I’m posting on behalf of my sister who today after 7 cancer free years has found out its back.

Long story short- she’s just 50 and was diganosed at age 43. She had a breast lump with some infected lymph nodes. I’m sorry I dont know the exact detail anymore (we sort of thought it was all in the past!) She had a lumpectomy and then chemo followed by radio- in all all nearly 2 years of treatment. She then was on tamaxifen for 5 years.
Recently she has been having quite bad pain in her arm, same side as cancer. This arm has been iffy since her treatment but it had reached the point of making it difficult to drive etc. Firstly the doctor said it was tennis elbow! So she took it upon herself to contact the cancer unit who arranged a scan which showed something, she had biopsy Monday and today was told the dreaded news. Its 3 cms and they think early.
The reason for my post is because she has been prescribed letrozole for 6 weeks to try and shrink it and then they will review. She said maybe chemo after but depends. She seems to be under the impression that Letrozole may cure it but I cant see that this is the case. Can anyone shed any light as to why they’re going this route? I thought it would be standard to operated, (mascetomy?) and/or chemo? Is it that they cant cure, only manage?
All very shocked right now, this isnt the start to the NY we hoped for. Having said thay she’s very upbeat and is still off to Zumba tonight!!
Thanks xx

Anyone? x

Letrozole is a great drug with great results. It’s often used as a frontline treatment instead of chemo as it’s so effective. Don’t think she’s having an inferior treatment just because it’s not chemo. It still treats the whole body just as chemo does.
Good luck to your sister & I sincerely hope that Letrozole kicks cancer’s butt.

Hi I am on letrozole after a primary and although initially I had some side effects, joint pain mainly I think its a great drug. Is the new lump in her breast or arm? (same breast as before??)

thank you for replies. The lump same side as before but is located in muscle where your arm meets your breast.
im glad your having positive results letrozole:)
my confusion is they appear to be ‘managing’ the cancer as opposed to curing- I thought local reoccurances where curable but secondary treatable but not curable? As far as I can see letrozole, if effective, cancer control the cancer for many years but if it stops working or if she stopped taking the cancer would return? Doesn’t that mean its terminal? I appreciate there are people here in this position who’ve had ten yrs since being told this but I’m just seeking clarification. The hospital weren’t clear- well if they were my sis n her hubby didnt take in xx

Hi loveformysis

I’m sorry to read about your sister’s diagnosis. It might help for you to talk all this through with a member of staff on the helpline. Here you can ask any questions you may have and share all your concerns with someone who will offer you a listening ear as well as support and information. The number to call is 0808 800 6000 and the lines are open Monday to Friday 9 to 5pm and Saturday 10 to 2pm.

Best wishes Sam, BCC Facilitator

I agree the help line is really good and I am sure they will help sort this all out in your mind. I would guess that they want to see if the letrozole can shrink it and then decide about removal of the lump. Your sister certainly isn’t terminal and as you say if it is a new primary lump then they will still be trying to cure it. I would have thought even if its a secondary of the same lump and confined to breast tissue then they will still be hoping to eradicate it. Whether its primary or secondary I am sure they will be treating it with all they have and the prognosis even with a secondary lump can be very good and getting better all the time. Its an awful shock for you all and will take time to get your head around it all. Just know that sisters mean the world, I wouldn’t have got through my BC without my sister, she was my rock all the way through.
Just keep positive, all can be fine in the end and there is loads I am sure they can do - lots of love to you, let us know how she gets on.

T x

Thanks for lovrely replies. I will update tomorrow as my sister is going to call her nurse and
ask some questions. Thanks xx

hi Loveformysis

sorry to hear your sister has had a recurrence.

i have had BC 3 times and the last time was a recurrence in the chest muscle (interpectoral lymph nodes and pectoral muscle)… some huge vessels and nerves run through this muscle so it can be difficult to operate but most people i know who had a chest wall recurrence have had surgery to remove the tumour or even the whole muscle.

i had surgery to remove the two tumours in my chest fallowed by chemo and then radiotherapy… my cancer isnt rterminal or even inoperable but a regional recurrence and considered stage 3b… stage 4 is secondary BC which is incurable although it doesnt sound like your sister is at this stage so it might be worthwhile getting it clarified.

hope all goes well with her treatment.

Lulu x