DCIS high risk diagnosed

After a mammogram and biopsy I was initially told that I had pre-cancerous cells and I naively thought that this was not cancer. However the booklet I received said otherwise and after talking to the nurse later on the phone I understood that it was cancer, the biopsy showed it was high grade and non invasive. However after my operation to remove this the surgeon said that there were invasive cells and it was more than he thought, 25mm. Because of this I have to have a second operation to remove some lymph glands and he said I will need radiotherapy and hormone tablets for 5 years.  Will they just remove some lymph glands and test for cancer, can this mean that I might need another operation. As it was so near to Christmas the surgeon said that it was not urgent and that I could wait to have the operation in the new year, but I have opted to have it now and not wait. I feel that every time I have a hospital appointment the news is worse than I thought, or perhaps I am being too positive and not expecting more bad news.

Hi Ceinwen

This must be very worrying and distressing for you. I had four different diagnoses in as many weeks. Basically, they learn more as they explore more so, once you had surgery, they were able to study samples and establish that the initial diagnosis needed changing. Breast cancer has excellent outcomes nowadays, with more than 80% of early-diagnosed bc never returning. Keep that in mind.

You’ve certainly come to the right place and hopefully will receive replies from members in the same position as you. You can also use the search facility to find out what threads there are on DCIS. It’s definitely safer than resorting to Dr Google, which invariably is alarming.

Once they’ve secured clear margins in this second operation (surrounding tissue with no detectable cancer cells), that will be it in terms of surgery. You say ‘some’ lymph nodes so it might be an idea to check if they are doing a full axillary clearance or just a limited one. You may have a drain for a few days, just to alert you. It came as a shock to me but eventually was a source of great hilarity as I worked out how to do things with the drain there.

Radiotherapy is the essential treatment to remove any further cells and hormone therapy will keep them in check. However, if the surgeon discovers anything else, your treatment plan may change again, but the fact that he was happy to delay it till after the holiday period would suggest he is not concerned about anything really serious. I hope the operation doesn’t leave you too sore! All the best xx