9 infected lymph nodes! Is that bad?

Hi everyone,
I was diagnosed on 4th February after having a biopsy of my lump and swollen lymph nodes which both showed positive for cancer. I had a lumpectomy and full node clearance on 19th February. I went back to see my consultant yesterday and although he did say he had got the clearance he needed around the lump there were 9 infected lymph nodes! I expressed my concern over this but he just said you can’t live your life by a number and that as he had now removed them all for me not to worry! I am due to see the chemotherapy person tomorrow as I am due to start that soon so maybe he will tell me more!

Has anyone else on here had that many nodes involved and can you please share your experience with me as right now that’s all I can focus on!!
Thank you
Janey x

Hello JLr

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June, moderator

Way back in 2003 I had a WLE with full node removal, 6 out of 17 affected so thats 10 years ago this October. My surgeon did point out to me at the time that at least that amount affected showed that chemo was necessary,no questions as far as he was concerned.
I was 46 at the time, primary BC stage 2,had WLE, 6 FEC and 25 rads, 5 years Tamoxifen and now on year 4 of 5 Letrozole. First 6 years okay but just problems with Letrozole.
Times have moved on so much, when I was diagnosed additional medication after Tamoxifen was never mentioned, so my story is a bit old but I am sure you will have loads of posts giving you much more information.

Take care

Wow Hazel 10 years thank you that has given me hope!! I am currently 44 and yes my consultant said no option other than chemo due to the amount of nodes affected! But I sound like I have a very similar diagnosis to you so here’s hoping I follow in your footsteps! X

14 years ago my sister had breast cancer with 4 nodes affected. She had chemo, radiotherapy and 2 years of Tamoxifen. She had dcis recently in the other breast and had a mastectomy. She has no secondary cancer and remains healthy and happy. Hope this helps. All we can do is deal with the reality of our diagnosis and live life to the full.

Hi Janey
I was dx with grade 3 IDC with 3/20 nodes affected I was traumatised !! I have to say for many many months all i could focus on was the grade and the fact that nodes were affected, I still worry now a year later after WLE node removal chemo and rads but I have to say not daily maybe every other day now … Its a bomb it really is but your surgeon is right, mine told me to focus on the fact that its treatable and nothing else also he said that if cancer was found in the lymph nodes they had been doing their job trying to stop it from going elsewhere , its hard hun but you will find more women on here with quite large node involvment doing really well years down the line and some without nodes involved not doing as well its a bl**dy lottery lets hope we all win it eventually

Good vibes to you xx

Thank you for your responses and yes I agree it does seem to be some sort of lottery as to who survives and who doesn’t, it’s really scary! Xx

Hi janey
i had a WLE -and total lymph node clearance on jan 17th. 9/15 nodes were positive (6/10 levels 1 and 2 and 3/5 level 3) my IDC was also upgraded from 2 to 3 and the tumour from 25 mm to 49 mm. I had a re-excision on jan 14th and now need a mastectomy. But my consultants and surgeon have said all along that the nodes were doing their job - as was proved by abdo ultrasound a CT scan of pelvis lungs liver etc and a bone scan. All of which are clear. :slight_smile: I have also been told that once you get past 3 nodes affected the number becomes irrelevant it is just the deciding factor as to whether or not you will need chemo.
so please don’t worry you have clearance, the nodes have done their job, concentrate on the next stage of chemo and kicking the cancer’s ass. Good luck with your treatment

Hi Littlescoot it sounds like we are on a similar journey! I was told originally after the ultrasound that my lump was 23mm only to find out after the surgery it was more like 46/47 mm. As you say though it’s good that they got the clearance around it they needed. Again from the ultrasound I was told there were at least 3 nodes infected and I was hoping that would be it but consultant confirmed that it was actually 9!! Scary!!
My ct scan and bone scan all came back clear, massive relief! Small (what appears like a cyst) on my liver so have had to have MRI just to make sure, but consultant is confident it’s juse a cyst and has told me not to worry (alright for him it’s not his liver).
Off to see the chemotherapy professor this afternoon to find out the next part of this journey!

Hi JLR I had 9 nodes infected out of about 24 I think. My surgeon removed all the nodes he could find under my arm and radiotheropy was used to kill off any remaining ones. Your nodes are actually doing their job if they have caught the cancer cells and thats where stuff goes to and just because its in your nodes doesn’t mean its spread elsewhere. I had chemo too to kill of any stray cells that may have escaped round my body. Its over three years now since my diagnosis and I am lving a full and healthy life. One thing you do need to be careful about is that if you have no nodes in your arm you need to be extra careful with that arm to ensure you don’t get any infections etc as these can turn to Lymphodema which is a swelling in the arm and although can be ‘managed’ at the moment there is no cure (although i do believe they are in some areas doing surgery to implant nodes from other parts of your body to your armpit which is an exciting development) - There is information on this site on how to reduce risk of lymphodema which is very helpful. By the way my tumour was 9cm! but I know ladies who have had bigger tumours than that and we are still around to tell the tale. good luck with your treatment x

My mum had lumpectomy and accilary clearence she has also 9 lymph nodes affected out of 27 .she is starting chemo in two weeks time. She is 63 and I am worrying so much if she would able to cope with it . Also radioterapy for 5 weeks to her neck , breast and armpit.
She has Idc grade 2 her negative 2 and hormon positive . So I would really would to know how was your experince with all this treatment. And hope you are well now.xxx


i have had 6 lots of chemo and then when I had my surgery i had a full clearance. 4 nodes were still affected. should i be worrying?

Hi ladies, chemo was not very nice but not as bad as I expected it to be and definitely very doable! I am due to start radiotherapy next week and currently I feel really well. Unfortunately I have had to have repeat ct scan on my lungs as there were some indeterminate nodules on previous one (which I only found out about jst before starting chemo) I now have to wait for results of that. Also the operated boob seems to have some sort of infection so I have to see the consultant again on Monday now! Seems as though there is always something to worry about. I wonder if I will ever feel normal again xx