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Tuesday, September 08, 2009 hayley99, Community Member, asks

Q: Bone Cancer Mets or Arthritis?

I was diagnosed in June with Stage 1 breast cancer...and had a lumpectomy July 31.  There was no lymph node involvement.  I then had 5 day Mammosite Radiation. Tumor is 90% ER.  I meet with my Oncologist Sept. 15th.  I'm 56, so assuming Arimidex or Femera will be my treatment. I guess what's bothering me is I garden a lot and have been having discomfort in my left hip for a couple years.  Lately I've noticed when I stand it's really hard to walk because of the pain.  I've also been feeling lower back discomfort and pain down my front left thigh.  I've even noticed strange sensations now down below my knee on the left side.  I walk about 3 miles every day, and I notice the pain dissipates when I keep moving.  Also, Ibuprofen helps quite a bit.  It's so hard to not dwell on Bone Mets.  Are there any traditional symptoms that help identify if it's Cancer or Arthritis?  I have no discomfort when I sleep.  Thanks in Advance for your help.

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Answers (1)
PJ Hamel, Health Guide
9/ 8/09 12:24pm

Hi Hayley - With stage I and no positive lymph nodes, I think it would be impossible for you to have a bone metastasis. Cancer has to travel from your breast through your lymph nodes (which then become cancerous) to your bones. So I'm guessing, like the rest of us your age (I'm 56 - 1953!), you're simply feeling your age, and getting some arthritis or even osteoporosis, which can give you a lot of back (and leg) discomfort. At any rate, bring this up with your oncologist next time you see him/her, OK? Good luck - PJH

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hayley99, Community Member
9/ 8/09 2:10pm

Thanks so much for your response.  I was hoping you would say that...and had been thinking the same thing.  My tumor was Stage 1, invasive ductal carcinoma but only .5 cm in size.  Unfortunately, I spent a bit of time on the Internet yesterday and found an incident on the BreastCancer.Org forum where a woman had Stage 1/No lymph node involvement and they found Bone Mets in her legs. Apparently the cancer cells can slip through. I think that's what has me worrying now.  With my surgery just recently behind me I was really feeling good and ready to go on with my life for a bit without thinking about cancer too much...  Now of course, I'm sure I'll stress over this until I see the oncologist.  OK, deep breath...trying to stay positive.  Time to go for a walk.  Thanks again for your response.  I really appreciate you taking the time...and I hope you are right.Cool

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
9/ 8/09 2:41pm

So, maybe it's a possibility - but so is winning PowerBall. Are you ready to quit your job tomorrow and book a flight to Hawaii because you bought a PowerBall ticket today? Hmmm... Please remember, worrying and stress are both optional; they're self-imposed, and they accomplish NOTHING beyond making us feel bad. If there's on thing we can control in this life, it's our own attitude. So choose to be positive; choose to believe you're just fine, because I surely believe that's true. And in the meantime, please read our post on fear; it might help you deal with this. Let me know how your appointment goes, OK? Good luck - PJH

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hayley99, Community Member
11/ 8/09 9:19pm

Hi,

 

You were kind enough to ask me to let you know how everything went, and thankfully I'm doing fine.  I had the MRI and there were no mets found in my spine.  The slight discomfort I was experiencing was just arthritis and complications of aging.  Also, I wanted to let you know that I've been on Arimidex for 2 months with no side effects at all.  I've continued to exercise and watch my diet...and I'm doing great.   Everything I had read on the Internet made it sound so awful...that I was prepared for the worst.  I had even considered not taking it.  If anything I've had a minor increase in hot flashes...but that's really all.  Thanks again for your thoughtful and positive advice.  I really appreciate you taking the time to help me. Take care...  Tricia 

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PJ Hamel, Health Guide
11/ 8/09 9:30pm

Well, excellent, Tricia - glad to hear your good news all around. Prior to cancer we'd complain about arthritis, right? Now we're just glad it's not bone mets! Amazing how our outlook can change... Hope you continue to do just fine, and that's excellent about the Arimidex. I've been on it 4 1/2 years, and do sufer some bone/joint pain, but exercise first thing in the morning seems to take care of it. Good luck- PJH

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By hayley99, Community Member— Last Modified: 10/19/10, First Published: 09/08/09