Talk to me about breast cancer!

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  • Talk to me about breast cancer!
  • Bagstard
    Member

    My mother in law has just been diagnosed with breast cancer, so I guess tough times are ahead, pretty sure it is type 3, so not good.

    Does anyone have any experience of this, what to expect? My wife is obviously distraught and I would like to be able to tell tales of things going well, but I would appreciate any information good or bad from the horses mouth.

    er my mum died of it when I was a 19 ! still 22yrs later I’m not over it !

    I dont know you but massive manhugs go to you and your family be strong and all that jazz…

    But there are good endings…

    sharkbait
    Member

    Only thing I can offer is that a mum at school was diagnosed about 24 months ago and after much treatment and a fairly crappy time it seems she’s now clear, so it can be beaten.
    But I also know someone who was diagnosed with it and lost her battle on Xmas day after a fight of about 3-4 years.

    Bagstard
    Member

    thanks geezer, in your shoes I wouldn’t be over it either.It is still sinking in to be honest.

    AndyP
    Member

    Sorry to hear this. I haven’t worked in BC for nearly 10 years so I’m probably out of the loop quite a bit now. Surgery for sure, plus they’ll check/excise the lymph nodes in the surrounding area to check for spread.
    ‘type 3’ doesn’t mean much – I guess the FNA suggests ‘Grade 3’ which determines the type of cell. Post-surgery/scans they will give you another number – the ‘stage’ (size, plus is it confined or has it started to spread). This will help decide the next stage of care – radio/chemo/medication and so on.

    MacMillan Nurses are just angels and will help you massively. For more info about what’s what and what to expect, get on this website http://www.macmillan.org.uk/Cancerinformation/Cancertypes/Breast/Breastcancer.aspx
    all the very best. stay strong for her.

    sorry didn’t want to be to harsh on your thread…its all about how they catch it and how aggressive etc has it spread etc. I also know of two other people and treatment has worked(again for how long know one knows)
    Not one case is the same…be strong for yourself its going to throw up some crap emotions for you…be strong for your wife be strong for your own family again emotions run high…

    and if it helps talk to an outsider…you will have your own emotions to go through…

    Premier Icon martinhutch
    Subscriber

    I’m thinking you mean stage 3 (EDIT if you meant grade 3, as Andy points out, that’s something different. Ignore the stage 3 waffle if that’s the case), which describes where the cancer is – ie whether it’s spread beyond the breast. The gist of it is that 3 means it has spread or is likely to have spread to neighbouring lymph nodes, most usually under the armpit.

    Obviously it’s better if the cancer is confined to the breast, but the important thing to remember is that a firm stage 3 diagnosis means it hasn’t yet spread to other organs or bones. So the positive note is that it could have been worse, and the cancer is most definitely still treatable.

    The treatment will be tailored to the stage, and how the tumours interact with the body’s natural hormones.

    Typing ‘stage 3 breast cancer’ into google gives lots of resources which will help you understand.

    The important thing is to listen carefully to the doctors, write things down if necessary, and ask questions if you don’t understand. Charities such as MacMillan are really really good if you need info.

    I’ve been there, albeit not with breast cancer, and I know just what an awful time this is, before treatment has started, but the thing to remember is that breast cancer treatments are much much better than they were even ten years ago, and there should be plenty of reasons to be hopeful.

    nickf
    Member

    I wish I could tell you positive things, but I can’t.

    My brother’s M-I-L was diagnosed at type 3c (had spread to lymph nodes), and unfortunately passed away within 5 months. My aunt followed the same path (type 3 again, but I don’t know any further detail), though she had about two years between diagnosis and death.

    I

    Bagstard
    Member

    Thanks all, I will get more details from my wife.

    karnali
    Member

    hopefully some better experiences, 2 women at work both had breast cancer diagnosed about 2 years ago, both still going strong and future looking brighter than it was 2 years ago. My aunthy also had breast cancer around 6 years ago and she is still out there larger than life in Sheffield 🙂

    hang on in there wife and MIL will need lots of support

    LHS
    Member

    My Mother was diagnosed 12 months ago exactly with it spreading to the lymph nodes.

    Surgery, Chemo and Radiotherapy and 12 months later she has finished all treatment and has just been given the thumbs up after her first post treatment check-up.

    nickf
    Member

    By the way, I should add that my experiences were 10-15 years back. Things have moved on tremendously in that time.

    Bagstard
    Member

    My wife has told me it is triple negative breast cancer, stage 3 and 3cm?!

    Big Dave
    Member

    It sounds scary but I believe that there are still plenty of treament options for that variant of breast cancer.

    The important thing to remember is that the doctors know what it is and that it is still at stage 3. I’m pretty sure you will see them swing into action VERY quickly.

    My mum on the other hand was diagnosed with very widespread stage 4 lobular breast cancer back in 2010. By the time they figured out the extent of the cancer it was clear there wasn’t much they could do. There is always hope with a stage 3 diagnosis. Hang on in there.

    AndyP
    Member

    That’s a good link.
    OK, stage 3. As above, ‘but the important thing to remember is that a firm stage 3 diagnosis means it hasn’t yet spread to other organs or bones. So the positive note is that it could have been worse, and the cancer is most definitely still treatable.’
    This, very much so. Hold on to that thought.

    What point is she at, has she had any surgery? If it’s FNA/scans at the moment, they will schedule surgery (whether lumpectomy or mastectomy, pros and cons to both) and excision of the local lymph nodes. From there as it is triple-negative you will probably find that they recommend chemo (the really popular hormonal therapies won’t work on a triple-neg).

    Talk to someone – MacMillan or similar, try not to read too much from ‘non-official’ sites as there can be some quite confusing stuff out there with people painting the worst picture when it isn’t necessarily the case.

    Bagstard
    Member

    Thanks chaps, pretty sure treatment starts next week, chemo first iirc.
    Some useful info so far and thank you for the personal stuff, can’t be easy to share.

    Lawmanmx
    Member

    breast cancer shot through the roof since women (and men) started to use all these deoderants and smelly sprays under their armpits (right into their lymphatic system) the chemicals in these products are destroying the nearest tissue to the sight its administerd to, i found out about the dangers of these products over 25yrs ago and have never used anything since, not even soap (use Bi carb of soda) instead.

    i wish your mother in law all the best and a health speedy recovery

    sobriety
    Member

    My mum was diagnosed with 3c breast cancer in 2007, she’s still with us but last year she was upgraded from ‘in remission’ to ‘stage 4 lymphoma’, which sucks, although it’s a slow one apparently.

    AndyP
    Member

    breast cancer shot through the roof since women (and men) started to use all these deoderants and smelly sprays under their armpits (right into their lymphatic system) the chemicals in these products are destroying the nearest tissue to the sight its administerd to, i found out about the dangers of these products over 25yrs ago and have never used anything since, not even soap (use Bi carb of soda) instead.

    http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/AP-Deo

    higgo
    Member

    Sadly I don’t have any happy cancer stories – it’s been through the female side of my wife’s family like a Gatling gun – but wish your MiL all the best.

    Lawmanmx – this is no place for bad science – the link between deodorant use has been looked for and not found:

    http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/healthyliving/cancercontroversies/deodorants/deodorants-and-cancer

    TooTall
    Member

    It is part of life – it isn’t death. It is there to be dealt with and overcome. It is one of the most survivable cancers. It has a small ‘c’, not a capital ‘C’.
    Chemo sucks a fat one. Losing nails, hair, energy, taste etc is really crappy, but there aren’t many other ways to flush a body of that sort of thing. There will be real lows with that, but they make fake everything and hats too!
    Some people do really well with support groups and stuff and some just want to get on with it, deal with it and put it behind them. Cancer does not define who you are unless you fixate on it. Fixate on what happens after the all clear. I would not be posting this now if I didn’t have one of those positive stories to tell – I’d have broken a couple of years back.

    A friend of mine, mid 30s, was diagnosed with it at Christmas, and died last weekend.

    Premier Icon I_did_dab
    Subscriber

    Stage is very important but also the underlying genetics. Estrogen receptor positive tumours respond to hormonal therapy (which has mimimal side effects compared to chemo) , hER2 positive tumours are more aggressive. ER +ve, hER2 -ve tumours have the best prognosis.
    Surgery, radiotherapy, and chemo/hormonal therapy produce an overall 5-year survival rate of about 60% so there are plenty of reasons not to give up, and to have a positive attitude, even though it will be a rough time for you all.

    cupra
    Member

    My wife was diagnosed with it in 2005 in her mid 30s, had some very low days but touch wood she is still here, happy and healthy. Never going to have kids mind which has been more of an issue for her than me, I’d rather have her, simple as that.

    s
    Member

    My Mum beat it, 6 years ago, treatment was tough,she found the radiotherapy the toughest part to deal with, but everyone is different, she held a huge party to burn her wig after getting the all clear.

    Sadly lost my Dad to Liver C. last year though.

    project
    Member

    Remember men get it as well, always check yourself, be safe.

    Premier Icon DezB
    Subscriber

    My sister-in-law has just beaten it.
    She is one tough bird and has just come out the other side after a mastectomy and a year or so of treatment.

    nickhart
    Member

    My mum had breast cancer 26 years ago ish and is still alive and well, I don’t remember the details as I don’t remember anything other than bike related rubbish!
    Having been in a cancer hospital for way too much time over the last couple of years I have seen highs and lows and there seems little rhyme or reason. From my experience I found the best way was to try and relax into the treatment and acknowledge there were so many people trying to help.
    Be honest which each other and tell your mum in law to do the same, if it’s a bad day then so be it. The chemo drugs are unreal and have various side effects on everyone, again with varying degrees. I couldn’t stand apples but loved citrus.
    Best wishes to you and yours and I hope it goes well for your family.

    showerman
    Member

    im having treatment at the moment for throat cancer and have know from the outset how lucky i am compared to others like your mother in law.
    she has to be as positive as she can as it is to easy to allow it to overwhelm you and get you down and with all the treatments it becomes a roller coaster ride.
    for me i have never seen it as cancer but as squatters, the squatters are now gone and the doctors are now cleaning up the mess left behind but i do not find the chemo easy (starts again tomorrow).
    be strong and be there for her when she needs help as she will needs hugs and kisses along the way.

    My mum was diagnosed with it a few years back, but is now clear thankfully.

    You have my sympathies as it can be a tough time. Hard to understand for us blokes but the thing my mum was worried about was losing her hair, but it wasn’t that bad in the end and ended up growing back stronger than before.

    oh, and one thing they found helpful was not to tell *everyone*, because every single conversation ends up being about cancer.

    They had a few drinks with some friends who didn’t know and said it was great to be able to just act normal again and have a laugh.

    Premier Icon boxelder
    Subscriber

    Mum, sister and aunt all survived it, though mum later died of non-hodgkins (I believe unrelated to earlier cancer).

    MacMillan Nurses are just angels and will help you massively

    Never a truer word……..

    wrightyson
    Member

    Mums had it 10 yrs ago and got the full all clear 5 yrs ago, had some precautionary follow up surgery to other women’s bits but still as healthy and a pain in the arse as ever, now aged 58.
    Good friend had to have a single mastectomy at 34 due to a very virulent strain, she too now has the all clear but has also had follow up surgery as a precaution. Her 40 th party was at the weekend, she is also doing great and is loving the new boob she’s just had to match up to her existing one!! Two people I know who’ve had it have both come out on top so that’s a definite plus side story!!

    Ho hum
    Member

    My Mum was diagnosed with it 2 years ago.

    She was given radiotherapy and chemo (the chemo made her really ill).

    6 months ago she was given the all clear and went back a couple of weeks ago and they said that she did not have to go back for another 9 months.

    I hope your MIL has a similar story to tell in 2 years time 🙂

    My Mrs was diagnosed with breast cancer almost one year ago: advanced; i.e. in the bones and liver. Her first indication was a broken back which put her in hospital. Her back repaired, but she cannot beat the cancer.

    The chemo (Docetaxel), while being harsh, saved her life – she probably had 3 months to live when she was diagnosed. She was able to work at home at 2/3rds capacity through her chemo – it kept her focussed. The hormone therapy tablets (Tamoxefen) since then seem to be helping to reduce tumour growth too and have had no noticeable side-effects. She has monthly high doses of Permidronate which help preserve her bone status. Her tumours produce a “marker” in the blood (CA15-4) which allows coarse monitoring of overall tumour bulk though simple blood tests. And she has had some CT scans to see the detail.

    She’s been feeling great since November and her bloods indicate good health. She has been working and has been skiing (gently) twice this season and we are going again (hopefully) in 2 weeks. But her liver tumours are on the move so she will begin chemo (a different drug) when we get back. No-one can say if this lot will help but we’ve not given up hope that she can live-on in reasonable comfort a while longer.

    Every person’s cancer is different. And your MiL’s outlook could be much more positive. The very best of luck to her (and you).

    Of the many years I have been on this site (over 10yrs on and off) this thread has really had a massive effect on me…the body is one strange thing even down to the emotions I have felt today from reading all of the stories on here. Having also lost my mother to cancer (my thread at the top) reading stuff like this can be hard and it has been for me today but sometimes you gotta face your demons…its taken me 20yrs to really talk about how I felt about the death of her (a lot to be said about Individual psychodynamic counselling)
    Enough from me…

    showerman

    I wish you both (bl wife) all the very best…

    buzz-lightyear

    steve-g
    Member

    I have been through this to an extent with my mum, and it was an absolute nightmare. The diagnosis stage was not handled at all well and she went from the biopsy being taken while she was being assured that all was well to the hospital. Sitting in the consultation room post biopsy expecting the good news she had been told to expect it turned out a letter had been sent out detailing the extent of the problem but it had never arrived and the doctor was talking urgent treatment to the tumour when she didnt even know she had cancer. To say that was a massive shock would be an understatement.

    It was explained that things were fairly bad, me and my pregnant wife were as supportive as we could be, spending hours at hospitals for appointments etc. Things were obviously pretty serious, I was planning what I would be saying at the funeral in my own mind etc. It was an absolutely massive win when the doctor said he was confident that she would make it to see littleun being born.

    From here things went very quickly, there was no time for the lymph testing thing, it was straight to the operation to remove the whole shebang, the lymph thing was tested at the same time that was done.

    It turned out that the lymph thing was all ok, and aside from wearing a fake boob she is all good. About 3 weeks ago she got the 2 year all clear status which is apparently a massively statistically significant thing.

    Despite what everyone here is saying your wife will be massively going through it, You focus on helping her out.

    Bagstard
    Member

    A very big thanks to all, buzz I really hope things go your way,I’m feeling pretty humbled by your strength, thank you.

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