I was diagnosed with DCIS on October 3rd. Five years ago, a biopsy indicated the presence of ductal hyerplasia, and I've been seriously worrying about developing cancer since then. On Sept. 29th. I had my 5th. breast biopsy, after an area of calcification was seen on my mammogram. Two radiologists who reviewed my films felt that it was benign, as I have calcifications throughout both of my breasts. My surgeon felt that way, too. Additionally, on my mammogram, the calcified area appeared very small--it looked like a cluster of about 4 tiny calcifications. The radiologists felt that I should have a surgical biopsy, as opposed to a stereotactic breast biopsy, for two reasons--one, my small breast size, and two, the location of the calcified area. My surgeon agreed that a stereotactic biopsy shouldn't be done, as he felt that the needle could puncture my chest wall. The area that was excised was 2 x 3 x .08 cm. For something that appeared as basically nothing on my mammogram, that seems large to me! Plus, the pathology report indicated no clear margins, so I have absolutely no idea how large the cancerous area is. I do know that the types are cribriform and solid, and that it is estrogen and progesterone positive. As far as the grade goes--there wasn't one given--the report just indicated "low to high grade", so I don't know what to make of that. Plus, the cancer is extending into the lobules.
I've decided to have a bilateral mastectomy, and feel at peace with my decision--I had been thinking of having prophylactic bilateral mastectomy for the past year and a half, so, for me, the decision was not difficult. I'm now deciding if I'm going to go with my surgeon (he's a general surgeon who does a lot of breast surgery, but also does a lot of other types of surgery) who's done all of my biopsies for the past 14 years, and with whom I feel really comfortable, or go with a "dedicated" breast surgeon. I have an appointment with a breast surgeon, who comes highly recommended, next week.
My new concern, which just surfaced a few hours ago, has to do with the fact that the cancer is so close to my chest wall. Will any surgeon--breast or general--be able to get out all of the cancer if it's that close to the chest wall? I know they never get out 100% of the breast tissue, so now I'm starting to really worry that some cancer cells will be left behind, and that not only will I have a recurrence, but that it will become invasive breast cancer. When I met with my general surgeon on Tuesday to go over my pathology report and ask questions, I didn't even think to ask about that--as I said, this is a totally new fear!! Something else which fuels my worry--when I saw my surgeon in the hospital after the biopsy on 9/29, he said that he thought that the finding would be benign. If the surgeons cannot always tell the difference between cancer cells and normal cells--how do they know they've gotten all the cancer out?! My surgeon assures me that I will be cancer-free with mastectomy, but again, I am worrying about that small bit of tissue that will be left behind.
Has anyone else had a similar situation, with DCIS very close to the chest wall? Any stories, information, reassurances, etc. would be much appreciated! Thanks.
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