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my DM has just had a breast cancer dx. I'd like advice on what to expect.

(11 Posts)
mamateur Tue 07-May-13 15:33:50

My DM has just been diagnosed with breast cancer. Grade 3 which I understand is the most aggressive one. They think it has not yet spread to the lymph nodes which is great. She is going to have a lumpectomy and radiotherapy.

I've started to research online but I don't know what stage she is. I asked her but she said the doctor didn't give her a stage number. Is that right? I'm a bit concerned she is just trying not to worry me.

LIZS Tue 07-May-13 15:41:25

I'm not sure my dm knows what stage hers is . She's had the lumpectomy and is awaiting the radio appointments now. She felt sore after the op, which was a day surgery under a GA, but it has healed well .

mamateur Tue 07-May-13 18:44:16

Thanks Lizs, hope you're DM continues to make a good recovery smile. I suppose it's just quite shocking when you get that dx.

LIZS Tue 07-May-13 19:17:53

Thank you. Very unexpected , no symptoms. Everyone seems very positive about the outcome though so she is being buoyed along.

ohmeohmyforgotlogin Tue 07-May-13 19:21:40

Best place for info is the information prescription service, google it, all major cancer charities have their info there and an search down o individual drugs. ComplementAry therapies can also be helpful especially auricular acupuncture.

BistoBear Tue 07-May-13 19:32:06

My mum was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, two lumps were discovered during a routine mammogram. She had an operation to remove the lumps and the lymph nodes, she was only in for the one day and only had slight pain for a couple of weeks after. Thankfully, the cancer hadn't spread so she "only" had to go through 15 sessions of radiotherapy over three weeks. It was a massive relief to hear the words "you are cancer free".

She's had lots of follow-up appointments which has reassured her greatly. She was given the option to have the full breast removed rather than just the lumps but she opted for the lumpectomy. Her reason for this is that she will have annual mammograms for ten years so she felt assured that if the cancer did come back it would be found and then she would have a mastectomy if necessary.

My mum was given lots of support from McMillan Nurses. If your Mum is near a Maggie's centre I would definitely recommend using them, they are a fantastic resource. I am a student nurse and have spent a day in a Maggie's centre and I was blown away by how much support they give.

It is a rollercoaster and I think everyone is filled with dread when they hear the word cancer but there is lots of support available should you feel you or your Mum need it. brew

KurriKurri Tue 07-May-13 19:33:18

Hi mamteur - I had grade 3 BC five years ago, mine had spread to my lymph nodes. I had mastectomy, lymph node clearance, radiotherapy, herceptin and am currently on tamoxifen.

what treatment your mum has will depend on the stage of her cancer and whether it has spread to nodes (it's good that they think not - that means she will probably avoid chemo and that her 'stage' number will be lower) and also on what type of cancer she has (i.e. if it is a hormonal type, and receptive to herceptin or tamoxifen treatment)

It is a shocking DX and your mum is probably feeling scared but as you say not wanting to scare or worry you. The early days when you are waiting to find out exactly what is going on are the most anxious IME. Once your mum has a treatment plan she (and you) will feel as if it's being dealt with.

My advice for what its worth is for her to have someone go to apointments with her if possible (it's hard to take everything in on your own) and to write down anything she wants to ask as she thinks of it, and take a list in with her - so she gets the most out of her consultant appointments and gets all her questions addressed.

If you've got any question you think I might be able to help with - please do ask, I'm happy to answer as best I can on any aspect of treatment, surgery etc.

Also - I am a regular on the Tamoxifen thread here on general health - lots of ladies there with lots of experience - they'd be more than happy to answer any questions you or your mum may have - just dive in with any queries, you'll be made very welcome smile

headlesslambrini Tue 07-May-13 19:33:33

Have just been through this with my aunt. she had a mamograph which showed something. she then had a needle biospy which confirmed cancer. she then had a lumpetomy. not in lymp nodes which is good. her prognosis is excellent. she has to go on friday for radiotherpy appt and she will need 15sessions followed by 5 years of tablets. hers was a hormonal stage 3 cancer. scar healing really well but she was sore after the op and still is but getting much better. i made her a cushion shaped like a.kidney dish to go under her arm and she said this helped a lot. my thoughs was that under the arm would be sweaty and unable to use de-orderant so would need as much air flow under her arm and this would still support her arm. sorry about spelling etc as on phone

KurriKurri Tue 07-May-13 19:35:23

Oh - meant to say - you Mum's breast care nurse is a good source of support and information for her - she can ring her nurse and talk to her any time she needs to.

BistoBear Tue 07-May-13 19:37:41

Sorry, I should've said more about the radiotherapy! The only symptoms my Mum had was slight redness with sunburn-like pain followed by peeling skin. She also has no hair in her underarm now! She also suffered with quite severe pain about 2-3 months after the radiotherapy which panicked us all but this is entirely normal.

Her radiotherapy didn't commence until about 6 weeks after the operation to allow some time to heal. My Mum's scars are minimal, the wounds healed very well. The bruising after the operation was horrific! She was given exercises to do everyday which were difficult to begin with but became easier over time.

If I think of anything else that might be helpful I'll post again.

mamateur Wed 08-May-13 13:37:26

BistoBear thanks for that info, your DM's case sounds similar to my DM who is also going to have lumpectomy, radiotherapy and then will take a tablet every day (not sure what, will have to check that). Thanks too for the info on radiotherapy, great news about the underarm hair! I will make sure she's prepared for the pain.

headless Thanks for your post. I'm not sure about the hormonal thing, I think we'll find out more then they've done the op.

Thanks KurriKurri You're quite right, this is a tricky time waiting for test results etc. Mum says she feels a lot better now the plan is becoming clearer. She's having her op in a couple of weeks and they are still going on their planned holiday next month and she's starting radiotherapy when she gets back. DF is going on all her appointment. I'm actually more worried about him as they are joined at the hip and he has been dreading something like this happening to one of them. Wishing you all the best with your recovery.

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