Negative results after lymph node clearance

Hi,

I had my pathology results yesterday from my node clearance and unfortunately 8/22 were still infected with cancer after having had chemo. The surgeon said they were the nodes nearer the breast and those further away were clear, which he said was positive. I feel so angry after enduring chemo for 18 weeks that I still had infected nodes. I was quite devastated to be honest, although I have coped throughout this ordeal I am struggling with this.I am due to start rads shortly and guess I will need to have rads under the arm too, which I know carries increased risk of lymphodemia and that risk will be weighed against the risk of spread.  Has anyone been in this position position and able to tell me what they asked and did? I only found out yesterday and guess It is all a little raw and I know I need time to get my head around it. I didn’t really ask any questions yesterday, other than about the treatment going forward. I will have questions to ask when I see him next in the meantime I would appreciate any advice. 

Thank you. XX

So sorry that you are going through this. I had all mine excised with the WLE so can’t advise you, but am sending a huge hug. Someone will be along shortly, I’m sure. ?

Hello - feeling your anger and frustration.  I had 2 out of 3 nodes affected in SNB, then had all the chemo, then had full ANC in April where they removed a further 2 nodes with live tumours (one at level 2) and a 5mm live tumour in the surrounding axillary tissue.  Welcome to Stage 3 I thought.  My Onc then said that lymph node tumours don’t respond that well to chemo especially for hormone positive patients like me.  Grrrrr.  Makes you lose faith in the treatments a bit, doesn’t it?  Just started radio today - 15 treatments and they are doing the lymph nodes around my collarbone as well as the breast area. On the nodes they irradiate from the point where the ANC ended (there’s a marker clip) upwards.  I think after that they’ve finally run out of things to do to me!  But I have asked for a CT scan in August/September (a year after diagnosis) just to double-check it hasn’t spread any further in the last 12 months. Somehow we have to learn to live with this being part of us always and just hope it can be kept at bay with hormone treatment for a very, very long time.  Xxx

Hi WMJ,
I’m sorry that I can’t offer you any advice, but just to let you know, you are not alone. I am facing a similar scenario to you. I’ve had 7x EC-T neo-adjuvant and my lump has only shrunk 30% on final MRI and my 3 abnormal looking lymph nodes (on MRI at diagnosis, biopsy on one at the time was positive) are still abnormal looking on final MRI last week. I’m due surgery in a couple of weeks and I asked my onc what it meant for my prognosis if the pathology report is the same as the MRI. She was very non committal and said we’d discuss it once we have the pathology report. Maybe you can contact your onc or bcn now you’ve got your head around the results a little?
I hope you get some answers.
X