All clear

All clear

All clear Hurray, I’ve been given the all clear -no more cancer.
I saw the oncologist on the 29 of November and he told me he considers me cancer free.
I had a grade 3, stage 3 -3.5cm tumour removed 14 Feb. this year and it’s all gone. I’m to have a mammogram every 18 month for the next 5 years. I don’t even have to take a hormone inhibitor despite being hormone positive.
I thought I would get more check ups and have to take a tablet for 5 years. I very glad and hope to have the life I had before.
I just want a bit counselling – just to help make sense of what has happened to me and to resolve some of the anxieties I’m left with. Easier said than done. I’m not sure were to go. I did try the local Maggie centre and they recommended asking my GP for help.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard of any one getting the all clear so quickly – I hope loads more of you are as lucky.

Love Glo

Sorry to put a damper on Really pleased you are currently well but actually no one who has had breast cancer can be considered ‘all clear’. Breast cancer can return months, a few years, many years after diagnosis.

The use of the term ‘all clear’ has been debated many times on these forums and it does raise strong feelings but I am among those who think it is very miselading to talk about being all clear. And I think consultants should know better than to use this term with patients.

But celebrate your current good helath and I hope that counselling helps to make sense of the hard time you have had. Its certainly helped me.


agree with Jane Hi
I also agree with Jane. My doctor talks about No Evidence of Disease (NED). From my understanding no one can give us the all clear as it can come back months or years later. I am also concerned that you are not on any oestrogen blockers if you were oestrogen positive. Sorry to put a downer on this but once diagnosed this is something we all have to learn to live with, the uncertainty of the future but it is good to hear that you are in good health.

For Glowormdancer Hi Glowormdancer

It is good to hear you are doing well. As you will realise form the other posts, the ‘all clear’ message is a difficult one, that always raises a healthy debate. It is really good know that your consultant considers you to be free from cancer now, it must feel wonderful. However, the down side (as the ladies here have mentioned) is that breast cancer is different to many other cancers and can return many years later.

Different people cope with this in different ways some people feel very much they want to put it all behind them and (as much as possible) forget. Others certainly live life to the full, but are always aware that there is a possibility it may return. Of course the hope is always that it doesn’t, but one can’t ever know for sure.

However you chose to think about your cancer, please do remember that help is availble if you have a wobbly moment, either here or by calling the helpline at Breast Cancer Care on 0808 800 6000.

With Kind Regards

Forum Host
Breast Cancer Care

I agree too Apologies for being another prophet of doom, Glo, but my own experience leads me to disagree with your consultant’s approach.

8 years ago I was diagnosed with a stage 1, grade 1, invasive ductal cancer, very much on the benign end of the spectrum. It was so benign that after my WLE I was offered the choice between rads and tamoxifen (no chemo) but chose to have both, as my tumour was strongly ER+. After 2 years I came off the tamoxifen because it was affecting my vison and wasn’t offered anything else, as I was considered so low risk.

In autumn 2005 i found a new lump under the scar from the previous axillary clearance - another cancer, this time Grade 2 with some lymphatic and perineural invasion. My surgeon on this occasion told me that she wishes she could be like her colleagues with other cancer specialities and tell her patients that after 5 years with no recurrence they are clear. She can’t, because bc isn’t like other cancers and can come back 10, 20 or even more years later.

Like Karelyn I too am concerned that you aren’t on any hormonal treatment if your tumour was hormone receptive (especially with a Grade 3 cancer) though I suppose that might depend on how strongly or weakly receptive it was. My recurrence scored 8/8 for ER and 5/8 for PR and to stop any stray cancer cells from making more mischief I will go on taking Arimidex for as long as they are willing to give it to me.

None of this means that we go round living with a black cloud hanging over our heads, but just with the knowledge that things aren’t always quite as clear-cut as your consultant makes out.

Kathy xxx

Sometimes Sometimes its a matter of ‘tread softly or you tread on my dreams’ as W.B.Yeats said.

Reading between the lines of your post I think you know Glo that the position is not as clear cut as your onc has indicated. However, you are not being treated as if there is real fear of your cancer recurring or doing so quickly. For example, I have three monthly check ups and a yearly mammogram on my surviving breast. I think you do have reason for optimism and I don’t see why you should deny yourself it. Remember most recurrences are found by women themselves so just make sure that you do your self-exams very thoroughly and enjoy the rest of your life.

Best wishes

I disagree! Come on ladies! We all know women who were unlucky enough to have a recurrance but what of all those for whom breast cancer is just a shadow in their past and who have gone on to live lives free forever of The Beast?

To use an old cliche, any one of us could be run over by a bus but does that mean we have to spend the rest of our lives scared to cross the road?

By all means, stay vigilant, Glo, and keep up your self breast examinations but, for God’s sake, enjoy your ALL CLEAR diagnosis and I, for one, will be celebrating with you.

Go girl!


Lola x

Glo I’m glad that you’re well and that you have been given every reason to be optimistic about your future .

But I too feel that it is irresponsible for a consultant to have used the term ‘all clear’ to someone who has had breast cancer.

Nobody who has had breast cancer can be considered to be ‘all clear’; this is a fact and not something with which it is possible to disagree.

Of course many women have gone on to be free from cancer after treatment, but at no point could their doctors have told them this would be the case.

The ‘run over by a bus’ cliche, so often used by well-meaning friends and relatives, is not appropriate. Anybody, I suppose, could be run over by a bus (although I only know of one person who has been); only those who have had a breast cancer diagnosis have the possibility of a recurrence or secondary cancer.

This doesn’t mean we should live our lives in fear, although of course fear raises its ugly head from time to time. It is possible to enjoy your life, but to be aware and vigilant at the same time.

Best wishes to you Glo, and I hope counselling helps.

I disagree too I have already been involved in this debate to and I dont really want to go on about it again but I am really happy for you glo and lotag good on you for standing up for her.Glo you go girl and listen to what your doctors say after all they do know what they are talking about. lol debbi x x

hi glowworm Where abouts in scotland are you?Just wondered if you see same people as me at hospital . debbi x x

I’m in Scotland too. Hi Debbi

Thanks for sticking up for me for sticking up for Glo! I’m in Glasgow, being treated at the Beatson,although my chemo has recently been changed and I now receive it at Gartnavel.

Where are you?


PS I’m sure Glo is perfectly aware that bc can and does come back in some people. But, equally, there are many for whom it doesn’t. My friend’s mum has been NED for over 40 years. I’d say she is entilted to feel she is in the clear.

Counselling Hi,
I noticed in your original post you mentioned counselling. I was diagnosed September 2006 and went through the mastectomy, chemo, radio experience. When I finished everyone felt it was over but not to me. I tried to call the BCC helpline numerous times but never could get through. I talked to a lady at macmillans one day and she reassured me I am normal and suggested counselling. You may be able to get this via your hospital or GP but I didn’t want to go back there more than I have to.
I ended up contacting the Cancer Counselling Trust which is an offshoot of Cancer backup. They are in London and I am in the North East but did it by phone instead.
They will give you up to nine 50 minute sessions for free although they ask you to contribute if you can afford it (fair enough).
I found the lady I spoke with extremely good and although I wouldn’t claim that everything is solved for me psychologically it did me an awful of of good.
I wish you luck,

Hi lola wow… 40 years thats great especially for those that do have negative thoughts.Of course I am scared to death that it will come back and get me too but if you spend your life thinking like that it can not do you any good so be positive thats my motto and I am sticking to it.I am in Elgin at the moment but am moving to cyprus in january which I am a bit nervous about because of my treatment etc etc but now I think I have only got this life and I am going to make the most of it,how many people would get the chance to have a three year break in the sun?i just wish that I still had two boobs so I would look ok in a bikini but oh well thats life… I will get over it. Take care lol debbi x x x

Congratulations glo on being given the all-clear! As im sure you know, bc can come back at any time no matter what ones prognosis is, but if the doctor is happy with you, then you should take great comfort from that, and use it as a steady platform for you to board the the next chapter of your life! To me, the term “all-clear” is only words that can be interpreted in any way. One might say they’re never “all-clear” but then die in their old age of something totally different, so in one respect they have been all clear all this time! Its only been a year since i was diagnosed but i think of myself as all clear from cancer as there appears to be none there at the mo: innocent till proven guilty!! It certainly helps me deal with things, even if its a bit of kiddology! Dont get me wrong, i have to work hard at thinking like this at times, but definitely feel it helps!

So glo, i think you should carry on thinking of yourself as all-clear, as you can only benefit from it! im sure you wont be unrealistic about things, its almost impossible to be so.

Take care, and keep at the positive and hopeful thinking!

natnat xx

Hi Glo

Grab the minute and run with it for as long as you can.

I’m right with you, got clear ct and bone scan results in the last week so will raise a glass to you hoping we both get to stay NED for a long time to come.

Take care

Steph x

Councelling Glo - I was a bit shocked and dissapointed that Maggies just directed you to your GP for councelling - I go to Maggies in Edinburgh ( a group session) and have always understood that they would offer one on one councelling/support if I felt that would be helpful. I’d get back onto them - they may not be able to offer as comprehensive a programme as you might get through the NHS, but they shouldn’t have just punted you on!