My name is Traci Mulder, and I am 40 years old. I have been a breast cancer survivor for six years, since 9/11/2000, and this is my breast cancer story. Read part one of my breast cancer story: Pregnant, With Breast Cancer: From Discovering a Lump to Breast Biopsy Awaiting the Results of My Mammogram Seven days after my mammogram , I went to pick up my mammogram films and report. I needed to take them with me to the surgeon the next day so she could better assess my situation and need for breast biopsy . I promised myself that I wouldn't look at the mammograms or report, since I don't know how to read or interpret films, and I headed out the clinic door. I had the mammography report out before I got to my car. "Birads 5!" What is that? Is that the best or worst? "Highly suggestive of malignancy." What? This was supposed to be nothing! I drove directly to my husband’s office in tears. I still don't know how I got there without g...
If your symptoms or test results seem to indicate that the breast cancer has come back or spread, your doctor may suggest a biopsy of the suspected cancerous tissue. You may need a biopsy to:
rule out other non-cancer causes of the problem
make a definite diagnosis of recurrent or metastatic breast cancer
figure out the current " personality " of the cancer (including hormone receptor status and HER2 status) so your doctors will know how best to treat it
When breast cancer comes back, it may not be exactly the same as the first time. For example, a cancer that was hormone-receptor-positive (ER+ or PR+) may come back as hormone-receptor-negative. HER2 testing may not have been done when the cancer was originally diagnosed. But now, it's important to have this test done because the results can affect treatment. Just as you needed to understand all the details of your original diagnosis, so you also need to know what you're dealing with now. This is the first step in knowing what treatme...
Sometimes, things do not go as we like and breast cancer returns in a different site from the breast - a metastatic site. It's what patients all fear with each little ache and pain, and what your oncologist looks for at each follow up visit. Less common these days is the patient who presents with metastatic disease at the outset - this can be seen with a very aggressive breast cancer, or with a patient who sometimes delays seeking treatment for a primary tumor which has time to develop overt metastases.
Sadly, metastatic breast cancer remains incurable and while some progress has been made we have a lot more room to go.
The identification of HER2 as a therapeutic target and the development of Herceptin - a targeted therapy against HER2 positive breast cancer - has probably been the greatest contribution to metastatic disease in the past ten years.
Metastatic breast cancer can recur in any organ, but most commonly returns in the bone, lung or liver. The "bone on...
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