Meet others worried about developing breast cancer for the first time. Posting pictures of symptoms is NOT recommended - you are encouraged to seek advice from a medical professional in the event of any concerns.
Posted on: Apr 10, 2008 01:49PM
Posts 1 - 30 (33 total)
Apr 10, 2008 04:05PM clueless1 wrote:
Great question Kim. I was wondering if a lump that had been biopsied could have partial features.
In other words, could part of the mass appear to be benign during a stereotactic biopsy but then have suspicious findings when fully removed and biopsied during excision?
Apr 10, 2008 06:00PM HeatherBLocklear wrote:
My mass was biopsied by FNA abroad. Apparently, the person performing the biopsy either hit outside the mass, or else harvested cells inside the mass that were not malignant. The mass itself later turned out to be cancer. Did it have areas of normal cells inside? I cannot answer that question with certitude, but understand it can happen, although rarely.
The experts will correct me if I'm wrong. Does this help?
Apr 11, 2008 01:50AM leaf wrote:I am not a pathologist, but I think Annie is correct. The 'gold standard' for biopsy is to have an excisional biopsy, because they remove the lesion totally and get the full picture. An excisional biopsy is also more invasive, and messes with the ductal system, so that IF breast cancer occurs it may be harder/impossible to do a sentinel node biopsy. Rarely, I think some tumors can have some characteristics of 'benignness' and some characteristics of 'malignancy'. One site (John Hopkins?) said of BRAIN tumors, that 'tumors don't necessarily read textbooks.'
Apr 11, 2008 09:38PM otter wrote:
This doesn't answer Kim's original question, but it might be relevant.
I had a US-guided core biopsy done on a lump this past January. The lump was not visible by mammography, but it was palpable, and it measured 1.6 cm with US. The radiologist said it looked like an adenoma, but there was one "lobulated" region he was concerned about. He took FIVE core biopsy samples.
The path report came back IDC. According to the report, the cancer cells were found in only 10% of the tissue that was submitted. In general terms, that means 90% of what was submitted was not tumor; the tumor made up just 1/2 of one of the 5 biopsy specimens. (I know, there may have been tumor scattered among several of them, but I'm simplifying things.)
I've thought about that so many times. What if the radiologist had not seen the suspicious area of lobulation? What if he had not taken FIVE biopsy samples? What if he had not managed to nick the edge of the tumor, and all 5 of those samples had contained nothing but normal (or at least non-malignant) cells? I might have been diagnosed with a "benign lump" instead of the IDC I really had.
In my case, I'm pretty sure there would have been follow-up because of my age (> 50) and the size of the mass. It looked really nasty on the MRI they did the next week, for instance. It's now in a jar on a shelf somewhere, thank goodness.
But I do worry that a needle or core or incisional biopsy might not sample the critical part of a lump, and that could lead to false-negative results.
Apr 11, 2008 09:54PM , edited Apr 11, 2008 09:56PM by AnneW
This article has a really interesting paragraph that pertains to this issue, and I've tried to highlight it in bold. In a nutshell, there's a benign condition called "proliferative" breast disease which can be a prelude to cancer. This may explain mixed tumor types.
Estrogen Linked to Benign Breast Lumps
April 09, 2008
WASHINGTON - Add another risk to hormone therapy after menopause:
Benign breast lumps. One type of hormone therapy - estrogen plus
progestin - already is well-known to increase the risk of breast
cancer. But a major study of women able to use estrogen alone didn't
find that link.
Tuesday, researchers reported a new wrinkle: Those estrogen-only
users doubled their chances of getting non-cancerous breast lumps.
That's a concern not only because of the extra biopsies and worry
those lumps cause, but because <i>a particular type - called benign
proliferative breast disease - is suspected of being a first step
toward developing cancer 10 years or so later. </i>
About one in five women undergo a breast biopsy within a decade of
starting annual mammograms, and most are of those abnormalities turn
out to be benign. Yet under a microscope, there are different types,
from simple fluid-filled cysts to what's called proliferative breast
disease because it's made of growing cells.
The latest work, published in the Journal of the National Cancer
Institute, re-examines data from the landmark Women's Health
Initiative that found a variety of health risks from long-term
Only women who have undergone hysterectomies are able to use estrogen-
only therapy, and the WHI originally included more than 10,000 of
those women, who were given either estrogen or a dummy drug and
tracked for about seven years.
Now, a team led by Dr. Tom Rohan of the Albert Einstein College of
Medicine in New York has reviewed breast biopsies done on those women
- and identified 232 cases of benign proliferative breast disease.
Women given the estrogen-only therapy had twice the risk of
developing these abnormalities compared with women given a placebo.
WHI participants are still being tracked, allowing scientists to
eventually tell if the benign breast problems were a signal of more
trouble to come, Rohan concluded.
Apr 12, 2008 03:45PM clueless1 wrote:
otter...thank you for sharing your experience. I am scheduled for excisional biopsy on an area that has previously been core biopsied using ultrasound and was benign. At the time, the doc was complaining like crazy about how dense my breasts are and how she could barely get to the lump.
The same mass has changed since that time, changed shape and location in the breast. Although my doctor feels I should be OK, she takes these changes and my concerns seriously.
Anyone have experience with a lump that moved (for example, from 1:00 for years to 2:00) with edges that went from smooth to irregular without major increase in size?
otter...hope you are saying you are well now, continued good health to you
Jan 22, 2012 09:54AM Circles wrote:
I have an interesting story. I had a lump in my right breast for 25 years. Had a needle biopsy back in the day where they attempted to extract fluid. They were not successful getting fluid so they diagnosed it as fibrocystic. They said it would grow larger, slowly. Sure enough, as the years past it went from nickle size to the size of a large egg. I began having thermograms done yearly and in 2010 it was noted as 5.5 centameters. The lump was not hot as would show in cancer cell multiplication. However, I had another thermogram 6 months later and this showed the lump as being hot. The lump made some changes and eventually dimpled at the nipple. I had a lumpectomy and it was cancer! Then I had to have a masectomy as there was more on the chest wall border. The Doctors are all confused as to the size of the actual cancer. At first they determined it was 5.5 centimeters total but then it was decided this is inaccurate based on a 25 year old existing lump. All Doctors agree a benign lump cannot turn into cancer, nor can a person have undiagnosed cancer for 25 years and still be living. The cancer did not spread into any surrounding tissue or lymphnodes. I am now wondering if it is really stage 2 as they had originally stated due to size or if it is stage 1. I had begun HRT with bioidentical progesterone five years prior and had some burning sensation then. That said though, the thermograms were OK.
Is it possible I walked around with breast cancer for 25 years that was a very slow growth after all? I do not understand. I am getting results back from the Onco tests soon but not sure if it will help me understand. Has this happened to anyone else?
Jan 22, 2012 11:39AM , edited Jan 22, 2012 11:52AM by chef127
Your story sounds like mine except I was not proactive in doing mamos. I noticed a lump 35 years ago an had an aspiration done and the dr told me it was b9. End of story. It was the size of a golf ball and would come and go with my monthly cycle. I never let it bother me. I did have several mammos but there was never a question about the lump.
About 2 years ago I started to go through perimenapause and the lumb appeared and did not go away like it did before. The skin did dimple and I still assumed it was menapause. When I went to see my pcp 6 months ago he peeked at my cleavage and noticed the dimpled skin.
went for testing. blahblahblah. IDC. path report DCIS. microcal of IDC, 4.5cm. Most of which was IDCS. or grade 1. The combined total is grade 2.
Has it been there a long time. Yes it has. Has it been cancer a long time? no one knows I believe it was slow growing for a long time. Maybe 10-15 years???????????????????????
My oncodx came back at 28 Much higher than expected. . Intermediate, or the grey zone.
Jan 22, 2012 11:47AM kathleen1966 wrote:I have a friend, who is an almost 20 year survivor of breast cancer that she was treated for when she was 27 years old. She had a lump on her chest wall that was determined to be a cyst. One year later, she just wanted to have this "cyst" removed because it was bothering her that it was there, even though it was not causing any pain. Yes, it turned out to be cancer. She did not have health insurance but was able to participate in a clinical trial with oral chemotherapy. She believes they must have missed the tumor when they biopsied it. So I think anything is possible. I don't know about having cancer for 25 years. Though I'm sure some of us are capable of dealing with our cancers without intervention, and wonder if there are some who have cancer and resolve it on their own without it ever being discovered.
Jan 22, 2012 12:04PM Circles wrote:
Chef127, your Onco tests also surprised me. Like you I am counting on my score being low risk. I'm sorry yours was high. What treatments have you decided on? I am seeing an Integrative Doctor and will be doing 24 Vitamin C infusions, two per week. I start that in the Spring. I am so afraid of chemo but if mine comes back as 15 or higher my Integrative Doctor wants me to do it in addition to his treatments. I am currently using Life Extensions research and cancer protocol and am taking 68 supplements a day now. My Doctor also put me on Metformin which is a diabetes drug, though I do not have diabetes. The idea is to lower insulin levels to starve the cancer that may be left in hiding.
Kathleen, I agree totally. I think in some cases our immune system can keep cancer in check. I am building mine up currently. Cancer is so confusing.
Jan 22, 2012 12:12PM chef127 wrote:
I do think I should have insisted that my lump be removed years ago. I do think it chaged and turned into CA. I was only 20 y\o when it appeared, I never gave it another thought till my PCP told me to get a Mammo, 35 years later. That sucker changed to CA. I don't know when.
I did have a partial mast. and currently doing rads. It was large, but I believe I am CA free for now. I had 2 surgeons say I needed a rad mast.
Jan 22, 2012 12:37PM chef127 wrote:
I too am trying to boost my immunsystem. I take several supplements, cut out all refined sugar, semi vegetrian diet, and I take metformin (but I am diabetic, so maybe that doesn't count). However, before I was DX'd with CA my diet was full of junk food, sugar, nitrates, diet soda, sugar, sugar and more sugar. That attributed to the DX............IMO.
Chemo suppresses the immunesys. so................................I said NO. If the oncodx was higher I may have changed my mind. Though I just got the results on Thurs. and after the fact. The decisons, for me, have been tough, but I feel I'm doing the right thing.
Hang in there..........................Your making the right decisions for you.
Jan 22, 2012 12:39PM jenlee wrote:
For over about 15 years, I had a area in my breast that was always identified as suspicious in mammogram and then looked at with ultrasound. I was always told it wasn't cancerous, just a fibrous area, since my breasts are very dense. I was NEVER told that dense breasts are at a higher risk for developing cancer (www.areyoudense.org) These mammos/ultrasounds were at various locations since we've moved several times. After another move, I missed two mammograms. This year, the radiologist who did the ultrasound seemed alarmed and did an immediate core biopsy. He looked at my last mammogram/ultrasound from two years ago and seemed surprised that a biopsy wasn't done. It turned out to be a 3.8 mm tumor of IDC and DCIS. (from the core biopsies, they think about 25% IDS and 75% DCIS. So I guess we'll never know... Either an extremely slow growing tumor that suddenly started growing like crazy OR a benign something that suddenly turned cancerous. Something happened within my body during the past two years that made it start growing like crazy (I was diagnosed with PTSD from a traumatic incident and extraordinary stress). With a Ki67 of 75%, I don't think I would have survived with it for 15 years. I don't know if this makes sense and I guess I should ask my MO what he thinks.
Jan 22, 2012 01:46PM chef127 wrote:
unfortunatly it seems there is a lot of hind sight here. I don't know why the radiologists aren't more aggresive when a suspicious area is noted.
I have a 24 year old daughter with large dense breasts and I emphasize the impotance of self examination. And perhaps testing at an earlier age, and to take control of a situation if it should arise during testing.
Maybe drs. are too overwhelmed with the volume of patients they see??????????????? I don't understand
good luck w your neo treatment.
Jan 23, 2012 09:17AM Circles wrote:
I'm glad I'm not the only one with the mystery lump though I wish it was none of us at all. I am praying my Onco test is low. I really don't want to do chemo, don't trust it or the Onocologist. He has already decided I need 4 treatments, 3 weeks apart WITHOUT EVEN GETTING THE TEST BACK YET. Had I not requested the test I think he would have just started chemo on the spot. I requested a chemo sensitivity test but he said they don't work like chemo in the body, saying they put cancer and chemo in a test tube and shake it up and then watch to see if it kills the cancer. Well if it DOESN'T then why would I want that??
Jan 23, 2012 10:13AM chef127 wrote:
good morning circles
Your last comment made me laugh. I saw 2 onco and yes they were very fast to RX chemo. I do think I was over diagnosed. The first one wanted to do neo chemo, my current onc suggested a less invasive chemo which is still chemo and comes w\90% of the SE's. I won't put my body through it. When I got the final path report after surgery, Most of the tumor was DCIS which is the original lump and just micro-cal of IC. The surgery was a success, so why do I need the chemo?? I'll do the rads to play it safe but I feel anymore treatment is OVER KILL. Right or wrong that is my decision. HT, forget it. Do the oncs profit from chemo and HT? without a doubt.
Jan 24, 2012 12:13PM chef127 wrote:
HT--Hormone theropy.............YES, kill that estrogene which keeps you healthy and young. and promotes BC.
Femara, arimadex,etc. AI's--aromatase inhibiters.UGH.
Jan 24, 2012 12:45PM , edited Jan 24, 2012 01:30PM by reesie
Not to get into a discussion of the pros/cons of chemo/hormonal therapy or even the issue of any possible conflict of interest arguments - I am just curious how you can say oncs profit form HT. Walgreen's maybe (or any other pharmacy)? - edited for grammar
Jan 24, 2012 12:56PM wallycat wrote:
Can a lump "turn into cancer?"
Here is my take, such as it is...since ANY cell in the body can become cancer, lumps, skin, etc....anything CAN become cancer. Does a b-9 lump typically turn into cancer? Not typically, but we are all playing the odds.
My eye doctor's wife had a breast biopsy for a suspicious area...the person performing the biopsy missed the lesion they were looking at in the ultrasound...got surrounding tissue. Saved her life since THAT tissue turned out to be cancer.
Can you live 25 years with cancer and not have issues...yes. If there is a slow growing cancer, why not? Some studies show that auto-accident victims who have been autopsied show some women with BC and they are in their 70s, 80s, etc....did they know? How long was it there?
They are telling men with prostate cancer to watch and wait---something else will get them, so why not other cancers.
Dermoid tumors on ovaries are typically b-9, but in a small % (and in older women) they have found cancer cells...
Cancer is a crap shoot and the more I read, the more I say finding it is equally crappy!
Jan 24, 2012 06:05PM chef127 wrote:
Yes, it was my b9 lump that became cancer. When the area was biopsied it was dx ic 4cm. when it was removed it was dcis 4cm w micoro calsifation of idc. Maybe I am misunderstanding and will pay the price. The surgeon removed the area with clear margins.
It is a crap shoot and indeed crappy.
I'm sorry if your offended. Drs. are often compensated based on the r'x's they write via gifts and trips around the country. My former neurologist was always taking trips to Hawaii at least every 3 months compliments of Pharma. I would take it too. I asked my pcp about this and he nodded. sadly.
As far as the onco goes, 75% of their salary comes from the profits of chemo drugs. I'm proberbly mistaken about SOME of the hormonals because their not all over priced. I do not deny anyone earning a living...................I have a bad taste in my mouth thinking about the $2,000.00 a month rx I took for 5 years FROM MY NEURO. The pharma sent me quite a few gifts throughout my tx.
I'll keep my feelings to myself
Lets all recover from this beast.
Jan 25, 2012 08:15AM Circles wrote:
I think this is the place where we can all express our feelings. After all, we may agree or disagree on treatment options but the bottom line is we are all in this together. Cancer is both frightning as well as confusing. The information we are all desperatly seeking is varied, depending on where you gather the info from. Personally I read all of Suzanne Somer's books and read them before I ever dreamed I had cancer. The Doctors in Knockout have very different ideas than most of the Doctors we will actually see. My Integrative Doctor wants to put me on a low dose "good" estrogen rather than kill all I have, saying we simply cannot avoid bad esterogens and it is better to balance the bad with a low dose good esterogen. Most Onocologist would disagree. My Endocronologist said my Integrative Doctor uses unproven methods and he is only there to take my money and I shouldn't listen to him. One of the methods the Integrative Doc uses is high doses of Vitamin C infusions. He recommends 24 treatments twice a week and the cost is $100 per treatment. Life Extensions, where I am a member backs the Vitamin C infusions with thier own studies yet they are not FDA approved, aka unproven. My insurance won't cover the Vitamin C treatments but inb my opinion this does not mean the Doc is out to get my money. Most insurance approved treatments, including chemo, costs far more even if insurance pays for it. Does the Integrative Doctor deserve to be paid? Well of course. Just as all Doctor's deserve compansation. Will the makers of Vitamin C send the Integrative Doc to Hawaii? No. So do I think he has hidden incentive to treat me with C? Not at all. Each treatment takes one hour. I find the price reasonable compared to one hour of my Endocronologist time.
My plan is to do the 24 Vitamin C infusions. In addition, the same Doctor put me on Metformin to starve the cancer from insulin. Will I let him balance my esterogen? Maybe. Will I do chemo? Maybe but unlikely, though my Onco score will help me decide. The Integrative Doc said chemo may have a place for a 15% chance or better. And all of the conventional Docs are in agreement.
Life Extensions has Doctors, Onocologists and Nurses and offers consultations for its members. Along with the Integrative Doctors list of supplements they recommended more. Some are natural chemo, including mushroom extract. The Integrative Doctor agreed and between both I have an action plan. I now take 68 supplements daily which I pay for myself. I also take enzymes during the night while my stomach is empty. Does it make me angry that insurance is willing to pay for chemo even if it doesn't always work because it is FDA "proven"? You bet. Do I think Big Pharma is Big Business? I do.
Now, interestingly, my cancer protocol began before surgery. My surgeon tells me she has never seen anyone heal so quickly. So I feel I have alreaady seen benefit there. She also said she was afraid my cancer would return because it likes to make a come back. She said my biggest mistake would be to think surgery cured me and do nothing else. She helped me research natural chemo but I was already taking it. She is encouraging me to do follow up of my choice but to really do it and not weanie out. I plan to begin the infusions in March so that I know I can follow up with good weather and not miss a single treatment. I love my Surgeon!
Jan 25, 2012 06:02PM chef127 wrote:
You sure have done your homework. I'm impressed. I am seeking an intagrative dr. and perhaps i'll concider the vit c infusions. My hormones are out of wack and simply need to be blanced, IMO.
My best chance for good health is to protect my immune system at this point. After my rad treatments I will add more of the essential supplements, fine tune my diet, and quit smoking. My biggest hurdle, stupid but addicted.
I take 6,000 iu vit d, beta 1,3D glucan, DIMplus,curcumin, juice plus, a multi, metformin, and I drink alkalized h2o. I'll start the PAWPAW which is a natural chemo after my tx. Not enough but it is a start. I said it before, I totaly ignored my health til 6 mo. ago, which contributed to the CA. I'm working off of common sense and logic. Thats the best I can do.
Jan 25, 2012 08:28PM , edited Jan 25, 2012 08:34PM by Circles
Chef, you can't blame yourself for cancer. True we all have areas to improve, none of us deserved BC. I think it is the hormonal meats, the chemicals and such that expose us. PERSTICIDES!! I'm just a little pissed our goverment promoted this practice and that to get "real nontoxic foods" we must pay double or more. Food for thought, for sure. Hugs to you!
Jan 26, 2012 04:42AM chef127 wrote:
Its 3:30 am and the coffee is on. Thats one thing I will not give up. I have to learn to drink it black.
I don't blame myself for the CA but really my diet was that of a five year old. I have been in th food industry since I was 18. My first husband was a restaurantour and a fabulos chef. We ate well. Then I got into the bagel bus. & started a full line bakery. I was a self taught baker. Very successsful. Sugar was my main ingredient. Not a good place for a diiabetic. I loved that place. I still miss the aroma of the yeast working its magic. PHYSICALLY I was very fit. worked my ass off. Ate shit. The activity kept my health at bay??? I opened a Mediterranian rest after that and the menu was very healthy. Alot of veget. etc. I still ate shit. I worked very long hours and did not take time to take care of myself. It was all work. Funny thing Now when I have a dinner party and create good food, I can't eat it. I sit and watch my guests enjoy and I just don't eat. A mental thing.
Anyhow, I became disabled bout 3 years ago and thats when my diet went off. My glucose levels were out of control. NO ONE TOLD ME SUGAR FED CANCER. I didn't seem to care. As soon as I was DX'ed with the cancer and started to research I made the turn around. Too late?????
Yes all the pesticide and chemicals and food choices that the government allows us to be exposed to is a real shame but can we feed the world without them? Too many people to feed. The hormones that our meat supply is exposed to is the worst IMO
My son who was an athelete has remained a "heath nut" has been trying to transform my diet for years, advising me of supplements and food choices. OK Bruce, wheres my cake. He is right. He is my only advocate. My friends still bring me chocolate and BAD food. They are great and I appreciate them. They are learning. No more treats to make me feel better. Now I get flowers and small gifts. They are wonderful. Now if I can only get them to do the dishes and vacume. lol.
I have never been angry about my CA dx, but the tx choises really piss me off!!! The only time I shed a tear was before accepting tx via radiation.It s all so toxic.
Well, time for more coffee..................HUGS right back, Be well.
Jan 26, 2012 08:10AM Circles wrote:
You know what? We are in the rental property biz and we have a tenant who has battled various cancers her entire life. Make A Wish actually sent her to Disney World when she was 12. Now she is 38. Like you, she loves to cook, especially bake goodies. After all the cancers she had, no one ever told her to avoid sugar. In fact, she had rad on her thyroid and now has trouble swallowing, thus keeping weight on, so her Doctors suggested sweets! I am appauled! And now they found a spot in her head that looks like cancer--the exact place her cancer began. I gave her a Suzanne Somers book but I don't think she read it.
I too will not give coffee up. At vitacost.com I purchased bottles of stevia, vanilla and toffee, and they are safe for us to my knowledge. You might also check vitacost to compare supplement prices. They are very good.
Thought of you last night and your supplements. I like what you are doing. Some things to add that may benefit you is 1000mg of Vitamin C every two hours, up to 12 a day (and night to get them all in). And mushroom extract is a chemo agent. See Life Extensions for dosage. The Integrative Doctor also put me on Ultra Inf-Zyme Forte which are enzymes. 5 a day on empty stomach. That was hard for me cause I like to eat so I take 5 to bed with 5 vitamin C and each time I wake up (if at least 2 hours) I take one of each. I sometimes only get in 4 and sometimes I get 1 in the morning down but I am trying.
Now, since you like to cook and we can safely use Stevia (also I got in the raw from vitacost) you can develope some healthy goodies. Organic unsweet chocolate is good for us and so is coconut. The flax muffins I made were the bomb and had walnuts. If you look for low carb recipes you can get good ideas and tweak them for BC. And I also make crustless apple pie. So easy! All organic, grease pie plate with walnut oil, add apple slices, cinnamon, half a graded carrot, raisons and stevia. Add 2 tablespoons of cherry juice (unsweet of course) and mix well, put in pan, put more cinnamon on top and bake 350 for an hour. When cool put in individual servings (I don't use plastic now, I use glass jars for everything) and put in fridge. Makes a good breakfast and it's real good hot too.
I wish you lived by me. My Integrative Doc is in N Carolina and I live in TN. 2 hour drive. I am deathly afraid of IV. He gave me a valium for each treatment. Scared or not, I am going. And I know you are scared to. We all are. The cancer is scarey, the treatments are scarey, ect. It's all scarey... But we can give each other strength and we can exchange helpful info as well as encouragement. Just want you to know I am here for you. That goes for anyone else here reading this that just wants support. Hugs again.
Jan 26, 2012 10:17AM marie5890 wrote:(Ladies, just a friendly suggestion. Perhaps this conversation is more appropriate for the "Complementary and holistic medicine" forum. A lot of the newbies who show up in the "Not Diagnosed but Worried" forum are already frightened and very confused. This may be information overload for them. Thanks )