Recurrence during treatment?

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in june. A large tumour in my left breast and a smaller tumour in my right. I’ve had chemo and surgery 4th January. After surgery I’ve been having antibodies and recently had a ct scan because apparently I’m high risk for recurrence. I recieved my ct results on Tuesday, all clear. But I checked my breast that evening and found a hard lump (right breast). I contacted my breast cancer nurse and she and my surgeon have said it is related to the lumpectomy I had on that side. I keep telling myself that, surely a tumour would of been picked up on the ct. But I’ve asked to be checked because I’m scared to leave it. I wish I could just relax again and I’m sure the clinic are fed up with me now. Can recurrence happen during treatment?

Hi Amy

I’m so sorry that anxiety is still haunting you. I think your final question would be better asked in the Ask Our Nurses section as you only get opinions here.

My opinion is that I think it would be unlikely that your consultant (with fingers trained to pick up the tiniest discrepancy) and a CT scan, in addition to the adjuvant therapies and surgery, would overlook any breast cancer lump. I know from my fibroadenoma surgery decades ago that surgery can leave hardened tissue but, given your anxiety, you are right to ask to have it examined again. I am certain no-one in your team would be fed up with you - there are many women who need extra reassurance and your MDT will provide it - so don’t get all apologetic with them.

Will you be having radiotherapy next? My oncologist maintains that is the definitive treatment of the lot, so that may help. Plus you will have endocrine therapy for at least 5 years.

Hearing you are “high risk” doesn’t help does it? I have kept that term safely in a box in my head for almost 2 years and felt I was managing my cancer-anxiety very well. Then this week, an eye doctor called in the consultant and I heard “breast cancer” and “high risk” uttered and all my hard work is undone. So I do understand how you’re feeling. My common sense needs to kick in again but it’s a struggle until they do the biopsy on my eyelid and I get the results. I wasn’t remotely bothered until that thoughtless doctor revived the trauma. I think my point is that you are going to have to work hard to manage your cancer-anxiety or every day will be a cancer day, even though you are cancer-free. That isn’t how you’d want it to be, I’m sure. There are apps like Calm and Headspace that the NHS use; there’s free online counselling through charities like Breast Cancer Haven and Maggie’s; there are countless videos on YouTube to help you manage your symptoms and fears; you can learn mindfulness through a brilliant free online course run by MONASH university through FutureLearn. Persist and I promise it will get easier.

Now I need to practise what I preach and turn to my favourite YouTube video!

All the best, Jan x

Hello Amy!

I don’t know the answer to your question (although I would think recurrence during treatment would be doubtful). I’m writing to check you are now ok? I hope so.

S xxx