I can't find an answer, but you wise women might know..

Hi -

I have just been diagnosed with cancer in my right breast. Not sure what type yet as I haven’t had the full results but I do already know it’s in the lymph nodes. Two showed signs of abnormality on the ultrasound and after a fine needle biopsy they found C5 cells. I know it’s not good that it has spread to the lymph glands, but am obviously hoping it’s only there in moderation! So what I’m wondering is does the fact the ultrasound only found two lymph nodes with abnormalities mean it’s likely to only be in two? And if it is only in two, does that mean it’s less likely it hasn’t spread out to the rest of my body? Sorry for boring questions, but thanks in advance to anyone who might know more than me. Julie

Hello Julie,

Sorry you’ve had to join us, but welcome. Being diagnosed can be a bit of a shock and then there seem to be non-stop appointments but this site is very supportive. Ask away at any questions and hopefully someone will have experience to share.

One thing that I’ve realised from this site is that it is very difficult to get firm answers until you get the pathology report after surgery, as ultrasound and biopsies don’t always give the full picture. Hopefully it will just be the 2 lymph nodes involved but I don’t think you’ll get a firm answer until after your surgery.

Most people who have cancer in any lymph nodes are offered chemo with a view to that getting rid of any cancer that has got out of the breast.

Eliza xx

hi Julie

sorry you have to join us but this site is a fantastic source of information and support.

as for your query… ultrasound isnt very good at diagnosing node involvement… i have a large node but no disease in the nodes.

the FNA you had shows there is some cancer in your and it could be thats as far as it has spread but until you have surgery and a more thorough investigation they wont be 100% certain.

if its in a few nodes its less likely to have spread elsewhere so say if you have it in 15 nodes but have 20 without then that is probably better than somebody who has it in 15 nodes who only has 15 nodes (the amount varies from individual to individual from about 10 to 35)… eg if its in all your nodes its more likely to spread than if its in a few or no nodes… but not having it in the nodes does not rule out getting further spread completely just makes it less likely.

unfortunately nothing is 100% certain when it comes to breast cancer.

Lulu x

Hi Eliza - My Consultant has already said Chemo’s likely, so I’m already expecting that. Am not looking forward to it, but would rather blitz the cancer and get rid than risk not having it.

  • Lulu am sure your right and I need to be patient. It’s so hard to wait for exact diagnosis. Thanks both for answering so quickly. I really appreciate it.

Hi Juile,

Sorry to hear your diagnosis, but welcome to the forum.

Your post takes me right back to my initial dx in June, 09: right breast, lymph nodes and lymph glands involvement, ultrasound, biopsy, etc… Only that I didn’t know this site then, and I was too scared to ask the consultant any further questions just in case I got more bad answers!

Did they arrange any further scans for you to make sure that it hasn’t spread? In my case, they immediately referred me to have a ct scan and bone scan. They said this is routine of the hospital (Bristol). I wasn’t so lucky in that my bone scan showed abnormality. I really hope yours hasn’t spread.

I’m sure your medical team know what’s the next move. If I remembered correctly, I got a lot more information at the 2nd app with him and it took a whole month for the treatment to start. I’m not exaggerating in saying that was the darkest month of my life. The “not knowing what’s going to happen to me” is just horrible.

Take care & keep in touch.


Hello Julie

Sorry you’ve had to join us. I can’t add anything to what has already been said, except to say good luck.
Once treatment starts you will feel a whole lot better as you know you’re doing something to get rid of the cancer. In the meantime - don’t be afraid to ask any questions. There are loads of people on this site who are very well informed.
When you have medical appointments it’s a good idea to take someone with you as it’s difficult to remember what the doctors say. I always take a list of questions written down so that I don’t forget what I want to ask.
Let us know what happens.
Best wishes
Anthi x

Hi Julie
Sorry you’ve found yourself here, but you’ll get loads of advice about absolutely everything from people who’ve been where you are now. I remember it seemed just unreal & I felt it just could NOT be happening. My breast care nurse (bcn) said shock is a very common reaction to a diagnosis of breast cancer, as most of us don’t feel ill at all, & that was the case for me, I felt very well & healthy, apart from a titchy lump which I honestly expected to be told was nothing.
Anyway, I was told I would have a lumpectomy, & all my lymph nodes removed, as the policy of the hospital was to remove all the nodes if cancer has been found in even one of them, don’t know if all hospitals are the same re that. Then,chemo to mop up any ‘bits that got away’, then radiotherapy (rads) & herceptin for 1 year as that is suitable for my type of cancer (can’t remember the technical term).Before all of that, had bone & liver scans, & luckily they were both clear.
Julie, I won’t lie, it’s a horrible thing, & the treatment’s horrible too, but you will get through & remember, come on here & ask absolutely anything, or just have a moan, there’s always someone to listen & help.
All the best x

Hi Julie

Sorry to hear your dx. I don’t think ultra sound can tell you very much about nodes - none of mine showed up on ultra sound. But at least finding out before your surgery will save you an additional surgery, as instead of having a sentinel node biopsy I would expect your surgeon to go straight to full node clearance. You will get your results quicker, and avoid that second op. You will almost certainly have chemo - but we’ll all be here to help you get through it - and that won’t be for a while yet.

If you would like some advice - and we are all different - I would just concentrate on the next step and not think too far ahead at this point. Good luck.

finty xx

Hi Julie

Sorry you had to join us. As the others have said, you will more than likely need chemo and rads. My cancer was in one node and just finished chemo. Due to start rads next week, but not having it to armpit due to low lymph involvement. I think scans are normal, but I found this the scariest bit. Iwas was very fortunate that there was no spread.

Take care

Julia xx

wow, so many of you answered and so quickly too. Thanks to all. Yes, I am having a bone scan, and a CT scan. Weirdly I feel as though I can deal with whatever if it’s relatively contained, but I’m terrified it may have spread, so that’s my worst fear. Not helped by the fact I’ve had a nagging pain in my lower right rib (same side as the cancer) for the past two months. Weirdly I had the same pain two years ago and went to the doctor. Then he told me to monitor it for a month and go back if it was still there, but it went then. When it came back this time, I just assumed it was the same as before until now. I have my core biopsy at lunch time today, then will get the results next week sometime. I may well be back to ask you all more questions! So sad we’re all on here.

Hiya Julie,youre sounding very brave and knowledgable,I was a quivering wreck at your stage in Nov.08,Id certainly hate to do it all again. Just read your post about pain in the ribs,that was my first symptom in April 08,the young G.P. told me there was nothing wrong and to buy some decent bras. In October I went back to her and said we were intending to go to live in Spain and would she check it out again,she did and again said there was nothing amiss. With hindsight,Ive asked why oh why didnt she just send me to the clinic and get me mammogrammed,maybe it could have been found before it spread to the nodes. 6 weeks later I asked to see the senior G.P.,
she sent me the following week and obviously it was found,grade 3.
Im now on the other side and preparing to finally move to Spain, Im not sure if its a sensible thing to do,Ill come home for my 6 monthly check-ups and when I asked the oncologist what danger signs I should watch out for,he said Id just know. So I wish you lots of love,youll get through,if a mardarse like me can do it,so can you.
Although everyones different,there`ll always be someone on here to help you out, best wishes, Mags xx

Hey Mags, Great to hear you’re out the other side. Does that mean you’re clear?? How fantastic. Hope you don’t mind me asking, but did the pain in your ribs mean you had bone cancer as a secondary? Also was that pain constant? I’m confused by my pain having gone previously and now returned. A lovely friend has just e-mailed me loads of links saying lower right rib pain is quite common with IBS, which I have suspected I might have for a while, so am obviously hoping it’s that rather than bone cancer! Thanks so much for posting. Gives me hope to hear you’re getting on with life. xj

Hi Julie

You’ve had some really good advice here and I can’t really add much. Just to say that my results were very different after my surgery to what I’d been told after biopsy. As the other girls have said, I don’t think that ultrasound is a good indicator.

Having said that you do get by a day-at-a-time by not looking too far into the future. Once you know exactly what your results are and what your treatment plan is you come to terms with it and just get on with it.

I was dx in May 2008 and was absolutey horrified when I found that I needed chemo. But one-day-at-a-time I got through it. If I can do that (I’m a real wimp) then anyone can.

Now I’m in remission and sometimes feel as if it happened to someone else (a bit like labour). You’ll get through this to enjoy life ‘on the other side’.

Mal x

PS The aches and pains which which were just shrugged off before do become more ‘noticeable’ but you do learn to live with it.

Hello again Julie,I wish I could say that I was clear,I asked the onc.what my status was when I saw him 2 weeks ago,he said Im in remission,I have to be well for another 4yrs 2months,the time since diagnosis has flown,so it didnt daunt me too much. I too had inflammatory B.C. but didnt know rib pain pointed to that,youre a new girl but youre teaching me something. To focus on the good things that have come out of being ill,my hubby has been the best I could have ever hoped for,my (adult)kids appreciate me more than before and show it,our neighbours have become our friends and Ive ended up with the best head of hair Ive had in my life. Ive had very little in the way of tests since a bone scan last July after my MX in May,not even a blood test,maybe its a case of not going looking for trouble,I feel almost as well as I did before all this,still get nerve pain and side effects of pills but nothing major,hopefully,this time next year,you might be reassuring newbys. Sleep well and if you dont,ask the doc for some Zopiclone.
Love Mags xx

Mags - Julie said IBS, not IBC. I particularly noticed because I have a pain in my lower right rib and have often thought I have IBS.

Ann x

Whoops,sorry for the mistake Julie,as if youre not confused enough at the moment without me adding to the confusion. Thanks for pointing out my errors Anne,well have to make you a monitor.
Best wishes to all, Mags x

Thanks Mags and Ann. I don’t think my BC is inflammatory, Mags. My Consultant says mine is probably the most common of all BC, so Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (hope I’ve got that right, but am new!). I’m just hoping it hasn’t spread further than the lymph glands under my arm, so obviously the pain in my right rib is scaring me. Trouble is as soon as you get the diagnosis you really do start to notice every little ache don’t you? Am keeping myself busy until next week and results. Am sure I’ll feel better then as at least I’ll know what I’m facing. xj