My cancer diagnosis - The Funny Thing About Cancer
 
Since breaking the big, awful news, I've gotten a ton of questions.  Most of the questions center around treatment, when, what, where, how?

But in order to feel like I've adequately answered these questions, I think I need to give some history.  In my family blog, I gave some details on my cancer, but I've kind of left it off of this blog. 

So this blog will center around my diagnosis, my cancer type, my stage, etc.

To state the obvious, I have breast cancer.

However, this is an over simplification of the disease.  There are several different types of breast cancer.  I was going to attempt to amaze everyone with my intense knowledge of everything breast cancer... but then I realized I actually know very little about the other forms of cancer (aside from what I have).

So here is a link if you care to read up on it: BREAST CANCER TYPES

I have been diagnosed with Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC). 

I am also negative for estrogen receptive, progesterone receptive and HER2 (this is explained in the above link as well - on page 2).  This is referred to as the "triple negative" subgroup.  What does this mean?  Basically it means that they have no specific "culprit" for what triggered my cancer.  It wasn't hormones (so not the pregnancy) nor was it HER2.  It ALSO means that I have a very aggressive form of cancer.  And a cancer that has a higher rate of recurrance.

They also give your cancer a "grade", which tests how fast the cancer is growing.  Mine was grade 3 out of 3.  No surprise for a triple negative cancer as they tend to be aggressive and fast growing.

So after the initital testing, my "stats" are Invasive ductal carcinoma, grade 3 of 3, triple negative.

The next step of the "staging" process is to determine how large the tumor is and if it has spread outside of the breast.  Generally, the way they determine this is via loads of scans (PET, CAT, MRI, X-rays, etc), as I was pregnant at the time of diagnosis, these were not an option.

So I had my lumpectomy and that was dissected in the lab and run through another battery of tests.  It came back that the tumor was small (under 2 cm) but that I did have a small focal point of cancer in 1 lymph node.

I still have not been officially staged.  My doc has ordered up a whole battery of tests (MRI, EKG, X-rays, mammogram, etc) to be done next Wednesday.  It is going to be a LOOOOOONG day at the hospital.

But judging by the preliminary information, I am somewhere around Stage 1b and Stage 2a. 

This is very good news as it means I caught it pretty early. 

Hopefully this helps answer some of your questions about my cancer.  The next blog will discuss cancer treatment and what my treatment is currently looking li
Mary
1/22/2011 04:45:20 pm

Don't be surprised if they never stage it - they don't like to do that much anymore - staging just doesn't work as well now that they have all the other ways to describe your breast cancer.

As for the other tests - it's alot of waiting around but then they tell you you don't have it in your bones or your brain or your lung or internal organs and then it is a good nights sleep.

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