Really sorry to hear about your friend and understandable that it has made you worry about your own diagnosis, hence sending a gentle hug. As I’m sure you are aware there are many different types of breast cancer, different grades (speed by which the cells grow) and stage (a measure of the how far it has spread).
I am wondering if you might be confusing the grade of breast cancer, with the stage of breast cancer, since you mention your friend was diagnosed with grade 4 bc, when there is no grade 4, but there is stage 4.
The grade is a measure of how slow/fast the bc cells grow, graded 1-3, 1 being slow, 3 fast growing (and 2 in the middle).
The stage is a measure of how much the bc has spread, so factors in size of bc lump, if there was any node involvement, if it was found to have spread from the breast elsewhere. Stage is measured as stage 1 -4:
- stage 1 - early stage,
- stage 2 - slightly more developed but still often referred to as relatively early stage
- stage 3 - locally advanced bc
- stage 4 - the bc has spread to another organ, or organs, or part of the bone/s.
Hence given there is no grade 4 bc, if she had stage 4 bc when diagnosed bc, it would have been quite advanced. You might want to check what stage and grade yours was… if it was grade 2 and stage 2, then your diagnosis was for relatively early stage bc, particularly as compared with anyone diagnosed with stage 4 bc, where it has already spread to some degree.
The earlier bc is found (ie at the earlier stages), the treatment/s tend to be more successful, and chances of recurrence lower. As compared with someone who is diagnosed with stage 4 bc, where the bc has already spread beyond the breast and treatment is generally to try to stop it spreading more, reduce size, or slow the spread down.
I hope that makes sense…do you think you mistook or misheard your friends stage and grade? You might find it helpful to phone one of the nurses at BCN on the telephone number at the top right hand side of the screen and have a chat about your concerns.
Please see links to BCN info explaining the grade and stage (if you want to know a bit more) at the end of this message.
If you want to get more responses your message would probably be seen more if you posted in the being treated for bc section or moving forwards after bc section of the forum.
Really hope the above makes sense and makes you feel a bit less anxious/worried. If I’ve misunderstood anything you’ve said do let me know. Likewise if you think any of us can help any further.
X Seabreeze (grade 2, stage 2, 6 years on and doing ok)
For more info about grade of bc, breastcancernow.org/information-support/facing-breast-cancer/diagnosed-breast-cancer/cancer-grade-size)
For more info about stage of bc, breastcancernow.org/information-support/facing-breast-cancer/diagnosed-breast-cancer/diagnosis/breast-cancer-stages