Waiting for biopsy results - have I got a recurrence?

I’d really appreciate some tips on getting thru til next Tuesday. I’m 49, I was initially diagnosed with bc 1 yr ago. There followed a slightly protracted and complicated diagnosis, leading to a bi-lat mx at the end of Jan 11. IDC and ILC, grade 3, no lymph node involvement. Since then had EC Docetaxol x 6 and 15 x rads. Completed early Sep.
On Tues I went for my first check up with the original surgeon. I told him about a tender area under my arm, I was given an ultrasound scan and they found “something” they aren’t sure what, but have done a biopsy. I am convinced it will be a secondary. So is my partner. It seems pointless to look on the bright side, as I’ll only be disappointed. During my original diagnostic process it seemed like every test I had turned up further occurrences of cancer in my breasts - seems impossible it won’t have spread. And yet, and yet, the lymph nodes were clear.
How do I regain my optimism? I have only shared this new scare with partner, close friend and line manager. Everyone else I see says, “Wow, you look great, back at work? Great, onwards and upwards!” If only they knew, but I smile and say, “Yeah, good to be getting back to normal”.
Sorry, this is a bit of a moan, isn’t it?! I better get some sleep!

Hi ninanne

I probably can’t reassure you as I have had a recurrence but what I did want to say is that any new lump in the breast or auxilla isn’t secondaries even if was cancer. It would normally mean stage 2 disease. Secondaries are when cancer travels to another part of the body.

Two years ago at the end of Chemo I found a new lump and was told to prepare for the worst I went through every conceivable scenario in my head none of them particularlt good but when I got my results it wasn’t more cancer it was fat necrosis… Forward 18 months and I dd have a recurrence but t didnt actually affect me so much as I thnk id faced all my demons already. I had surgery to remove the lumps and had a level two node clearance and started Chemo 2 weeks ago… Onwards and upwards.

Fingers crossed your is nothing to worry about but I’m here if you wanna chat.

Lulu xxxx

Hi Lulu,
Thanks for your reply, I really appreciate it. Thanks too for clarifying the difference between recurrence and secondaries. I’m so sorry you’ve had a recurrence, I hope you cope ok with the chemo, that it doesn’t make you too poorly. Did you have chemo the first time round?
I’ve managed to pass today very pleasantly with a good friend, and have a busy day planned for tomorrow. I think that’s the way to go and now only 3 and a half days to go to results!

This is actually my 3rd time with bc the firt was a less aggressive cancer and didnt need chemo tnen i got a new primary 2 yrs ago was treated with surgery chemo and rads and this recurrence of that tumour.

I have a gene mutation so thats why iv had BC so much.

Good luck on monday


Hi Guys i was diagnosed nov 2010 and have had op, chemo and rads. Found lump 3 weeks ago turned outto be an oily cyst. Think I will always be paranoid but i live life for everyday! x

Thanks for your posts. Alimbutt; it’s nice to hear it can go that way, fingers crossed mine will be the same. Lulu; I’m sorry you’ve had such bad luck with this bloody disease. I hope all goes well for you hereon in. I feel calmer and more positive than I did, tho my partner is the opposite! Con’t wait til Tuesday afternoon tho.

At my oncology appointment last week, my oncologist said she could feel one of the lymph nodes in my armpit and has referred me back to breast services for an assessment. Like you, I have an appointment on Tuesday. I was diagnosed just over two years ago and had a lumpectomy and SNB, followed by rads. No node involvement. The worry is just awful, again.

Good luck with your results. I’ll be thinking of you.

Ann xxx


Just wanting to wish you good luck with your results tomorrow… I really hope it’s good news.

Ann also thinking of you and hoping your appt goes well.

Fingers crossed for you both.

Lulu x

Things didn’t go well today. I was there all afternoon. I saw one doctor who examined me, then had an ultrasound scan and fine needle aspiration and then saw the doctor again. They said there is a cluster of abnormal-looking cells. They won’t commit themselves until they get the pathology report, probably Thursday, but it didn’t sound good. They want me to have a CT scan of my torso and some blood tests.

I just can’t believe it. The doctor agreed that, on paper, I was low risk for a recurrence. She said they need to find out the reason for the abnormal cells and, if cancerous, where they have originated.

I have asked for my BCN to ring through the results on Thursday afternoon, when they have them. I don’t know when the CT scan will be.

Feeling really fed up. After two years, I was just starting to move on.

Ninianne I hope your results were good.

Ann xxx

Big hugs ann it’s so crap when you get news like that… Just hoping it turns out not to be malignant but the waiting and worrying is so stressful… Will the results be available this Thursday? That’s quick so they aren’t making you wait too long.

Ninianne any news?

Thanks, Lulu. The FNA results will be through on Thursday. I have to wait for the CT appt and go back for both sets of results, but my BCN will ring me Thursday. I would like to find out asap, one way or the other.

I just can’t believe it. I keep thinking there must be some other explanation - the problem is, that could be even worse!

Ann x

hi ninianne,
i am pretty new to the site i was dx last sept i do have ibc, had chemo first then mx the rads after on herceptin since dec 2010, but had a reccurnce in sept four nodules which were cancer cells, i had them removed, now cancer free at the moment, but still have three lots of herceptin to finish, but now its been stopped because of my heart, it just never bloddy ends you are not on your own hope good news for you for biospy results x

hi ninianne forgot to mention they decidid that the cells were left from my original dx bak last yeat.

The FNA showed abnormal cells but not definitely cancer (as opposed to definitely not cancer!). Anyway, I took encouragement from that. They still want me to have the CT scan (still awaiting appt), to try and find out what is going on.

Ninianne - I hope your results were good.

Ann x

After the CT scan, bone scan and core biopsy of the nodes, I received my results last week. They said the nodes do contain cancer. I could not understand how this had happened and no-one offered me an explanation. I had a clear SNB and good prognosis after WLE and rads. I took Letrozole and cannot understand why this did not work. I forgot to ask the grade but the cells are still strongly ER+. They are not removing the nodes because some are too deep and they also found a couple of ‘suspicious’ areas in my bones. I am to be given bisphosphonates and am also being put on Tamoxifen.

What did I do wrong? As puddin said elsewhere, the whole thing is a lottery!

Ann xx

Dearest Ann

Just wanted to say how sorry I am that you are going trough this again and maybe shed some light on your questions “what did I do wrong”…which of course is “nothing”, and “earlier question how do I move on?”

This whole cancer thing is so unpredictable: I had a Stage 1, Grade 1 multi focal cancer and was given only a 6% chance of recurrence when I was 45. I was getting on with my life when by chance they found that I had a multiple recurrence in the skin of my reconstruction (which was removed) and then a chest wall recurrence in May 2010. I have been told by the Marsden it is quite likely to recur again and to be vigilant!! (Ha!) My sister had a much more aggressive cancer at the same time and is fine…

I’m afraid once you’ve had a recurrence, your life does take on a new focus, but somehow - and it does take time…you learn to accept it. So now, every new ache or pain gets put in my diary and after 6 weeks if I’m still suffering or it’s got worst I go off for a scan. It’s a crazy thing, but somehow, over time my brain has got used to this routine and I am prepared for the worst. I have so many aches and pains that I’m more shocked when they say it’s clear than if I was told it has spread…

No one can take away the anxiety you are feeling, however perhaps reading the forums of Stage 4 survivors here and abroad will give you a different perspective? These ladies are alive, kicking and fighting. These days even if you have a spread, medical science can help you control this disease and every day bring new breakthroughs.

I am sending you all my love and empathy at this scary, shocking time…

N x

Ann really sorry to hear about your biopsy and scan results… You didn’t do anything wrong sweetie… It is just really down to unlucky chance.

I too was told I had a really good prognosis something like a 97% survival, but then I got another cancer and then a recurrence in my chest nodes.

I had clear SNBs on both sides after both tumours and didn’t even know I had nodes in my chest, had an ANC and node chest node removal in sept but the ANC was clear… So the cancer cells just took a different route… 1 in 1000 chance… But I guess somebody has to be that 1 in 1000 and just happens to be me.

Like nik I have faced my demons and not afraid of what’s around the corner and will just have to face it if or when the time comes.

Sending love and hugs
Love Lulu xxx

Thanks, ladies. I am gradually coming to terms with it. To be honest, over Christmas, I had feared even worse results. On the plus side, my organs and blood tests appear to be ok.

Ann x

lulu - how do they check the nodes in the chest area, is this different to doing SNB then.



When they do the SNB if those are your sentinel nodes they should bleep and go blue… The surgeon can try and have a feel of them and if enlarged they could be removed… My sentinel nodes were in my auxilla not interpectoral… They used to remove these nodes during radical mastectomy but stopped doing radicals as there was so few cases involving chest wall and my surgeon had actually written a paper on IPLNs and found that he would have to remove almost 1000 normal ones to get an abnormal one, which is extremely invasive for those 1000 people… Its not been routinely don’t for about 20 years.

If your having CT or MRI scan then sometimes they will show up on that you notice any lumps or bumpsin the chest area do get it checked… Mine was picked up on annual breast MRI i get a gene carrier and had noticed the area getting more lumpy for a wee while.

Lulu x