Friday, September 2, 2011

My Breast Cancer

Yesterday my sister suggested that I should tell you what type of breast cancer I have.  This can get a bit complicated, not because I mind sharing it with you, but because there are several different things that determine your type of breast cancer.

Most people, including myself at the start of it all, think breast cancer is breast cancer and just that.  Aa NO! There is location, size, grade, stage, bilateral or single breast, ER – positive/negative, PR – positive/negative, Her2 – positive/negative, node involvement, and I could be missing a few things (I’m pretty sure I am). 

The point is, each case is unique - breast cancer is not all the same. 

Who knew, right?

I should admit that even now, I find the pathology report to be a bit confusing.  I don’t want you to think that I consider myself an expert on any of this.  I would read and research as much as I could so that I could get a better understanding and know what I should talk to my oncologist about. Also I feel it important to tell you that my final report did not come back until after my surgery. 

So here goes, this is my official classification:  T3pN2M0, Stage IIIA, grade 2 IDC of the UOQ with 7 of 21 lymph nodes positive. I was ER/PR positive and Her2 negative.

I know lots of letters and numbers and needs translation.  I had Invasive Lobular Carcinoma and Invasive Ductal Carcinoma, Stage IIIA: T3, N2, M0: The tumor is larger than 5 cm across but does not grow into the chest wall or skin (T3). It has spread to 1 to 9 axillary nodes, or to internal mammary nodes (N1 or N2). The cancer hasn't spread to distant sites (M0). UOQ – upper outer quadrant.

“Invasive lobular carcinoma makes up a small portion of all breast cancers. The most common type of breast cancer begins in the breast ducts (ductal carcinoma). Some breast cancers contain both lobular and ductal cancer cells. Invasive lobular carcinoma typically doesn't form a lump, as most women expect with breast cancer. Instead, invasive lobular carcinoma more often causes a thickening of the tissue or fullness in one part of the breast.” Mayo’s website. 

There are still other types of breast cancer, these are just the two I had.  Here are a few links that better explain the different types.

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