Anyone else here in their 40s and going through treatment for hormone positive primary breast cancer? I am 43 and was diagnosed in September. I had a wide local excision and SNB earlier this week and so am obviously in waiting game as to what comes next. I feel a bit 'in the middle ’ on the forum as I am not really young and facing issues over fertility (I am married and lucky to have had my kids) but I am not that old either. Would be good to hear from others in the same boat xxx
Hi dear, sorry you are in this situation
If you go to search you can add any word for your interest and find information from girl’s experience with BC.I’m 43, 3 children, diagnosed in May, right full mastectomy, lymph nodes affected and removed around 20, I started chemotherapy in September, I’m in the middle of the treatment, then I’ll start radiation therapy probably from January, after i will be on hormonal treatment that fades estrogen, and induction of menopause, HER negative.You are not alone, there are ladies of all ages in the group, I am sure you will find a lot of useful information, also I found emotional support here from the ladies, I think if you feel the need talk here you will find a lot of support I wish you good health and strength to have an easy treatment.Big hug Try to think positively, the treatment is working and the oncology team is ready to answer your questions and concerns, don’t hesitate to ask them anything that worries you. Good luck with your treatment
Thank you for your message. Sorry to hear you have been through the mill a bit and hope chemo has been bearable
…and over soon! I have ER/PR + Her -ive too. I have been told I will definitely need radiotherapy and hormone treatment but just waiting on SNB results to decide as to whether I have chemo. Obviously would be nice to avoid but just going to do as I am told to get rid of this nastiness! Was def not on the agenda for 2023
One practical thing I did want to ask on chemo was how you have managed with kids when immunity is low? Have you had to isolate from them at all? That is the practical thing I am most thinking of (alongside what to put on my head…although at least through colder months that is easier to manage!).
Hope you are keeping your chin up and managing to feel as well as possible. Lots of love xxxx
I was 48. As you said, not considered young but also not the more typical after 50 crowd. Although it seems our numbers are increasing quite a bit. Anyway we tend to have more aggressive tumors although that’s not always the case but it’s probably because of our estrogen levels. Most of us are not in menopause yet. I had four sessions of chemo along with a double mastectomy and later reconstruction. I had a DIEP and am satisfied. Now I’m recovered and just holding my own. Feel great but breast cancer, the damned thing, is forever.
Well done on your recovery Yep, I do feel like this is definitely one of those big life-changing events. Hopefully a positive in terms of making sure I prioritise looking after myself and my health. I have been pretty good since I got first pregnant nearly 13 years ago but I was a classic binge drinker at Uni and in my 20s. Probably ate far too many takeaways too. My body is a temple hereafter I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol since my biopsy and I haven’t missed it. I will allow myself the odd treat but I am enjoying feeling some control over giving myself lots of nice healthy stuff and was walking with friends lots on run up to op. Hope to get back to that gently soon. I guess being a bit younger means we have a lot longer to want to be here for. My Grandma died of breast cancer but she was 10 years older than me when she died…I intend to do everything I can to make sure I beat that by some distance. Xxx
You have a great mindset which can only be helpful. I have exercised every day from diagnosis on except for a rare event. Also quit drinking although I wasn’t ever a heavy drinker to begin with so that was easy. Eating changed a bit, too, but I have always been a healthy eater so I haven’t focused as much on that. Anyway lifestyle changes give you a needed sense of control and exercise especially shows great success as an actual treatment. So continue on and good luck. This part isn’t easy but it will pass.
I asked the oncology team all the details, and I asked if I should isolate myself, but they said that there is no need, they also said that the clothes should not be washed separately, just to protect myself in public and when I cook or clean I should wear protective clothes, take care of bumps and cuts because having removed lymph nodes it is more difficult to heal and avoid infections But my children are quite old 8, 12, 17 so I decided to stay alone in the room, it was easier to recover from the operation.Initially I was told that I don’t need chemotherapy but after all the investigations and the masectomy operation they saw several lymph nodes involved, so they are also doing chemotherapy. I’m still in the time of chemotherapy With support and patience I can say that it is tolerable, of course you have worse days and feel tired, but I I continued to drive, take the children to school, cook, clean, but all at a slower pace.Take it day by day and it will get easier.Big hug, and be positive
I was diagnosed in dec 21 at 39 and went through lumpectomy, then anc when it was found to be in four nodes, then chemo and then rads and now exemestane, ovarian suppression and abemaciclib for two years. I had children aged 7 and 9 at diagnosis.
Chemo was hard but I didn’t have to isolate from the kids and didn’t really get any other illnesses except for covid which I didn’t have worse than anyone else in the family (although had an overnight at Christie’s as they wanted me to be on the safe side.
The chemo feels already a lifetime ago and, apart from constant recurrence fears (mine was quite aggressive) I already feel fine and am getting on with life. I hid it from my children which may not have been a good idea in hindsight as they knew something was very wrong with chemo. I cold capped and kept enough hair to cover the bald spots.
The part you are at now is the worst and you will feel better once you start treatment. It is an awful time but we are lucky as you say to not have the added fertility worry I suppose.
All the best with it all x
Thanks Helen39. We did tell our kids (11, 10 and 6) but did waver over whether to do so or not and I totally understand why you didn’t at the time. My 11 year old reacted badly initially and so there were some regrets but as he was a tiny bit older we didn’t think he would ‘buy’ any excuses about what was going on. We haven’t discussed the prospect of chemo with them yet but will do if that is a bridge I have to cross. It sounds like the cold-capping worked reasonably well for you. One of my (perhaps silly) concerns is being ‘that Mum’ in the playground. I just want to be treated normally as much as possible. Obviously I will take people being nice to me But I don’t want anyone feeling sorry for me. Maybe that’s just a pride thing. I have told a small number of people who have been a brilliant support but I don’t really want everyone knowing yet. I suppose I think if I can avoid chemo then I can stay ‘under the radar’ a bit more…but that if I have it then it is a bit more obvious what is going on. Not sure why I care so much but it feels easier to cope with if I can be treated as normally as possible…whilst totally recognising this isn’t exactly ‘normal’!
I hope you have managed to get plenty of support over your recurrence fears. I suppose that is the long term challenge for all of us. Not one I am facing head on right now in the midst of it all but I am a worrier so I know it will come. I am paranoid about it being elsewhere in my body but consultant is doing her best to keep me level-headed. Lots of love and thank you for replying xxxx
Hi, I am also 43 and was diagnosed the beginning of October. After a million tests and things changing I was told last week I have to have a mastectomy which is rubbish. I am still awaiting a date. Everything takes so long! I also have 2 children, a 7 and 10 year old who I am yet to tell. I just want you to know I know how you are feeling. I feel like I’m in a really bad dream. Big hugs to you.
Thank you Definitely feels like a bad dream. I keep looking down at my dressings and shaking my head in disbelief!
Honestly getting the op done was the best day for me personally since being diagnosed. It felt like I was taking back control and doing something positive. The other ladies on the ward with me that day were all having mastectomies and it was amazing how well they were doing just hours after surgery. Made me feel quite inspired and less alone.
Results day for me tomorrow… nerves are shredded a little now but feeling very lucky that it hasn’t been a long wait. Really hope you get your surgery date soon so you can get cracking on evicting this horrid thing. Fingers and toes crossed for all of us xxx
Just wanted to pop on to say hello, I’m 41 and was diagnosed last month and had surgery yesterday. I also have two children aged 4 and 6. I find it hard too given my age and a young family life. Just been over 40 seems to be a cut off for considering things like fertility and genetic testing but seems so young to face the inevitable forced menopause. I feel like I’ve aged 20 years overnight and very much unknown what the treatment plan is until I get surgery results. I feel your pain
Hope your recovery goes smoothly and I hope you get good results…and soon! Xxx
How are you doing blue80? I’m guessing you’ve had your results? I’m in the same position you were - bilateral wide local excision then second surgery for sentinal node biopsy. I’m 49. Can’t shake this feeling I’m making a big fuss about nothing. WT?!?!
Hi there. You def aren’t making a big fuss over nothing. Hearing the c-word is a big deal for anyone and managing the uncertainty is horrible. I was really fortunate that they got clear margins and nodes were clear so plan now is radio and tamoxifen. I am in a big tizz about whether to push for mastectomy but medical team are really trying to talk me down from that saying its too radical and I don’t need it. Honestly the psychological side of this is huge isn’t it!?! When is your op? Xxx
Hi there. Just a note to say hope you are doing ok xxx
Thanks for replying. I’m glad you’ve had the message of clear margins and node negative (is that what we say?). I’ve had my two ops now just waiting for snb results. I’ve a book (upstairs and I can’t move cos the cats on me) written by 2 doctors who’ve had breast cancer (one is Dr Liz O’Riordan I think). It’s very to the point and based in fact. They give statistics/evidence to back up their points. They say lumpectomy prognosis with clear margins has the same prognosis as full mastectomy. Sounds like your medical team are following that thinking. Are you signed off work? I’m wondering when I should think about heading back. As you say the psychological stuff has had a massive impact especially as I was extremely wedded to my HRT which had to go HR+ive xx
Hi ladies can I join you please, I’m just eligible, I’m 48, 49 in January. I was diagnosed on 29th September (really didn’t think my lump was anything), hormone positive, h negative. I had a lumpectomy on 10th November and I’ve got another week off work. My wound is healing well (they had to take my nipple) and physically I’m making a good recovery, but I just feel that its going to be a constant struggle to be ok mentally. I have my follow up meeting on Wednesday. I was told prior to my surgery that I would be likely to need radiotherapy (5 days) and to start on anti oestrogens Letrozole. I’m apologising now to those of you in worse positions. TBH I’m worried about the anti oestrogens, I was on HRT for just over two years prior to diagnosis and my maternal Auntie also had bc at a similar age to me (slightly older than me she was 52). I’m already having hot flushes mainly at night and I’ve not even started the treatment yet, worried about weight gain, joint pain, energy levels. Also worried about whether I’m going to need more time off work with radio. I took three weeks off work, I’m self-employed, think I might have been ok with two, but had to decide in advance and was worried about causing more chaos if you know what I mean. Dont know if anyone else is struggling to find a balance between positive and realistic, pushing myself and resting etc. I have a husband who is supportive but still expects quite a lot and two teenage boys,
Welcome Octopus48. Sounds like you’ve had a tough time and have many of the same feelings. Don’t apologise to those in worse positions, as I’ve been told too, cancer is a big deal even if it’s tiny. That was said to me by a lovely friend who had a double mastectomy during lockdown while in an abusive relationship. She also said think of this as a bump in the road - big emotions now but they’ll be in the past somewhen. I too have wrung my hands giving up HRT. For a while it was my biggest concern. I’ve tried to think of each symptom of perimenopause individually and tackle it that way. For example, for joint pain I take turmeric and get out walking a lot. For hot flushes, my bedding is cotton and single duvet means I can stick a limb out of the bed. For headaches, I’ve really reduced sugar and other carbohydrates unless I front load with protein first. If the peri symptoms are still too overpowering after the treatment for BC is over, Dr Louise Newson (via the Balance app) talks with those who have put themselves or their patients back on HRT as they feel the risks are worth it. I’m keeping my mind open on that one for the future. At this time of year, energy is down, I’m putting on weight and my emotions have a lot to do with the BC and my own husband and 2 teenage boys. Keep going - you’re doing well - reaching out is an important step. xx
Hi @tiggles thanks very much for your reply, you sound very wise. Its true about the big emotions thing becoming the past, for instance when I found out and I didn’t know what was happening yet in terms of treatment. I dont feel fear like that anymore. That’s also a good idea about tackling perimeno symptoms separately. I’m not on the anti oestrogens yet, but think I’ll start taking turmeric for the hot flushes, I will do some research. I already take vitamin D, last year I had some joint pain despite being on HRT and found this really helped. Also magnesium and my Sister has recommended collagen for joints. Re diet, I’m not brilliant to be honest, I may have to look to reduce carbs and sugar a bit, she says. I’m planning to start working again next week, I’m a self employed merchandiser, if my appointment on Wednesday goes to plan. TBH I’m one of those people who feels better being out and about rather than at home. Agree that the time of year doesn’t help. I have full empathy with how it is with teenage boys, they’re not the easiest are they? Thanks again for responding.