First time on this forum - feeling confused after my surgical follow-up.


I was diagnosed 6 weeks ago with stage 2, grade 2, invasive ductal cancer to the left breast. It’s ER+ and HER- and the tumour was measured at 3-4 cm on ultrasound and mammogram. I was told I would need a mastectomy, with the possibility of radiotherapy afterwards and then Tamoxifen for 5-10 years. 3 weeks ago I had a total mastectomy of the left breast and sentinal node biopsy. 

Overall, I had taken the news well because the team had reassured me that they could treat this cancer effectively and I was extremely relieved that I wouldn’t need chemotherapy (my worst fear). I haven’t felt despair or even felt like this was the end of the world.

Yesterday I had my surgical follow-up where I was told the lymph nodes are clear, but the tumour was actually 7cm in size!! The surgeon then started talking about the possibility of chemotherapy. My removed tissue has to be sent for analysis to see if chemo is necessary.

This news has totally floored me. I was told chemo was not needed initially and I can’t understand why that has now changed. I can only assume that it’s due to the unexpected size of the tumour. I wish I had asked more questions yesterday, but my mind went blank with the shock. I know I should be happy that the lymph nodes are cancer-free, but all I can think about now is the possibility of chemo. I know things do have to change when new information is discovered, but I hadn’t prepared myself for this. I just assumed they would use radiotherapy to kill off any remaining cells or to prevent the cancer returning.

I’m feeling so confused and for the first time feeling scared about my future.

I am sorry you have had such a bad shock. It’s not unusual for the first reports from surgery or biopsy to be updated once more tissue is removed. Breast cancer can be very sneaky. That may be why the doctors now think you will need chemo rather than the treatment they thought would be enough when they first looked.

I am very sorry you are going through hell. But keep going one step at a time, don’t try to do too much, but eat properly, get as much sleep as you can, and ask your GP for some anti anxiety tablets if you think this might help. 

Do you have friends you can talk to? Or a Nurse at the hospital? A problem shared is a problem halved.

Let me know how you get on.




I am sorry you have been totally knocked for six with results-I’m afraid I remember that feeling well as have many others on here.

I really wish staff didn’t give definites-‘you won’t need chemotherapy’ the size is x cm’ until they have all the facts. I’m not sure they realise how much we hold onto every word and those changes to us, leave us totally shaken and panicked. However, you are now where you are and you need back onto a stable ground where you feel some control.

Have you been given a next stage plan? Wait MDT/further tests/oncology discussion or you’re waiting oncotype score before any plan can be made?

I think whilst you have the uncertainty there will be a level of shakiness in your world but this will settle once you have a plan. If no chemo needed-great. If it is recommended, it’s not great but is do-able and there will be an end period.

maybe try to concentrate on getting mentally and physically stronger whilst waiting oncotype result because that will help you no matter which result -arm exercises, sleep, walks, fresh air… things you have control of, which will hopefully make you feel less frightened.

The nurses at helpline are great and/or your hospital breast care nurses should be able to offer support, and answer any questions you have now thought of since yesterday. It seems even more cruel to give us breast cancer diagnosis, we get our head round that and keep positive, then we get curveball thrown at results meeting to make it feel ‘worse’.

What the medical staff are good at, is taking all the final information and putting together an individual treatment plan just for you, which is to give you the best long future. You both want the same end results and they can still treat the cancer-they may just need to reconsider the best way with the new information. I think and hope you will feel more confident and less scared once you know what this is and then time to get your head around it. It won’t always feel like this-hold on in there,

big hugs


I’m sorry to hear that you’re feeling confused and scared after receiving new information about your cancer diagnosis. It’s understandable to feel overwhelmed by unexpected news. It’s important to remember that the medical team is doing everything they can to provide you with the best treatment options based on the most current information available. It’s also important to ask any questions you may have and to communicate any concerns or fears with your medical team. They can provide you with additional information and support to help you navigate this challenging time.