What to expect

I have an appointment next week to get the results of core biopsies on a lymph node and a small lump. From the mammgram and ultrasound, the dr has told me I have a ‘suspicious’ lump, that the ‘team’, including the oncologist, will meet before my appointment and have my ‘plan’ ready for me.Alhough it feels like I should be preparing myself for bad news from the Dr’s reaction,  I understand that I cannot assume that I have cancer until it is confirmed, but I would like to know what is likely to happen if the results show that I do.

Is it likely that there will be further tests? eg Will they know from the biopsies if the cancer has spread anywhere else?

If I need surgery, how soon is that likely to happen?

Is it possible to give any idea of how long it will be before I recover from treatment -  I assume that is a stupid question and it will depend on type/extent of cancer and treatments, but any ideas would be welcome.


Thank you

Hi MAC66

Firstly welcome to the forums, I’m sure the other users will be a long soon to offer you their knowledge and support. 

In the meantime you might find it helpful to contact the BCC helpline on 0808 800 6000.  Here you can talk through your thoughts and concerns with a member of staff who will offer you a listening ear as well as emotional support and practical information.  Lines are open weekdays 9 to 5pm and Saturday 10 to 2pm.

Best wishes Sam, BCC Facilitator 

What usually happens is that the team will meet on the morning of your appointment and will have a plan ready for you. If you are to have surgery there are usually some further tests. For me this was having a liver scan, bloods taken, chest X-ray and an MRI scan. The latter might not happen for you as in my case they weren’t getting a good sight of the tumour on ultrasound or mammogram. The chest, liver and bone are to see if there is any spread. My surgery, a lumpectomy, was about four weeks after the results of the biopsies. But you may be quicker because having the ultrasound held me up a week or so. It is very difficult to predict how long recovery time will be. Recovery for the lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy was for me about a week but I was out and about but not driving at once. I was treated as a day patient. For a mastectomy it will be longer. Some women have chemotherapy but I didn’t. That can have side effects which you can read about on the leaflets on this site. I had radiotherapy which went a visit to hospital daily on weekdays for three weeks. Everyone told me I’d be very tired but I wasn’t. So it’s not been too bad for me and I’m now an older woman! I hope your outcome is good and you don’t need treatment but understanding what’s happening is helpful. I only found this site later on. Ask any more questions you like.

Hi MAC66

I knew for sure that I had bc before my planning meeting, I guess perhaps my hosp does the results reporting differently to yours. I also knew that I’d have to have “the works” - surgery, chemo, radiotherapy, hormone therapy (not everyone does though). So one of the first things I asked was “how long will it all take?” and I was told 7 or 8 months. That sounded like a very long time, but 5 of those months have passed already, and I am now looking forward to the end of chemo very soon, and then 3 weeks of rads. This would be the end of “active” treatment, and then you go back to living your life and the hormone therapy goes on for 5-10 years. I’m afraid it all sounds very daunting and never ending, but if it does turn out that you need treatment, you are definately in the right place on this forum. I would never have got through without the ladies on here, they have been a great source of info and support - they understand when no-one else can. If you do need chemo please remember that it is generally not the horror we all imagine - we all find it is “do-able” - I’ll not pretend its a picnic, as everyone is different but every side effect can be managed and minimised and the teams looking after us are generally blooming brilliant at easing our way. The best thing I did was join the chemo monthly thread on this forum, which lets you chat to ladies going through treatment at the same time. Remember, no matter what the news is for you, if you need us there will always be folks on here who are happy to answer your questions and be there for you. Good luck xxx