I was diagnosed with HER2+ breast cancer in March 2017. I also had an area of high risk DCIS in the same breast. It was decided to have chemo (EC x3 followed by Docetaxol x4 with Herceptin and Pertzumab). After the 3 EC chemo I had an ultra sound and there was very little change in the lump size and it was thought there may be another smaller lump appeared - as well as being able to feel the lump still myself, the skin had puckered and I could see quite clearly the change in my breast. However, once on the Docetaxol regime I could feel a difference straight away - the treatment was tough but doable and when I had the mx in September 2019 - the pathology report stated all signs of cancer were gone - the chemo and targetted therapies had done their job and I was cancer free....! I'll never, ever forget that day - I almost kissed my surgeon when he gave me that news!! It was considered belt and braces to also have radiotherapy - to my chest wall and the area of my collar bone. I survived 15 sessions and then continued with Herceptin injections every 3 weeks until June 2018. So here I am today - not quite the person I was before but a different, stronger person. Early April, I had my yearly mammogram on my single breast and today I received the excellent news that I'm still all clear! I hope my story helps you to feel reassured - never give up hope and keep positive - two really good pieces of advice! Good luck and keep smiling.... x
I was diagnosed with an HER+ and Oestrogen+ Tumour in January, around 4cm. I had one round of docetaxel, herceptin and pertuzamab, and felt I could feel the difference in size after this. However mine is close to the surface so I could find it easily. I then couldn’t have the next chemos due to other complications, but continued to have the targeted therapies. After the 3rd cycle I had the second ultrasound and they found it almost impossible to find the tumour- they guessed at 2x1cm based on where they had placed a titanium clip during biopsy. I don’t prod anymore...
Hi Phet and everyone Know just what you mean worrying whether chemo will reduce the tumour size. I too am on chemo with an aim to shrinking prior to surgery. Honestly I daren't feel the lump, so badly want to but only had one cycle so far - have been told i will be scanned after three cycles to assess, then decision how we proceed. I'm just trying to be positive, just got to believe in the treatment. Do your best to believe, we all need this to work. Stay strong. My thoughts are with you. Alice
My tumour was midline, so it went through the nipple, into the surrounding tissue.
I had the Peu d orange around my nipple, oncologist assumed the area was inflamed.
It was the 2nd ultra sound scan I had after Chemo 3 of EC, that confirmed the tissue was clear and not inflammatory.
The first couple of letters from oncology to my GP, had IBC as my diagnosis. I felt much better when they changed it to IDC, with DCIS.
I also had chemo before surgery (as triple positive so different diagnosis to yourself). My treatment was FECT (3 of each). I had mammo and ultrasound midway (to check on the progress) and at the end. You state in your original post that your "hospital does not do midway scans". If this is the case then perhaps you need to question this as maybe there is a good reason for this in your particular case. However, it would seem very beneficial for you and help to put your mind (and fingers!) at rest.
My understanding is that one of the benefits of chemo beforehand is that it can be ascertained whether chemo is working. A midway check can show whether a tumour is responding or not. If evidence of response then chemo usually continues and if little evidence or no response or evidence of growth then treatment may be stopped and surgery undertaken.
By the way, I did not try and feel for mine during chemo etc.- I had enough in my head to be worrying about!! However the midway scans ( not sure if they were after the 3 FEC or 3 FEC and one T) gave me some reassurance as shrinkage was reported and hence chemo continued. At surgery, it was found that there was a complete pathological response with no active cancer apparent.
Regards to you and I wish you all the best,
Thank you both for the reassurance. My BCN told me there was no point prodding as I wouldn't be able to tell necessarily what was happening but it seems I can't resist! I just want to be able to tell something is happening so all the rubbish of chemo feels worth it. I've read that those who have neoadjuvant chemo struggle a bit more psychologically because we have to wait longer before surgery takes the b*gger out, and I'm feeling that right now.
Monicanatura, your situation sounds very similar. If you don't mind me asking, how did they decide it was not inflammatory? I'm also struggling a bit with the uncertainty over my diagnosis, and I keep looking at the redness and trying to decide if it's shrinking (I know, I shouldn't!) Mine was readiagnosed as non-inflammatory after a single punch biopsy came back clear, but I'm still concerned about what would have caused the redness and warmth over the tumor site.
I guess I'm just struggling a bit with staying positive at the moment! Thanks for all your thoughts
I was Diagnosed last May 18 with IDC. ER+ PR+ HER-. Oncologist previously diagnosed Inflammatory BC, then re Diagnosed IDC with DCIS. I prodded my tumour, mine was 9cm, it was midline in a line. I could not feel any difference through Chemo, however the oncologist could, notice a difference in size.
I had scans mid chemo, which always showed partial response to chemo, however again clinically onco felt a difference.
I suggest don’t keep prodding it, let the chemo do it’s job, if you have concerns, chat with your BCN.
I had a mastectomy, which removed the rest of whatever was left behind.
Take care of yourself.
I don't think my tumour had started to shrink much when I was at your stage, which was probably why I didn't have a scan until after starting Taxol. At that point it had shrunk from 21mm to 9 mm but by the time I had surgery I'd had a complete pathological response. I don't think it occurred to me to poke at it and I certainly wouldn't if it's making you worried.
I was diagnosed two months ago with ER+ PR+ HER2- IDC, with a tumour roughly 5x5cms. I’m having chemo before surgery, partly bc they initially diagnosed me as inflammatory breast cancer (but then rediagnosed me as non-Inflammatory) and partly to shrink the tumour.
I’m 2 weeks after my second EC cycle and I’m becoming increasingly worried my tumour isn’t shrinking. I keep reading about all these ladies whose tumours were palpably smaller after just one cycle, and mine looks and feels the same. Sometimes I feel it and think maybe it’s getting softer but then I think I’m kidding myself. I have my next EC in a week, and then have 3 cycles of Docetaxol.
I guess I’m looking for some reassurance or even just tips on how to stop worrying about it! Are there people whose tumour took a while to shrink on chemo? Is there any point me constantly poking at it? Is it true that ER positive cancer is less likely to shrink? My hospital doesn’t do mid-chemo scans but I’m thinking of asking for an ultrasound so at least I have a sense of what is happening.
One complicating factor is that I’m also on Zoladex to suppress my ovaries to try to preserve my fertility. Given my HR positive status, I was hoping this might also be working alongside the tumour to shrink it. Anyone have experience with this?
Thanks for getting to the end of this post!