Cancer at 40

Hi everyone. I’ve just be diagnosed with a grade 3, 4cm tumour in my breast and a tumour in my lymph nodes two weeks ago. I’m 40 and it was a real shock. I’m getting my head around it now but am desperate to get it removed. I’ve been told I’ll be having a mastectomy at the end of January, which will be around six weeks after diagnosis - I just want it taken out ASAP as surely it’s just sat there, spreading!!

I’m meeting the breast nurse tomorrow to discuss reconstruction/prosthesis options. I’m going to opt for a post-op reconstruction as I would like to use my own flesh for reconstruction but don’t think I could face increasing my recovery time from the mastectomy, or the added chance of infection, etc. I just want the mastectomy and to move on to chemo ASAP. I’ve also had a pain in my chest bone for the last 6 months so am worried it has spread. I’ve had an x-ray and will get the results soon.

I wondering if anyone reading this has had such a similar sized/grade tumour and what their experience has been.

Thanks, Cx

Hi Cazzie1111

Firstly, welcome to the forums, I am sure you will find it a great source of information and support.

I’m sorry to read of your diagnosis, the first few weeks are always difficult when coming to terms with things and getting to grips with your treatment plans, etc.

As well as the support you receive here you might find it helpful to order the BCC resources pack. It has been specifically designed for those newly diagnosed and contains information to help you better understand your diagnosis, test results and the various treatments available. If you would like to order a copy just follow the link bellow:-

Also, do give the helpline a ring if you need any further support or information. They’re on 0808 800 6000. Open 9-5 Monday to Friday and 10-2 Saturday.

Best wishes Sam, BCC Facilitator

Hi Cazzie,
I’m sorry you find yourself on this site but I’m sure hearing other experiences will help…I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May 2011 at the age of 37. My cancer was grade three with a lump larger than 5cms and results from sentinal node biopsy showed two of the four removed were affected. I was advised to go for a partial mastectomy with reshape and reduction on my good breast which I did in July butunfortunately they didn’t get clear margins - also a node clearance showed more cancer in the lymph nodes removed. I had an MRI and bone scan to check if it had spreut thankfully it hadn’t. I then had six sessions of FEC chemo which finished just before Christmas last year. In January I had a mastectomy and immediate reconstruction using the Latissumus Dorsi muscle followed by radiotherapy. My treatment finished last March. It is not the best period in my life but I have to say that the treatment is very doable! .The chemotherapy wasn’t too bad and I used the cold cap and got a good result with that - didn’t need to wear a wig! If you have the opportunity it might be something you wish to consider. My recovery time from both operations wasn’t too long and I was up and about the next day and out of hospital a few days later and thankfully I escaped any infection. You have just been diagnosed and believe it or not the waiting to get started with your treatment is probably the hardest part of all. Once you do get started I’m sure you will feel less anxious and I know it’s difficult (probably impossible) but try not to worry too much. If your medical team were concerned about it spreading that quickly I’m sure they would have booked you in sooner for the op . Also try not to worry about the pain in your chest bone. Every ache and pain from now on will have you thinking it is cancer-related - I’m a year and a half on from diagnosis and I still do - think I just need to accept that this will be the case for a while and if I am really worried about anything at all I go to my GP who is very understanding. My advice is get anything you are worried about checked out and don’t worry at all about hassling your doctor!
Best of luck with your treatment and whichever operation option you decide on.
L x

Hi L,

Thanks so much for your reply. It’s is very reassuring to hear from someone else who has had a similar diagnosis. I’ve just googled Cold Cap and will definitely enquire about that at chemo time. I met with my nurse today and she gave me some final pathology results, HER-2 negative (phew!) and HR + which means I’ll be put on hormone treatment at some point. I also got my operation date, just over 3 weeks away. I opted for a delayed reconstruction so have been checking out some gel boobs today - amazing! Radiation therapy is likely because the tumor is so close to the chest wall, so I felt that it may damage the tissue of the reconstruction if I went ahead with that immediately. Plus, I can’t face the hassle of it, I just want to focus on getting the cancer gone.

Ha yes, I try to tell myself all my aches and pains are absolutely nothing to do with the cancer…it’s hard to believe though! As you say I think I’ll find it easier to reassure myself once treatment has started.

Thanks again, much appreciated, and I’m glad you’re doing well post treatment.


Hi cassis, sorry to hear about your diagnosis. Breast cancer is just bl**DY awful and unfair. I was diagnosed in march 2010 and had surgery, chemo and radiotherapy too. I’m going to bump up another thread for you about a Facebook group I set up a couple of months ago, specifically for young women with a breast cancer diagnosis. There are nearly 200 of us now, chatting in a private group. You’d be very welcome to join us. Between that and the breast cancer care forum here, I’m sure you’ll find loads of useful info and support. Hold on in there, it’s pretty much agreed that the pre treatment phase of waiting is probably the toughest part of the whole process xxx

Ps. cazzie, Blummin spellcheck!

I also turned 40 this year and was then diagnosed with BC. I am at the early stages, been diagnosed and my op is scheduled for a week today. Having a lumpectomy and full nodes removed. I have found the Facebook group for younger women to be very very helpful. I rarely come on this site anymore as I find the FB site is much easier to use and more friendly and realistic. Good luck with your treament.


Hi, i was diagnosed about 4 weeks ago also with grade 3 and lymph involvement. I am 35 and expecting my 2nd child so was quite a big shock at what is suppose to be a happy time for me. I came out of hospital yesterday after having a left mx and node clearance. Due to start chemo in hopefully 10 days. Do say positivie and join the facebook group it has really been a huge support to me and the ladies are all fab and going through or been through the same xxxx Big Hugs xxx

Hi, I was diagnosed in Oct 2012, such a huge shock, felt i’d been steam rollered. I had my op in Nov & am awaiting further treatment, it’s so much to take in isn’t it. I havent decided about cold cap yet, but will need chemo & rads.
Best to take it all 1 stage at a time.
I too joined the FB group for younger woman, it’s a great help.

Thank you everyone one for sharing your experiences it’s much appreciated. I’ve just been laid out with flu like symptoms, followed by tonsillitis an eye infection AND I have pulled a muscle in my ribs (right under the breast cancer site so now I’m worried the cancer has spread from boob to ribs, of course!) and can hardly move!!! It’s almost laughable. On the plus side it has distracted me from focusing on the cancer; however, I was wondering whether my immune system has been lowered, maybe through the stress of it all. I’m a bit scared about going back to work and picking up germs before my op as it now seems my body is a welcoming sanctuary for all germs!
Thanks for the info on the facebook site T. I’m going to join up right now :). And good luck with your treatment Karen, Storm Dancer and Latte Lover.