May I ask a dumb question?

All you ladies on here are wonderful and everytime I post you all help out but ive got a few stupid questions that I am asking myself(and I am sure the Onc will advise me of all of these, I am just a girl who likes to prepare).

Im due to see Onc on 8th Aug for my 1st app which I assume it will be my treatment plan? Stupid Question here goes:

When they told me they had managed to take a clear margin and it hadnt spread to lymph nodes, does that mean all the cancer is out of my body?(Grade 3 invasive) as I know grade 3 is aggressive I am worried since I had my lump removed on 12th July will it be growing back inside me and spreading?

I seem to have pushed it right at the back of my mind since it was removed but now I kick myself thinking I shouldnt be carrying on with life as if I was fine becasue I have breast cancer!!
Am I making sense?
Also - whilst going through Chemo what scans/tests will I expect to have and worry more about?

Thanks guys…

Hi Lynne,
as you have been referred to an Oncologist,it is very likely you will have chemotherapy and also possibly radiotherapy. Your good news is that you got clear margins and no lymph node involvement. I can’t answer your question as to whether the cancer is still growing in your body - my Onc explained the reason I was to have chemo was to attack any microscopic cells that may have got through the lymph nodes and unable to show up on mammo/ultrasound. I had 4/18 nodes involved. Radiotherapy is like belt and braces he said, to zap any remaining cells in the breast.

I had a chest x-ray CT scan, and a bone scan as I began chemo. Both were thankfully normal and I am doing fine now, some 4 and a half yrs since diagnosis.
I hope you do well.

Hi Liz,

Thanks for your reply and may I say I am sooo pleased to hear your doing well after all of that. I was told when I got diagnosis that I would be having Chemo and Rads, and then they thought I was triple neg, but now i may be a little PR positive which may indicate taking tamoxifen after but thats a bit down the road to go yet.

When you have the xrays/scans do you get the results straight away as I know I will worry what they will find…Am I right in thinking you get them to see if the Chemo is actually working and doing what its supposed to?


Hi Lynne
Not stupid questions at all… Sorry but can’t really answer the surgery/spread question properly but I’ll tell you what I experienced.

I am having my treatment the other way around, so chemo first, then Mast, then Rads. I know what you mean about the ‘feeling’ it might be spreading. I had my CT/MRI/Bone scans in June (all clear), then probably had 3 weeks before I had my first chemo (21st July). I was panicking like mad that inbetween the scans and the chemo it was gonna be on the rampage through my body. I don’t think anyone could say it can’t spread that quickly but prob unlikely, but the purpose of the chemo is to stop it in its tracks if it had started and also (of course) to shrink the lump.

With the scans etc. I was really lucky that I got my MRI results within 4-5 days and my CT scan overnight. Bone scan was a week or so, but they told me if the CT was clear then it would be unlikely to show anything on bone scan as the CT scans your upper body bones and if it wasn’t present there, then unlikely to be in your lower body bones.

And, yes they are using them again halfway through my treatment to check the chemo is working for me. Yours may be different though as you have already had your surgery.

I read your story on the other thread about your trip to Asda, bloody people, that’s all you needed.

Take care
Sending love and hugs

Hi Ali,

Yeah I know, I was livid! Im a usually a confident person and usually can hold my own but it really hurt. I am not blaming the lady, she only thought she was helping I guess she didnt really think about her actions.

Thanks for the insight into your treatment, I like to know what to expect.

So how long do you have to have Chemo before your surgery? How are you coping with Chemo?

Hi Lynne
I have a 6cm lump and likely trip neg. So they reckon this way round was the best deal for me. I had my 1st chemo almost 2 weeks ago, and although I was a bit wiped out for the weekend (luckily it was on a friday so hubby could have kids 4 weekend) I was fine by Monday. I was careful what I ate the week before and the week after, I drank loads and loads of water too - i think that helped.

The anti-sickness drugs did their job, I felt sick off and on but was never actually sick. I rested on Monday morning then by Monday night I was back at the gym (!) sad cow.

I have to have 3 doses of FEC, then an MRI scan…if the lump has shrunk, then I will have 3 x taxotere - if no shrinkage then 6 x taxotere…so you can imagine I am praying for downsizing here!!!

Take care, speak to you soon

Hi All

I wonder if it depends which hospital you attend, as when I have asked about scans etc, I was told there would be no need, unless there is a problem!!

I must admit I know it would mean waiting for results which is truly awful, but I would rather have the scans to tell me where I am at.

I have asked for a bone density scan as mum,grandma have history of osteoporosis(!) and starting on Zoladex which carries a risk of it worries me. I have been told there is up to a 6 month wait because of funding, as it cannot be done at my hospital. Although I have just had blood test results for hormones as I was starting with the hot flushes and hadn’t had a period for a couple of months, and it confirmed I have started with the menopause.
Far too young at 35, feeling quite upset with myself today.

Take care all


Hi Ali,

Yes I def pray yours downsizes hun!!

Angie - I think your right about diff hospitals from other threads that I read. I hear so many women say they are having FEC chemo, my hospital said they do not use it anymore as giving a higher dose of Epi is exactley the same so my nurse said when its time for my Chemo I will get EC.

There must be quite a few chemo drugs that they use for Breast Cancer maybe?


Hi Lynne

Like you, I had clear margins after lumpectomy and my nodes were not affected. My surgeon and onc both advised that, as far as they were concerned, the cancer was no longer in my body and the chemo (e-cmf) and rads were given to “mopup” and cancer cells that may have strayed. I am now on Herceptin and Arimidex. I returned to work 10 months from date of diagnosis and my energy levels are almost back to normal and my hair has grown back in (diagnosed on 25/5/06). Hope this helps and good luck with your treatment.



It’s up to the individual consultant, or group of hospital consultants, but all breast cancer chemo regimens will have Epirubicin (or a similar drug) as the main component.


Like Lynn & Margaret I too had clear margins & no nodes affeected and I often think “Hey it’s gone!” but then I wonder well why are they giving me chemo etc then, so no its not a stupid question.

When I asked the consultant & surgeon they both just said it was because of my age (I’m 34) so from that I deduced that they couldn’t guarantee it was all gone but if there were any rogue cells swimming around the chemo should sort them out.

I’m the type of person that wants to know all the science, facts & figures etc so I know why they’re doing what but sometimes they just give stock answers (ie because of my age). If I hear anyone else says “belts & braces” to me I think I’ll scream - I’m gonna look that one up in a medical dictionary.

Sometimes it can be like trying to get blood out of a chemo vein!!! (no offence intended to anyone by my little joke, it’s just it took 3 attempts on my 1st session so I dread to think what they’ll to do to me on go 6)

Take care

Dear Lynne
I also have grade 3 invasive ductal cancer and i 37, i am having 8 sessions of chemo to reduce the size of my lump and i have a large lump under my arm they are hoping to shrink before surgery , i have my 3rd chemo on friday i must admit it is going rather quickly and i honestly feel a lot better than i thought i would, the anti sickness drugs certainly do their job and i feel a bit tired for a few days but nothing terrible, my taste buds have changed (cant stop eating peanut brittle !) but i am using difflam mouth wash and no sore mouth so far , i am amazed at how positive i feel somedays and then i think am i in denial ? i honestly think everybody goes through this we all want to try and be strong and positive ! i have 2 children 4 & 8 and they are fine and have really taken it in their stride , just carry on as you are you sound like you are doing just great
good luck with everything
love galen xx

Hey Lynne,

I think everybody’s answered your questions but I just wanted to say that I was grade 3 invasive ductal into 2/10 lymph nodes and as far as I’m concerned my cancer’s gone and I’m getting chemo, rads, hormones and Herceptin as back up (yeah the whole shebang!) I feel incredibly fortunate that they are being super cautious. My onc said that I wouldn’t get any tests during chemo because basically they wouldn’t be able to check anything as I had my surgery first. I’ll just have the routine 6 monthly (I think) checks once all the treatment’s finished.

And hey there’s nothing wrong with getting on with your life, that’s exactly the right attitude to have, I know it’s not easy at times but you are getting there.

Take care