I dont know if this is from the biopsy or the cancer or the shock?

I wonder if anyone can help me with this- I had my biopsy on friday, was diagnosed with cancer on Monday and have had a tingling in my right arm from the armpit right down- it seems to be getting worse as the days go by.

I was told that the tumors were likely to be at an early stage and I would probably have a lumpectomy and radiotherapy. Can the doctors tell that at this stage or is this standard procedure, I thought it took the blood tests and the MRI to show how far on the cancer is? I think its my arm thats panicking me, any help would be much appreciated.

Hi YCM1980

I am so sorry to hear your news. You might find it helpful to talk to someone on our helpline. It is a free number 0808 800 6000 and is open from 09.00 - 17.00 Monday to Friday and 09.00 - 14.00 Saturday. All the operators are either trained helpliners or breast cancer nurses.

I am quite sure that there will be other forum users answering your post with support and advice very soon.

Take Care
AnnabelG
Moderator

Dear YCM1980

I remember the biopsy was unpleasant and certainly caused bruising afterwards that didn’t go away immediately. I wasn’t diagnosed until several months after I had it though, so the shock came later, after I’d had the whole lump taken out as a supposed benign tumour.

I think finding out you have a serious illness when you feel basically fine is a very stressful thing to deal with, also I hadn’t had any experience of having an operation apart from an injection for my frozen shoulder which involved a five minute general anaesthetic, so I didn’t know what to expect. And there are so many stories in the press about cancer, hospitals and brave struggles. I personally was anything but brave and very badly behaved towards doctors, nurses and anyone in a hospital as I blamed them all for my misdiagnosis and they always seemed very ill informed about me.

No doubt this was brought on by my emotional response. There are some good leaflets on cancer from Cancer Backup and from this site which you can either download or get sent for free (you can make a donation if you want). And Breast Cancer Care also offer a resource pack for newly diagnosed women which helps to explain all the different jargon and the different treatment plans which women have. I found it difficult to understand that there are so many variations of breast cancer, depending on the biology of cells, size of the lump and some other factors.

I do hope you feel better soon, a problem shared is a problem halved. I would contact the hospital and maybe get your painful arm checked out there or by your GP.

Mole

Hi YCM

It sounds as though you’ve had an experience very similar to mine. My biopsy identified a small area of DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ) and lumpectomy and radiotherapy were advised. They also took some nodes out at the time of the op to check that the cancer was confined to the breast (which it was, thankfully) and at no time did I have an MRI or blood test to confirm the diagnosis.

Again, like you, I remember having dreadful aches in my right arm after the diagnosis (it was my right breast which was affected) and I also experienced tingling in my right hand. I was convinced that the cancer had spread. I was also having headaches as the op approached - but I’m sure much of this, both the arm and the headaches, were brought on by stress…and the mind is incredibly powerful.

In the end, I opted for a mastectomy and reconstruction (the tumour I was told when I was diagnosed was grade 3 - therefore aggressive, and I didn’t want to risk having to have repeat lumpectomies and then end up with a mastectomy anyway). I haven’t regretted this decision for a moment.

So, yes, medical staff can usually tell from the biopsy and mammogram how early they’ve identified the problem and how aggressive the cells are. However, the op will confirm this and also the extent of the spread.

Hope that helps. Good luck with things - when is your op planned for and whereabouts are you?

Lizzie xx

Hi YCM

I had biopsy,and was told it was cancer they can get quite a bit of information from biopsy,I was told it was very small,expected to be grade 1,
was also told that if I was to have breast cancer this was the one to have.
It was grade 1. The size was 6mm,clear lymphs. Treatment Lumpectomy Radiotherapy for 3wks and Arimidex for 5yrs,
I finished Radiotherapy today.
My lump was actually smaller than he thought.
Hope everything goes well for you

Thanks everyone for your support and advice I dont feel so alone right now. I got my arm checked out and the doc couldnt feel swollen lymph nodes and he also said if I was stressed or panicking this can lead to your body doing crazy things at a time like this. Im glad I found this site.

hi Lizzie

I was back in today to get the results of the MRI but all my consultant said was that the other breast appeared fine- I dont know what I was expecting.

I have decided not to to go ahead with reconstructive surgery- Im a A cup and Ive weighed up the pros and cons and have decided just to leave it.

They also told me today that Im Her 2 positive and that this means after my operation I will need chemotherapy followed by tamoxifen and herceptin. I think I’ll post a question about this because its still all a bit gobbldy gook- I go in to speak to my consultant and I forget half the things I meant to ask!

Yvonne xx

I can’t think what to ask my surgeon either,and i’m seeing him again next week, so he can answer any questions i might have! I know i should have hundreds of things to ask, but my head just goes numb when i think about it all…probably because i STILL expect them to say ‘ooops. sorry, we made a terrible mistake and actually you’re all clear’! Mad isn’t it…i can feel the lump, so i know the little b’stard is there…but i also know it’s getting an eviction notice next month, so i should try to accept it, get on with it and get well.

I was in a similar position of being so gobsmacked by this diagnosis -( DCIS - highgrade, widespread, mastectomy in 2 weeks she said) that I hadn’t a clue what to ask when she said “Have you any questions?” Now, 3 months, MX and immediate tram flap recon later and an ‘expert’ in breast cancer, I have decided that if anyone ever again asks me that question I will say “What sort of things would you ask about if you were in my position?”
Good luck with your surgery.