Help

I am currently recovering from a mastectomy and reconstruction surgery. Was advised yesterday that the tumour was a mixed ductal and metaplastic cancer, grade 3 only 7mm. I thought that I would be given hormone treatment but today been told that due to my age (40) and the grade of cancer and that it is not hormone receptive that I am to see oncology about chemo. I feel totally devasted, it is like being told I have breast cancer again. I am so scared as to why this is being offered and wondered if anyone out there can give me any re-assurance about the chemo and this type of cancer.
Thanks to anyone who is able to reply

Hi SBracken and welcome to the forums.

I have been told that chemo is used for Grade 3 cancers, and by the sound of it you may be a triple negative lady (i.e. tumour negative for Oestrogen, Progesterone and HER2) and the standard treatment for triple neg tumours is chemo. Have you had a HER2 test? About 25% of cancers are HER2+, so you are more likely to be HER2 negative but that’s a question to ask your onc or BCN. But don’t despair, I’ve also read that triple neg tumours respond particularly well to chemo, with the added benefit to you and your quality of life that you don’t have to go through five years of Tamoxifen.

I’m no expert by any stretch of the imagination. I think there’s a BCC leaflet on triple negative cancer (I could be wrong), but in any case there are quite a few triple neg ladies on here who can give you help, support and specific advice.

Hi SBracken

I have put for you below the link to the area of our website where Triple Negative BC is discussed. If you would like to talk to someone further, in confidence, then please do phone the helpline here, the staff are here to support you through this.

Calls to the helpline are free, 0808 800 6000 lines open Mon-Fri 9-5 and Sat 9-2

breastcancercare.org.uk/breast-cancer-breast-health/diagnosis/primary/triple-negative/

Hope this helps. Take care,
Jo, Facilitator

Hi SBracken,

Anyone with a grade 3 cancer will be offered chemo, so don’t worry. Many of us are having chemo - either because of grade of cancer or because it has been found in lymph nodes - or both.
There’s lots of help and information on here about coping with chemo.

Good luck. Stella xx

Hi, SBracken. I think the majority of us who are going through chemo or who have finished it would say that it hasn’t been as bad as we thought. Not a pleasant experience, mind, but while a minority have bad reactions or side effects, the majority won’t. You will be given emergency and inquiry numbers and if either the chemo or the medications for the side effects (my first prescription bag was enormous!) don’t suit you, adjustments will be made.

It’s a good idea to keep a diary or at least to write down any minor problems with the time they occured or questions as you go along, so you don’t forget them by your next appointment. This also helps to keep you as an active partner in your own treatment, not just a passive acceptor of it.

I went through the same experience of getting progressively worse news about my cancer (not quite the same as yours), and yes, it’s really hard, when you think things are reasonably limited and you know what’s in store, to find out that it’s more serious and that you need something like chemo. I can only tell you that I was worried sick about chemo but now that I am half-way through I can put my hand on my heart and say it hasn’t been as bad as I feared.

Best wishes,
Cheryl

hi Sbracken

MBC is a very rare, cancer which is usually always triple negative. I know it wont feel it at the moment, but the fact that it is mixed with ductal cancer, is probably a blessing. Metaplastic cancers are often overlooked as being something benign, so are often quite large once diagnosed as cancerous. I was diagnosed in November with a 4.6 cm metaplastic cancer, but 4 months earlier i had been told i had a 3.1cm fibroadenema which wasn’t cancer and never could be. There is a facebook site for MBC suffers, started by wonderful lady called Bena Roberts. If you would like to know more about metaplastic or just need to speak to others with the same diagnosis as youself - please join us. If you want to Pm me for details or just a chat please feel free.

Also please try not to worry too much about chemo it really is doable.

Thinking about you Maria x

Sounds like my journey. It really is a rollercoaster. I can understand how disappointed and concerned you are. As I understand it grade 3 and age and general well being on your side - you get chemo. Chemo is totally different for us all. I think of it like flu - you do feel a bit rough but it is only for a few days. But however it pans out you’ll get there. I did a count down every time I went - only 5 left, half way through etc and this helped me focus.

I had a friend who had gone through BC a year before and she was my lifeline through surgery, chemo and after. If you aren’t able to do, this breast cancer care has a "buddy’ system which one of the ladies I met during treatment used. She swore by it.

It’s 18 months since I finished chemo and now it seems like a lifetime ago. Keep your chin up and seek support whenever you need it. We all needed it - no shame in that.

Will put you in prayers. x