Cancer in lymph nodes-does this automatically mean chemo?

Hello, I was diagnosed on 7/10 and have had WLE and SNB.  I was then advised that there was cancer in the two nodes they removed (even tho the FNA resuts were negative!).  I was also advised that the tumour was 4.5cm (and not 18mm as originally thought) and that I will need to go back for more surgery this Thur for clearer margins and ALNR.  I was also told that there were some grade 2 cells (originally they thought that the cells were all grade 1)


Does anyone have experience of this?  I think what I am asking is, if there is cancer in the lymph nodes, does this automatically mean chemo?


The surgeon says that they still dont know.  The tumour is ER+ and I willd def have Rads and Tamoxifen


Kind of feel a bit upset today, as so far, all my postive thinking has been thrown back at me (soz to sound dramatic).  Im getting used to the rollercoaster thing but wonder why, if the FNA was negative, im now looking at cancer in the lymph nodes…and maybe chemo??


Any advice or experiences would be very welcme.  Frances

Hi Frances and welcome to the BCC forums
I am sure you will soon have lots of support and shared experiences from your fellow users, please also feel,free to call our helpliners for practical and emotional support, lines are open weekdays 9-5 and Sat 10-2 on 0808 800 6000

These links will take you to the ‘Just diagnosed’ and ‘Treatments’ sections of the BCC site where you will find information and further support ideas:

Take care
Lucy BCC

Hi Frances,

Sorry to hear of your diagnosis. I had cancer in the lymph nodes and did have chemo. I think this is generally the course of action, in order to try and mop up any cells that may have spread via the lymph system.

I finished chemo in February this year and then went on to have surgery, radiotherapy and am now on Tamoxifen.

I’m sure your surgeon, oncologist etc will discuss and decide what is the best course of treatment for you - we just have to put our faith in the experts!

Please feel free to ask any questions you may have on treatment, from someone who has already walked the path.

Take care,

K xx

Hello Frances,
I am sorry to hear that cancer has been found in two nodes after your surgery.
My understanding is that the FNA can only give an indication because of the tiny amount of tissue that is taken. Depending where the fine needle penetrates the node, cancer cells can be missed. It is only when the complete lymph node is removed in surgery and sent to the pathologist that a detailed examination of the whole node can be done.
I can understand why you are feeling very upset.
I was diagnosed on 3 October and had my WLE and SNB on 25 October. The ultrasound scan prior to surgery showed nothing suspicious in my lymph nodes and I took this as a positive.
However, I am going for my pathology results on Thursday and will be traumatised if the results are not what I’m hoping for.
I want my breast surgeon to tell me she got a clear margin on the tumour and my sentinel lymph nodes are clear.
So far I have managed to keep positive but like you I will be very upset if my provisional treatment plan has to be changed to include further surgery and chemo.
When my breast surgeon discussed my provisional treatment plan with me, she did forewarn me about the possibility of chemo depending on what they find after surgery.
I am very pleased she forewarned me so at least I could prepare myself just in case.
This roller coaster ride is definitely not for the faint hearted. All we can do is try our very best to stay positive and find our inner strength to deal with the knock backs.
Sending you a big hug.
M xxx

Good luck with your surgery tomorrow Frances - will keep everything crossed for positive results.
Take care,
K xx

Yay! Thats fabulous news M, you must feel so relieved :slight_smile: x
Onwards an upwards
L x