I know I might ruffle a few feathers but why do people go thru chemo just because doctors say it's part of cancer. I realize there are many of you who absolutely need it but I'm also seeing it being done with women who are stage 1 or 0 or who score low on onco testing. Some are being told right at the time of dx without any further tests being done. It seems so unnecessary for some considering the side affects and long recovery time. I don't mean to anger anyone but does anyone else feel the same?
It was my experience that none of my doctors made any decisions for me. They only gave advice. In the end, it was my decision. I had a score of 28 on the oncotype test. I was told that since I was on the high end of the "gray area", 4 rounds of chemo was protocol. I decided to do the chemo instead of rolling the dice. I guess you could say I was angry about feeling the need to do this when the doctors really didn't know if it was necessary. They said I could "roll the dice" and not do it. I wasn't willing to roll any dice. In the end, we have to accept and be comfortable with our decisions. The next step for me was supposed to be 6 weeks of radiation. I've decided I don't want to do that. I'm now scheduled for a bilateral mastectomy in July. I'm sorry I didn't do this from day one.
I just looked it up again. The parameters are cancer should be stage 1 or 2, estrogen positive and no lymph nodes involved..I have Inflammatory breast cancer, which is always diagnosed at stage 3 or higher and I had 17 cancerous lymph nodes. My husband asked my MO how long I'd have if I did not have chemo, and he said 6 months...I was ready to strangle him, because I didn't want that info...my first question was "will I lose my hair?" Ah priorities..
@A MyBCTeam Member - a bilateral mastectomy is when the breast surgeon takes the breast tissue of both breasts and skin sparing can be done if the their is a desire for reconstruction. Removing both breasts and reconstruction at the same time or later helps to improve a woman's self-image problems. This surgery has approximately a four day hospital stay. It normally takes two to three weeks before the drains are ready to be pulled out.
At the time of mastectomy a procedure called sentinel node biopsy can be done. A radiologist injects a radioactive isotope into the breast tissue that is absorbs by the lymphatic system in the breast to the axillary area. In the OR the breast surgeon will use a giger counter and if the giger counter sounds off it means cancer cells might be present and the lymph nodes are removed and tested by pathology for confirmation. Drains will be placed to help prevent infection from the drainage from the surgery.
There are several ways to do reconstruction. Two that I know of is if reconstruction is done the same time, tissue expanders are placed in pockets created in the chest muscle. Down the road after filling the expanders in sessions with saline to stretch the chest muscle. Later down the road the tissue expanders will be exchanged for breast implants. The other is DIEP flap where the plastic surgeon will use the skin and fat from your abdomen and move it to your chest to create your reconstructed breasts.
Its also important to do your research on your surgeons. The level of their experience in the field will determine your outlook throughout your journey.
My sister had BC 20 years ago and was shocked when I got it. Right from the start she said get and do everything you can, meaning chemo, MX and radiation. She has been in a great support group for the past 20 years and has seen and heard it all. Cancer is deadly. The ways to fight it are rough, sure we have decisions, but getting all info up front is best for the decisions you choose. Having a smart and compassionate Dr at your side is so important for you. This is a scary time for all of us and this site is so informative with loving and caring ladies to help us through. Just don't be afraid of what's out there to help you, be thankful it is there and you have choices. Hugs to you all, this is a great thread, thanks @A MyBCTeam Member!
You so right. Went of Tamoxifen and all related meds after 2.5 years. Couldn't take the hideous side effects any more. Am starting to feel normal again after about 6 months. Focusing on healthy lifestyle. Not fanatically but what suits me. This is my story and I need to be the one writing it. Not some arbitrary doctor who is prescribing meds without really worrying about the long term side effects. Good luck on your journey.