down, nutritional drinks such as Boost is worth a try. I lost about 13% of my pre chemo weight despite keeping food down.

prognosis wise, My mom was DXd w ovarian cancer in spring of 95 when she was 60. She was told 6 month to a year to live. She was DXd w breast cancer about 10 yrs ago. she is still alive and kicking even though she was recently DXd w dementia. My 90 yr old father had two strokes within a month. He literally looked like schmiegle (spelling) from Lord of the Rings after second stroke. He kicked and screamed his way out of rehab to come home. My big boss was DXd w breast cancer in her mid 30s. I know she was ER pos and at least stage 2. she just turned 50.


What I am trying to say is one never knows. One's will power makes a lot of difference.

It will be rough but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

sending prayers


Mimi Dx 1/11/2017, IDC, Left, <1cm, Stage IA, 0/2 nodes Dx 1/11/2017, IDC: Papillary/IDC: Cribriform, Right, 3cm, Stage IIIA, Grade 2, 4/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 2/15/2017 Lymph node removal: Left, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Prophylactic ovary removal Chemotherapy 3/21/2017 Radiation Therapy 7/31/2017 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 10/30/2017
Log in to post a reply

Nov 16, 2018 08:22PM - edited Nov 16, 2018 08:24PM by metsnj123

Thank you so much for your feedback. Yes, she is doing the same chemo treatment plan as you did. Congratulations on your progress

Log in to post a reply

Nov 16, 2018 08:29PM star2017 wrote:

thanks, metsnj. Please don’t hesitate to post/message if either of you has questions.

Best wishes.


Dx@37, pregnant, BRCA2+ Dx 9/2017, DCIS/IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIA, Grade 3, 4/8 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 10/17/2017 Mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (right): Tissue expander placement Chemotherapy 11/29/2017 AC + T (Taxol) Surgery 4/18/2018 Prophylactic mastectomy: Left; Reconstruction (left): Tissue expander placement; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Radiation Therapy 5/21/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery 10/24/2018 Prophylactic ovary removal; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
Log in to post a reply

Nov 16, 2018 08:47PM CaliKelly wrote:

Hi metsnj, So, I'm stage 3, had every treatment on the menu, doing great, going to be 3 years cancer free, Jan 20th, my birthday! Little different, I was 57,lymph node positive, my chemo was TAC, ×6 every 3 weeks. Just focus on one step at a time, try to stay nourished and hydrated, take the anti nausea meds! They work. I never threw up!😄. The treatments are all do-able, not fun , but there are meds for all the side effects. Before I started treatment I was so nervous about the unknown that for the first time in my life I took anxiety meds, Xanax, and it helped.Once treatment started, I felt better, having a plan of action! For me the 25 radiation treatments were a breeze, I went right to the gym after each one. She'll get through it! Look at me- I'm doing GREAT! Strong healthy and happy. 😚💖Best wishes to you both!

Dx 6/17/2015, IDC, Left, 6cm+, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 8/20 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Chemotherapy 8/10/2015 TAC Surgery 1/19/2016 Lymph node removal: Left, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Left Hormonal Therapy 1/29/2016 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 6/28/2016 Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant Chemotherapy 11/2/2016 Xeloda (capecitabine) Surgery 10/6/2017 Reconstruction (left): Latissimus dorsi flap Surgery Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall
Log in to post a reply

Nov 20, 2018 06:09AM - edited Nov 20, 2018 06:12AM by Sophiemara

Hey, I was dx at 34 with ductal bc in sept 2015. I had surgery first, mainly because they thought it was smaller than it was. I had multi focal-so two tmours which totalled 8cm. Then I had chemo every two weeks (same as your friend) 4 x AC and then 4 x Taxol. I also radiation after that and been on arimidex, zoladex and zometa for the past 3 years..life is good now, it definitely gets easier the further out you get. I also had.recon on both sides and feel normal. I also went through IVF prior to chemo as a future fertility option, as I have no kids. Its a bit of whirlwind initially but tell your friend to hang in there.

Dx 9/2015, IDC, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 2/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole), Zoladex (goserelin) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Chemotherapy AC + T (Taxol) Surgery Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left): Latissimus dorsi flap; Reconstruction (right): Latissimus dorsi flap
Log in to post a reply

Nov 20, 2018 01:54PM beeline wrote:

Hi metsnj123, I’m so sorry you and your girlfriend find yourselves here. There are a number of threads that are very helpful in terms of knowing what to expect. If you read through the “Weekly Taxol” and “AC treatment” threads you will get a good idea of what other people have experienced. There are also threads for each month called “Chemo Starting September (etc.)” that are great places to find people at the same stage of the process, and you can go back and read older ones to see what might be coming up.

Experiences vary so much. Some people seem to sail through chemo while others are knocked flat but it is all doable — and temporary. I find that the most important thing to remember. So far I have fallen somewhere in the middle. I have had A LOT of nausea during AC treatment despite lots of anti-nausea drugs, but bounce back after 5 or 6 days and have still worked on my weeks “off.” Lots of people say Taxol is easier and I’m hoping that’s true but find it best not to look too far ahead or it just feels too daunting!

If no one else has mentioned it, it’s also a good idea to fill out your/your girlfriend’s diagnosis and treatment information and then make it public (a separate step under settings). There are so many knowledgable people here and the more info you share the more they can help. Best of luck to you both!

American in NZ. Dx’d at (only?!) 42 Dx 7/17/2018, IDC, Right, <1cm, Stage IA, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 8/2/2018 Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel, Underarm/Axillary; Mastectomy: Right Dx 8/21/2018, DCIS/IDC/Paget's, Right, 2cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 10/22 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Chemotherapy 9/17/2018 AC + T (Taxol)
Log in to post a reply

Nov 30, 2018 12:27PM Akioli wrote:

Hi,

I know how scary all this is. I got my diagnosis 3 years ago. I was 34. Tumor was 7cm. I got neo adjuvant chemo. First 12 taxols followed by 4 AC. Had a complete response to chemo! No cancer cells were found afterwards. Then radiation and herceptin. Now still taking tamoxifen and zoladex shots every month.

Life will never be what it was, but it really get's a whole lot better than the place you both are in right now. I wish you the best of luck.

Dx 11/18/2015, Right, 6cm+, Stage IIIB, Grade 3, 2/9 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+ Chemotherapy 12/15/2015 AC + T (Taxol) Targeted Therapy 12/17/2015 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Hormonal Therapy 4/30/2016 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone), Zoladex (goserelin)
Log in to post a reply

Dec 4, 2018 10:14AM Each_day_2018 wrote:

So sorry to hear!

I was diagnosed in June at age 31 with stage IIIC. Mine was in the lymph nodes, but had also spread to the sternum lymph nodes. I had surgery first - a total mastectomy and started chemo in October. I am doing AC every three weeks (I have one more left) and then I'll do 12 weeks of Taxol followed by radiation and then hormonal therapy. For me, the chemo has been awful and I've missed a lot of work from being so sick. I also have 3 children under the age of 9, so that adds to the challenge! Luckily my husband has been my rock. Just being there for your girlfriend can mean the world to her!

It seems overwhelming and a lot to digest at first, but just take it one step at a time!

Dx 6/28/2018, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 3/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 9/6/2018, LCIS, Left, <1cm, Grade 2, 3/4 nodes, ER+, HER2- Surgery 9/6/2018 Mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 10/11/2018 AC + T (Taxol)
Log in to post a reply

Dec 4, 2018 02:23PM santabarbarian wrote:

Take a look at fasting or "fasting mimicking" for chemo. This worked incredibly well for me. Dr Valter Longo at USC developed it.

Dx 7/13/2018, IDC, Left, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- (FISH) Chemotherapy 8/13/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Surgery 12/20/2018 Lumpectomy: Left
Log in to post a reply

Dec 5, 2018 10:28AM Each_day_2018 wrote:

santabarbarian - what is the fasting mimicking? I have tried to research it, but there's not a lot available. What does it entail? What/when do you eat?

I tried fasting with my most recent treatment (AC #3) and it did not work!I fasted nearly 3 days before the treatment, but since it did not really reduce my SEs, I am hesitant to fully fast again, so I am curious about the mimicking... So as not to hijack this thread, feel free to PM me too!


Dx 6/28/2018, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IIIC, Grade 2, 3/4 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 9/6/2018, LCIS, Left, <1cm, Grade 2, 3/4 nodes, ER+, HER2- Surgery 9/6/2018 Mastectomy: Left Chemotherapy 10/11/2018 AC + T (Taxol)

Page 1 of 1 (11 results)