Lymph node clearance or chemo first?

Unfortunately I have today found out that I need a lymph node clearance. Can any one help is it best to have the surgery then chemo or chemo then surgery? My breast lump was less 1cm so I am in shock that 6/7 nodes removed were cancerous. I was expecting to need radiotherapy and hormone treatment but actually I need a CT scan, chemo, radiotheraphy, node clearance and hormone treatment. On the positive side the breast cancer is all gone. If you have been in a similar position please let me know which way around you did things & why. THanks.

Hi WMJ, I am HER2+ and ER+. My tumour was 6cm with lymph node involvement. I had chemo June to October and lumpectomy and axcillary node clearance last week. They were hopeful they had removed all the cancer as nothing could be seen on the mammogram or ultrasound but unfortunately the pathology results of the lumpectomy showed that although chemo did a good job of shrinking right down, it’s left a few scattered cancer cells and I’ve now been advised to have a left side mascectomy. 2 nodes still had cancer too! Mortified! I think because of size of your tumour your have a lumpectomy followed by chemo. To reassure you; lumpectomy is nothing to fear and chemo is doable. Good luck with your treatment xx

I guess all our circumstances are different and they will advise the best way forwatf for us as individuals. whatever they suggest, will be in your best interests xx

I had chemo first to try save the breast if I had op first would have lost it - the chemo shrunk it all away and just had a small amount nod tissue removed in my op on Monday - however despite being clear on scans the sentinel lymph node removal biopsy showed signs of cancer so now scheduled for another op- where possible have chemo first to get rid as much as possible of the tumour makes surgery less invasive



Sirry to hear your story, I have just been given the same bad news. I like you went for surgery had 3 nodes removed, on results day she gives me the blow that 2/3 nodes were positive!!! I was blown over. I am now awaiting ct results and have further surgery booked for 14th Feb. How are you getting on now you are a little further than me. I hope it is going well for you.

Hi, I too have lymph nodes involved. Had mastectomy with reconstruction on Dec 30th where 2 nodes were removed, discovered both contained cancer so advised to have all nodes removed to see how far it’s travelled. Had full clearance last Friday 27th and due to start chemo end of Feb…I wasn’t really offered an alternative but I think my view has always been to just get rid asap, I’m going to ask for an elective mastectomy on my other boob too, when the time is right. Now it’s just a waiting game to get the results of the lymph nodes ??? :frowning:

Hi, sorry for my late response too, I’m new to this so hadn’t seen your response. Sorry you have had to undergo additional surgery, what have they done to you this time? Had my results from clearance, a further 2 were infected but remaining 12 clear, so 4 out of 16 I see as a positive. Healing very well outwardly…no swelling and scar is excellent, arnica is my friend. Pain however is a different story…from my shoulder to my elbow is very tender, totally numb in my armpit but persevering with excercises. Looking at Fec starting end of Feb…good luck to you x

Good luck for today !!
Next for me is an ECG, it’s to do with the chemo as apparently need to check heart can cope?? Never heard of that before. I’m having FEC and Docetaxel, 3 of each looking to start in next couple of weeks. Anyway, positive vibes for you today :slight_smile: x

Hi Meash, yes ECG was in fact an Echo…lol, they needed to make sure my heart was doing what it should and it was, which is good. Had first chemo on Thursday which was much better than anticipated, lots of anti sickness and steroids, I start on Docetaxel x 3 then the FEC x 3. So far not feeling too awful, can’t get rid of the constant headache and lost taste buds!!! Today is the first day without steroids so expecting the big slump!! Node clearance was again not too bad, it was in 4 of 16, so the positive spin is 12 were clear!! Still numb and weird feeling and trying to persevere with excercises, as have to have my arm above my head in a straight line by March 20th, otherwise my Surgeon is going to get me a strict physio!! Anyway, good luck for Thursday and glad your news is good so far xx

Hi Meash, you’re right, it’s a bit confusing and everyone seems to have different treatment plans!! As for the chemo I’m sure I could have driven but I just left it for a day, but I felt fine. My treatment was kind of controlled by my surgeon, he communicated with my onc and I met with him once who told me what would be happening and the following week my chemo started! I’ve had phone calls and texts from him, but this appears to be how he operates, he was described as a mad professor and he is. I’ve had a bit of a reaction on my new boob since Thursday so I’m keeping an eye on it and will no doubt be bothering my bcn tomorrow. Take care and ask anything anytime, we’re both new to this! xx

Hi Meash, new boob was causing me a lot of concern yesterday, it hurt, it felt different, I wasn’t happy, consulted the chemo line who are brilliant and really supportive and they thought it was surgical rather than chemo related. Managed to see my surgeon who reassured me everything normal , although I do have lymphodema …I’m gutted!! Trying to keep “up” but I take my hat off to those woman who sail through this journey because it’s not easy. My next tax is the 23rd, I have it every 3 weeks. No idea on Rads yet, they said it will be decided at the end of chemo. Lots of good wishes coming your way xx

Hi Meash, I’m near Bournemouth, I’ve got an amazing fiancé who has just been awesome, I know I’m very lucky. Good luck for Thursday and keep in touch xx

Hi Meash, my chemo started March 2nd, I felt pretty awful for about 5 days but feel fine now. Taste buds left but came back, I will need to get stronger painkillers for the next one!! My last one is July 6th, then I presume they’ll decide if I need Rads?? Keep up the good fight xx

Hi Meash, heart thing is fine, it’s basically an ultrasound, doesn’t take long. My chemo started 2 weeks ago today, I’m doing Docetaxel first then fec. Hair already starting to come out!! I’m not working, told my bosses to count me out until all my treatment is finished, they’re being really good financially which is the only way I could do it. I’ve pretty much got full movement in my arm, it’s still numb though, I’ve got an appointment at the lymphodema clinic on Monday, but the swelling isn’t too bad at all. I’ve picked up a bloody infection in my new boob though so it’s bright red!! I’m on lots of antibiotics to hopefully sort it out :slight_smile: good luck and keep on keeping on xx

Hi Meash, I’m not bothering with a wig, I shaved my hair off last night…I’ll either go bald or wear hats!! I tried a scarf and I just looked like I had cancer but the hats just look like hats :slight_smile: I hope you don’t have to wait around too much longer. Take care xx

Hi Meash, for some reason I’ve started on the Docetaxel then I’m having FEC which is the complete reverse to everyone else…not sure why? I’ve had 1 session and the next one is tomorrow. Side effects kicked in 3 days after and lasted 5 days .no sickness, but lots of bone pain…the injection was 24 hours after session and it was an immune boosting one. Take some boiled sweets or grapes to nibble on and take a wrap or poncho or something to sling on if you get cold…also get yourself a nice holiday brochure so you can either do some dreaming or some planning with your hubby :slight_smile: take care xx