What's going to happen now?

Ok so I’m new to this. my mum was diagnosed about 3 weeks ago, with a tiny lump. She had it, and one of her lymph nodes, removed. The latter just as a precaution. Yesterday, she got her results back and was told what treatment she needed.

The shock was that, while we thought she might have radiotherapy, it turns out the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes. Now I’m getting really worried, because it changes everything. She has to have more surgery, and then maybe chemo, radio and hormone treatments.

Thing is, she says I can talk to her about it, but I really don’t want to worry her, and at the same time, I don’t really know what this means. Will it stop the cancer completely? What are the side effects?

At 17 I have a lot of stress at the moment, and it’d be nice to be able to talk to someone who knows how i’m feeling. I guess that’s it

Rachel x

Hello Rachelf_92

I sorry to hear about your mum, you have come to the right place for support. I’m sure the users of this sight will be along to support you soon.

In the meantime maybe you would like to talk things through with a member of our helpline staff who are there to offer emotional support as well as practical information. The free phone number is 0808 800 600 and the lines are open Monday to Friday 9.00 to 5.00 and Saturday 9.00 to 2.00.

best wishes
June, moderator

Thank you! It’s good to know that there is somewhere to go if I need to. I’m sure I will find it useful :slight_smile:

Hello Rachel

I am in the same situation as you - my mother has a small breast tumour but it has spread to the lymph nodes. Please don’t panic as lymph node involvement is fairly common. What the consultant will likely do is test whether your mother’s cancer is responsive to hormones. If it is your mother may be given hormone pills to take. Depending on her age she may be offered chemotherapy too - in which case there is tons of support here. My mother is having a masectomy next week and will then find out what treatment she will have. Glad you found this site as there is a lot of support and friendship here. You’re not alone in this journey as loads of people are going through it and have been through it all. Take care x

Hi Rachel,
My daughter is the same age as you and we have just gone through this together and infact its made our bond even more special. I didnt mind whatever questions she had because I can assure you, the questions you have in your head, your mum has exactly the same thing going round in hers so perhaps it would help you both to chat?
my daughter shopped with me for wigs and scarves (we had such a laugh) and the day i went in to have my mastectomy she kept saying over and over again "your not just losing a breast your losing cancer as well!)
Try and stay calm and any worries speak to your mum. Its stressful enough at your age so you dont need to take on more than you have too.
Any questions that you have then please come on here, no question is silly and there is ALWAYS somebody who can help.

Thinking of you and your mum and wishing you both the best.


Thank you for your replies. It really is good to know you’re not alone! I will try talking to my mum, I guess at the moment she just needs time to sort things out herself!

Hi Rachel,
It is not unusual to have more than one operation, to remove lumps and lymph nodes. I had three operations within 3 months, the last being a mastectomy. It has also spread to my lymph nodes.
I started my chemo 2 weeks ago, and it really is not as bad as l thought, yes you do feel a bit sick, but they also give you lets of medication to help with sickness and other side effects.

If you don’t find it too uncomfortable please talk to your Mum, l have two grown up sons, and l talk to them all the time, l would hate it if l had to keep things from them. It will not only help you to understand each step she is going through, it will help your Mum, knowing she has you to talk to, rather that worry in case she upsets you.

She is having the chemo and radiotherapy to stop any cancer that MAY have spread, chemo is strong stuff, so l am sure it will kill any little cells that may have spread. And just because it is in the lymph nodes it does not mean it has spread anywhere else.

Until she has the results of the opeation, you will not know for sure if your Mum will have Chemo, so just try and take one stage at a time. Help your Mum through the next operation, and try and talk to her, it doesn’t have to be ‘heavy cancer talk’ just tell her you need to understand everything, but you also do not want to be overwhelmed by it.
Good Luck to your Mum and you take care of yourself and your mum
Sandra xxx

Hi Rachel,
Just a note to agree with what the others have already said. Your Mum will be receiving the best care and advice available from her cancer team. They will guide her through each stage and give her all the information that she will need. They do not hide anything and are very honest with their answers.

Node involvement means that the cancer has spread outside its original place but NOT that it has spead all over everywhere. Tests like scans or xrays may need to be done to confirm that it got as far as a node then that was it …it hadn’t travelled further. Cancer takes a good while to spread so it won’t be rushing around all over the place as we all imagine it to (I’m 47 and thought that was what was happening to me when they said it was in the nodes).
Hope this helps and if you hae any more questions ask your Mum or come here and ask us.
Take care
Sue x

Thank you for all your help! It’s a real relief and it has certainly answered a good deal of questions :slight_smile:

hi like you i found a lump about 6 weeks ago i had it and a few nodes taken away,and it showed cancer in the nodes,as im writing this im due into hospital in a few hours for an op to remove the rest of nodes removed,im sat here tears rolling down my face, im scared, not of the op, but whot comes next, i had convinced myself that all would be fine after the lump was removed,but after saying all this i would just like to say it helps lots to come on here and talk to people who are or have been in same place you are, so a big ty to you all,xxxxxxxxxjuliexxxxx

Hi Julie,
First off welcome!!
Can l suggest you post this in ‘just diagnosed with Breast cancer’ or ‘just had surgery’ a lot of ladies may miss your post, as it is under ‘family, partners and friends’
so if you click on one of the sections in the left hand side, then at the top right hand side there is something about a new post. click that, and do your own thread, you will get more of a response from the ladies!
But in the meantime, my op involved lymph nodes, so l know how frightened you feel, but there is a lot of support here, it is a very emotional time, so let the tears flow, we have all done it, better out than in.
Hope the op goes well for you, we are here when you come back home, so please start your own thread! or join us on ours ‘embarking on a journey’
Big hugs for you
Sandra xxx

Hi Rachel,

My daughter was 17 when I was diagnosed three years ago. I also had lymph node involvement, which scared the hell out of me when I was told. Then I realised that it is actually very common. I have several friends who have had breast cancer in their forties, most with lymph node involvement, and we are all still OK now. You don’t say how old your mum is - I was 44 at diagnosis - but the younger you are (and under 50 is considered young in breast cancer terms) the more treatment you are likely to get, so be prepared for your mum to get everything thrown at her. That is quite normal. If she does get chemo & radiotherapy, it will all take a long time, so be prepared with lots of tea & sympathy (and I’m sure she will appreciate some help around the house!)


Hi RoadRunner,
Sorry it’s taken me a while to get back to you! My mum is 52, so i’m not sure how young that classes her as!

I’m definately ready with the tea and biccies, I’ve had a lot of practice in the last few weeks, while she’s been off work!

The thing I’m most struggling with is the stress. Being 17, as I’m sure you will know, pressure is high, for exams, university applications, and this on top makes things really hard. How did your daughter manage this?

Thanks for all your advice

Rachel x


Make sure your school or college knows what is happening - I wrote a letter to the exam officer at my kids school, to have it officially recorded. The examination boards have discretion to award up to an extra 5% if you don’t do as well in exams as predicted in these circumstances. My daughter did badly in one of her AS exams, while I was going through chemo, the school appealed and she went up a grade.

To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure how my daughter coped. I know some of her friends at school were very caring towards her. At home I tried to make it all business as usual as much as possible. I thought that if I was doing all the things I normally did and the household was functioning normally (ish) then that would stop the children worrying too much. I don’t know if that was the right thing to do, but it was my way of dealing with it.

I think you will just have to try to stay focussed on your exams and uni applications and try not to let everything get on top of you. Easy to say i know. I assume that your school will be helping you with your uni applications, so make sure you make the best use of any help that is offered. And if your parents can’t take you to open days, maybe friends can help out?

I wish you every success

Thank you! Yeah, all my friends have been really good towards me. I think my mum’s doing much the same as you did, making sure everything is as normal as possible.

Thanks for all the advice, I’m sure it’ll be of great use!

Rachel X

i echo the point about making sure exam boards know what you are going through, they do have discretion and are happy to use it if they are given a good reason

Hi Rachel - I hope your mum is feeling OK. The diagnosis and treatment of cancer is so horrid.

My children are 11 and 8 - but in reality you are young enough to be my daughter!

I thought you might like to read my blog - a number of people who have been diagnosed with cancer have found it reassuring - whether for themselves or their relatives - so you might want to have a look?


BW - Px