Diagnosed with large 4cm grade 3 breast cancer

I was diagnosed last week with grade 3 breast cancer after I had a lump the size of a golf ball appear out of nowhere. I had a biopsy which unfortunately got infected so required a hospital stay and I am awaiting further results from these biopsies and blood tests which I get on Wednesday.
The doctor I have seen so far has set up a meeting with the oncologist and surgeon but has indicated they will start chemo within a couple of weeks as it is such an aggressive tumour they want to hit it hard to shrink it before operating, I’m trying to do as much research as possible before Wednesday so I am prepared when I see the oncologist. Part of me wants to have the tumour removed first to get it out (especially as it is uncomfortable as I’ve gone from 34dd to 34g bra) and then start chemo especially as there is suspicion that I have the rare Metaplastic BC which can be chemo resistant. However if I have chemo first I can tell if it is working as the tumour will shrink.
Has anyone else had a fast growing large tumour and if so what treatment did you have?

Hi Sodastream, I very rarely pass this way nowadays but I happened to spot your post and it chimed with my own experience back in 2010.


I had a huge tumour that seemed to appear from nowhere and was very agrressive.  It transpired it was bog-standard invasice ductal carcinoma (IDC) but at 8cm at the time of diagnosis was pretty huge.  My surgeon advised chemo first, and for me it was the right choice. It meant that they could be sure the chemo was working for me (I also knew on day 1 I had affected nodes) - and in fact they changed me from FEC to Taxotere (also called Docetaxol) after three cycles*** as a result of monitoring shrinkage, and said even then they still had another option if need be.  It also gave me time to get my head around the mastectomy (my tumour was bang in the middle so no other option) and resontructive options… had I gone straight to surgery i’d have had about 2 weeks to work that out, as it was I had a good four months.

You will make the best call for you - and that’s what matters.  I am now heading towards four years since diagnosis (Aug 2010) and am fit and well… the treatment is not fun but it is doable, and although it sounds crazy now, it will fly by and you’ll be the other side of it.


Take care and my very best wishes for your treatment.


*** One of the regimes is called FEC-T or FEC-D which is effectiviely what I had, it was not quite so commonlu used in my hospital at that time.  Both FEC and FEC-T are really good regimes.

Hi Sodastream

the one piece of advice I would give is stop researching. We all do it and it makes it worse…this is your journey and you just want to stay positive and focused on you…no one responds the same with side effects etc…your oncology team will get you through this…just keep thinking …once the chemo begins you are on your journey to a cure xxx It feels better once you start on the journey…as though something s now being done

Don’t be afraid of the chemo… it does not hurt…its in a calm ebvironment…and lasts about 1.5 hours to administer…they have lots of meds to deal with any side efects…make sure you contact the team about anything…for example …like heart burn…(common) …dont suffer …get tablets and its gone by the following day…

I wish you well… x

Hi Sodastream


I too was diagnosed with a fast growing grade 3 tumour. It started out as 2.2cm,grade 2 but by the time I got to surgery 2 weeks later, it was 3cm,grade 3, node postitive.Surgeon said if they had known it had grown so quickly I would have had chemo first. At the time I was relieved as I thought I wouldn’t have been able to bear not having the lump removed from my body. However, given the choice today, I would opt for chemo first as you do get the reassurance of whether the chem is having any affect and change treatment if necessary. The chemo I had was FEC. Tax. was not on offer for me 11 years ago.

I dont know what grade I am ,feel so scared I did not ask. I was diagnosed on 15 April 2014(out of the blue) with a large tumour (left breast) and affected nodes, and have found it really hard since to stay calm.I have 2 or 3 calm days doing lots of positive affirmations and visualisations and positive pep talk then find myself in the depths of despair.

Yesterday I had a CT scan (spiralled into panic attack rest of day …awful ,couldnt get out of it) and saw the onc today.He said my vital organs are clear but there is a speck on my pelvis so now I have to have a bone scan.

I am starting FEC-T chemotherapy on friday .I feel in a daze, how can this be happening, I was a normal person 3 weeks ago ,My daughter is 18 tomorrow and I feel my life is effectively over.

I have read lots of the posts and hope I can drag myself out of this pit of horror but all I can think about is I could have bone cancer and that means no cure. My youngest is 12 yrs ,I need to stick around but will I? The chemo side effects sound horrendous but I can cope with that I hope but it is the scan result  that has completely knocked me for six.


I too was diagnosed last week with Grade 3, 4cm breast cancer and am seeing the oncologist on Wednesday so was amazed your incredibly similar experience was the first post I’ve read, Sodastream, on any cancer site.  I’ve been avoiding reading up as I’m a wimp and don’t want to read about possible downsides - most unlike me not to run straight to the internet - but thought I should get a bit more genned up before my oncology appointment. 


I’ve had a chest x-ray, microbubble to look at the lymph nodes, ultrasound of my organs and am waiting for an appointment for a bone scan.  I saw the consultant surgeon when I received my diagnosis and he said I would probably be having chemo to shrink the lump before surgery, possibly a lumpectomy but probably a mastectomy.  Your post, RevCat, has made me realise there are advantages to going this route, such as seeing if a particular chemo is working - thank you for that.  Otherwise, I’ve been thinking thinking that provided the tumour is not attached to my chest wall I’d much rather they just took the bally lot off.


So sorry you have had such a worrying scan result, Springsteen1.  I do hope you get good news from the bone scan.  Deep breath for all of us waiting for results.   Sue xx



Hi Springsteen. Hope you’re feeling more positive today. I know exactly how you are feeling. Like you my daughter turned 18 at the beginning of April and I have a son aged 16. When I am at the depth of my despair it is always when I’m thinking of what if and how would they cope without me. I then give myself a pep talk and remind myself I’ve everything to live for and am going to get through this one day at a time. I also look for all the positives that have come out of this like my husband telling me how much he loves me even though he feels he’s not shown it as much as he should have. My daughter has asked to be treated like an adult and all if a sudden our relationship has changed so much for the better. As for my son he’s channelled all his worries into studying for his gcse’s next month and is getting A* in his mocks.
I saw the oncologist and surgeon today and despite still awaiting results for some tests and still needing the ct scan and bone scan they are going to start me on 6 rounds of FEC-T starting as soon as they can get my infection from the biopsy under control (I’m stuck in hospital on IV antibiotics).
Please please try not to worry (I know it’s difficult) and talk to us as we all understand what you’re going through. Look for the positives no matter how significant they are and hold on to them. Sending you a big hug and message me if you want to chat (although can’t get messages at moment on iPhone but will once I’m out of hospital). X

Hi everyone

I was diagnosed on 20th January and at my first meeting with the oncologist, my tumour was measured at 7cm by 7cm. I’ve had 4 chemos so far, 3FEC and 1 docetaxol. My tumour has shrunk massively and is kind of collapsing because of the chemo to the point where the oncologist can no longer properly measure because its so ill defined. It gives me a massive boost to know that although tumours can grow fast, they can also shrink fast with the chemo. I hope this gives you a boost too. It’s not been a pleasant journey so far, but it’s not been unbearable either.

Hazel x

Hi Ladies
Thank you so much for your positive comments, the support received from you all is invaluable. I feel in such a good place at the moment and am mentally so strong and put it down to the support I’m receiving from family, friends but most of all this group. In fact my husband broke down crying the other day and it made me realise he hasn’t received the same support but luckily now we’ve had a few more answers he’s accepting the news slightly better.
Hazel I’ll relay your message to him and tell him that he’d better make the most of my Katie Price breast as hopefully once chemo starts it will shrink as quickly as yours. For me that will be such a relief as the discomfort of carrying around this large breast is awful (although ultrasound measure tumour at 4cm the surgeon measured tumour plus swelling at 8.9 cm).
Keep strong those of you that have started your chemo. X

Hi Hbunny
Sorry to hear it’s not the news you were hoping for. Try to find the positive in the situation as it will help.
I got my results back today too. Having had a cough for the past few weeks I was paranoid it had spread so was relieved when bone scan was clear as was CT scan although it showed a few enlarged lymph nodes. I start chemo in the next couple of weeks as they’re going to try to shrink it and then do operation. They keep asking if I want a lumpectomy as they need to put a coil marker in. However I’m insisting on a double mastectomy. They won’t be able to reconstruct straight away as I need radiation. I’m not thinking of that period and just looking forward to finally ending up with new boobs (hopefully pertier than the pair I’ve got now).
It’s a very personal decision and it’s awful when some of the control gets taken away from you as in the case of you diabeties. I think the best thing is to take one day at a time and when it’s all over I hope you have the result you want.

Hbunny. Haven’t had meeting with surgeon yet but I’m happy to have implants if he’ll agree. They can do marvellous reconstructions these days using muscles and fat from your own body and reconstruct to make them look totally natural and the same as before your cancer. Speaking as a 43 year old mum of 2 with 2 droopy spaniel ears as breasts I haven’t got anything to lose. ?

Thank Hbunny that’s made me realise I need to speak to my surgeon sooner rather than later before I decide on radical treatment. Hope you’re ok today?