Whirlwind - feeling very scared, surgery on Monday.

Hi, I was diagnosed with Stage 1, Grade 2 IDC ER8, PR8, Her-2 Neg  breast cancer two weeks ago, I had two lumps, one was 4cm and the other was under 1 cm. They did a biopsy under the arm as they saw something that didn’t look suspicious but wanted to check, this came back clear. 

I was then sent for an MRI as my breasts are dense and due to my age they wanted to get a better view to decide on a lumpectomy v’s mastectomy, this identified another 1cm lump, the same cancer. 

I now have surgery to have a mastectomy on Monday, they will also remove two lymph nodes, I am so scared that they will find cancer in my lymph nodes and that it has spread to my body. It is giving me so much anxiety, I have a young child and so scared. 

Does anyone know if any lymph node problems would have come up on the MRI?

Has anyone been in a similar situation. 

Thanks x

Hello @Reshma  , I am so sorry you have found yourself in this position. When I was diagnosed it took a long time to get my diagnosis right because of my dense breast. My case went to MDT four times before I had a definite plan. It was frustrating and difficult but as my nurse said, they wanted to make sure they got the treatment right for me.

 We initially thought I had a 2.5cm HER2+ and a small area 4cm of DCIS. Initially no DCIS was spotted. Then one of my lymph nodes looked suspicious and I was sure it had spread.

I had a mastectomy and it turned out I had 1.2cm HER2+ and an area of 16cm of DCIS! completely different to what we thought from the scan. They removed three lymph nodes and they were all clear. My dr said that having a cold or infection can make them enlarged and look suspicious. I guess they do not know for definite until the pathology results come back. Even if there is evidence of it in your lymph nodes, my friend, who is a Dr, told me that they are like the bouncers whose job it is to stop it. If it is in your lymph nodes, it does not necessary mean it will have spread anywhere else. Your team will adjust your treatment according to what they find and their are advancements in the treatment all the time.  

I have a young son too and I was absolutely terrified. I could not sleep or eat and cried all the time. Your breast nurse will be a good person to talk to, I have found this site invaluable and I also asked to be referred to a psychologist and holistic centre to help me cope. I just tried to use all the help available.

I am sending you lots of love, strength and support at this difficult time. Xxx

Hi @Reshma ,

Regarding the question you had about lymph nodes & the breast MRI. I raised this question myself as I too had an MRI due to density of my breast tissue. At the time I was advised that the MRI doesn’t cover the lymph nodes, just the breast tissue. As they are going to remove some lymph nodes this would be for the sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB). When I was initially diagnosed, my lymph nodes were clear on the ultrasound, but was advised that it’s the SLNB that would be used to establish if they are affected - as I asked why that was required if the ultrasound was clear (ultrasound not a definitive diagnostic tool).

I had the same procedure (Mastectomy + SLNB) done just over 2 weeks ago and am due to get pathology results next week. I’m learning to take things a day at a time, focusing on the now while recovering, as much as possible. 

Sending you a virtual hug and hoping all goes well for you next Monday. Xx

Lymph node problems would have come up and it is an excellent sign that they didn’t. However, unfortunately it’s not definitive and we all go through the horrible wait after our surgery to confirm the pathology. There’s just no way to say for certain until after they are removed and looked at.

However, I do want to repeat that if by some odd chance you do have it in your lymph nodes that it’s not the definitive of anything. Treatment is a great equalizer. You may have to have a little more to get the best possible prognosis but with such strongly hormone positive tumors you are going to have an excellent response to endocrine therapy which is the big guns in treatment anyway. Lymph node involvement is super common. It’s nothing anyone hasn’t seen before so don’t panic if you have some. However, the fact that none of your scans have detected it is a promising thing. My scans said I was negative and I was despite having a grade 3 32mm tumor. 

Hi @Reshma  

Re lymph nodes my biopsy was clear, but In surgery they removed 3 and 1 was positive. Oncologist has said I have to have axiliary surgery and depending in that will then determine the treatment plan. It really knocked me back when I found this out and am very anxious about the finding any more that are positive.

Sending hugs to you it’s all so scary