It's normal to do a 'sentinal node biopsy' which is to check the 3 or 4 lymph nodes the breast drains into first. I got an injection into the breast (didn't hurt!) and also some blue dye, both of which help to detect the right lymph nodes. These get removed at the same time as the operation on the breast. If they are negative, then there's no worry over the other lymph nodes. If there is only one positive, then they might offer you a trial. If there are more than one positive, they usually go for a full clearance, which means a further operation to remove all the lymph nodes in the armpit.
Can I reccomend a book 'The Complete Guide to Breast Cancer' by Liz O'Riordan and Trish Greenhalgh. They are both doctors who have had breast cancer. It's easy to read, and goes through just about everything you could want to know
I was initially diagnosed grade 2 after biopsy, which was later upgraded to grade 3 after the lump was removed an analyzed. Sometimes tumors are downgraded,
Hi Snowey, I'm sorry you and your family are having to go through this but I see Ann has given you some great advice and it will all become clearer honestly. Once you fully understand what all the different types, stages, and grades mean it will become a little less scary.
I see you have posted in our ask the nurses section, they won't be around over the weekend so I will try and explain about the HER2 test results your mum is waiting on.
There are so many different types of Breast cancer, some are fed by oestrogen and Progesterone, some by the HER2 protein and some are negative in all three. It's important they find out which type your mums is so they can give her the correct treatment.
HER2 positive BC tends to be more aggressive and your mum would be given Herceptin as well as Chemo as this a targeted treatment to block the growth of the HER2 protein. It works very well and we have many ladies here with this type of breast cancer who you can talk if your mum is to have this treatment.
Whatever the outcome of your mums tests they will put in place the best plan of action for her going forward and she will be very well looked after. It's all this uncertainty which is the hardest but it's important they know exactly what is going on so they can treat it correctly, it's not a one size fits all kind of cancer and can vary enormously, for example they wouldn't give Herceptin to someone with HER2 negative cancer as it would be of no help to them at all.
I hope this makes some some sort of sence and please feel free to ask anything else Xx Jo