Breast Cancer questions

  1. hello all

    My sister was just diagnosed with breast cancer and they want to remove the breast.

    What I don't understand is the doctor suggesting this is a general surgeon and one of his specialties is Breast issues. She did have biopsies and 3 came back cancer and the 4th was precancer.

    Shouldn't she be seeing an oncologist before having surgery? This is with Kaiser and I'm worried that they are not giving her all her options.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    Debi
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  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from studentdeb
    hello all

    My sister was just diagnosed with breast cancer and they want to remove the breast.

    What I don't understand is the doctor suggesting this is a general surgeon and one of his specialties is Breast issues. She did have biopsies and 3 came back cancer and the 4th was precancer.

    Shouldn't she be seeing an oncologist before having surgery? This is with Kaiser and I'm worried that they are not giving her all her options.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    Debi

    Hi Debi,

    I very much empathize with your situation as my sister had breast cancer and finally finished her treatments in january.

    Having the surgeon remove her breast is perfectly appropriate....they did the same thing with my sister. then they biopsied the tumors, grading and staging them. she saw the oncologists after the surgery. that way once the oncologist knows the type of cancer, staging and grading, s/he can recommend the appropriate treatments.

    so to answer your question, this is perfectly the norm.

    my prayers are with you, your sister and family.

    leslie
  4. by   studentdeb
    Quote from earle58
    Hi Debi,

    I very much empathize with your situation as my sister had breast cancer and finally finished her treatments in january.

    Having the surgeon remove her breast is perfectly appropriate....they did the same thing with my sister. then they biopsied the tumors, grading and staging them. she saw the oncologists after the surgery. that way once the oncologist knows the type of cancer, staging and grading, s/he can recommend the appropriate treatments.

    so to answer your question, this is perfectly the norm.

    my prayers are with you, your sister and family.

    leslie


    Thanks I appreciate your input. It just seems funny to me that she wouldn't see the oncologist before surgery. She has asked to see another doctor for a 2nd opinion. She is very distraught over this and since we just lost our dad to a heart attack 3 weeks ago, things are even worse.

    They told her she would also have to do chemotherapy and she is scared to death of that.

    Thanks again

    Debi
  5. by   CHATSDALE
    i had lumpectomy in jan-04 .. after that i started seeing oncol. and then the radiologist
    might want to deterine if a proplactic mastectomy is reccommended
    these are tough times and tough decisions my thoughts and prayers are with you
    please also accept my condolances about the lose of your dad...been there too
  6. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from studentdeb
    Thanks I appreciate your input. It just seems funny to me that she wouldn't see the oncologist before surgery. She has asked to see another doctor for a 2nd opinion. She is very distraught over this and since we just lost our dad to a heart attack 3 weeks ago, things are even worse.

    They told her she would also have to do chemotherapy and she is scared to death of that.

    Thanks again

    Debi
    debi,

    the oncologist would be unable to prescribe the type of treatments your sister would be getting until he received all pertinent data from cytology, those who examine the breast tissue to see what type of ca it is.

    and i am so very very sorry about your dad. please stay strong and hold onto your faith.

    peacefully yours,

    leslie
  7. by   truern
    I thought they biopsy, you have chemo to shrink the tumors, THEN have surgery followed by radiation???

  8. by   z's playa
    Quote from truesn
    I thought they biopsy, you have chemo to shrink the tumors, THEN have surgery followed by radiation???


    Makes more sense doesn't it? What happens if they remove a breast with benign tumors? Oops?

    For the OP:

    I'm so sorry to hear of the loss of your dad. I can only imagine what it must be like. You sound like a great supportive sister. She is lucky to have you and you her. I have no doubt you and your sister will get through this ordeal too. :angel2:
  9. by   nesher
    My first question was why has she had 4 biopsies?
    My second question is she going to a place that is providing care that is women centered? In other words a place that treats the patient as a memeber of the team - that is supportive, provides a holistic approach and that can provide her with a team from PCP radiologists, surgeons who specialize in breast cancer surgeries, pathologists, etc.
    My third question is related to your statement that she has to have her breast removed - are you serious? They want to remove the whole breast? This isn't done anymore and she needs to hightail it away from the person who is suggesting that! I don't know where she lives, but she would be better served at a cancer center if she can get there - a place that is up on the latest techniques, not caveman mentality...
    My fourth question has to do with reconstruction - which is something that needs to be decided prior to any surgery she has - what kind she wants etc.

    I'll stop as I don't want to overwhelm you with questions. I feel for you.

    By the way I heard about a sister study today - call Swedish hospital in Seattle if you are interested - I don't know if you need to be local or not.
    www.swedish.org
  10. by   studentdeb
    Quote from nesher
    My first question was why has she had 4 biopsies?
    My second question is she going to a place that is providing care that is women centered? In other words a place that treats the patient as a memeber of the team - that is supportive, provides a holistic approach and that can provide her with a team from PCP radiologists, surgeons who specialize in breast cancer surgeries, pathologists, etc.
    My third question is related to your statement that she has to have her breast removed - are you serious? They want to remove the whole breast? This isn't done anymore and she needs to hightail it away from the person who is suggesting that! I don't know where she lives, but she would be better served at a cancer center if she can get there - a place that is up on the latest techniques, not caveman mentality...
    My fourth question has to do with reconstruction - which is something that needs to be decided prior to any surgery she has - what kind she wants etc.

    I'll stop as I don't want to overwhelm you with questions. I feel for you.

    By the way I heard about a sister study today - call Swedish hospital in Seattle if you are interested - I don't know if you need to be local or not.
    www.swedish.org
    Well she lives in Ohio and has Kaiser insurance. She had 4 biopsies because after her mammogram, they saw four spots, three looked the same and one was different so they decided to biopsie the one that looked different. That one came back "precancer" so they decided to biopsie the other ones and those are the ones that came back cancer.

    I too questioned why they want to remove the whole breast. I guess there are two located close to the nipple and the doctor told her they can't cut the breast in half or something like that. Of course I wasn't there so I don't know the exact words.

    She did ask to see another doctor which she will do this week. But I don't hold out much hope that this doctor will be any different. My experience with Kaiser hasn't always been good (I have it also).

    What's weird is the day after she got this news, there was a story on NBC nightly news about how doctors are performing mastecomies even when they could have done lumpectomies because they can get more money. I couldn't believe it.

    Thanks for your input, I need to talk to her further and see what she is going to do. I know she's worried that if she ventures outside of Kaiser, she won't be able to pay for it. They really do not make alot of money and she doesn't work.

    Debi
  11. by   studentdeb
    My sister went to see another doctor (although it was still within Kaiser) but this doctor was more thorough. this doctor spent time with her explaining and showing her pictures and told her the options available to her. I guess the other doctor pretty much said "we need to remove the breast, how about next week"

    Anyway, the doctor told her she has ductal carcinoma with necrosis, stage 3 and that it is a very agressive cancer.

    The surgery is scheduled for the 4th of April and they will do the mastectomy. Of course she is very scared, but hopefully everything will turn out ok.

    Of course, now I am worried about myself and will get a mammagram scheduled soon.

    thanks for all your input and kind words.

    Debi
  12. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from studentdeb
    My sister went to see another doctor (although it was still within Kaiser) but this doctor was more thorough. this doctor spent time with her explaining and showing her pictures and told her the options available to her. I guess the other doctor pretty much said "we need to remove the breast, how about next week"

    Anyway, the doctor told her she has ductal carcinoma with necrosis, stage 3 and that it is a very agressive cancer.

    The surgery is scheduled for the 4th of April and they will do the mastectomy. Of course she is very scared, but hopefully everything will turn out ok.

    Of course, now I am worried about myself and will get a mammagram scheduled soon.

    thanks for all your input and kind words.

    Debi
    my sister had infiltrating ductal carcinoma with 4 lymph nodes involved. she just finished her treatments in january.
    i so understand how you feel; just be there for her in anyway you can.
    you and she will remain in my prayers.

    leslie
  13. by   zambezi
    I am sorry to hear about your sister...I don't want to "steal" your thread but I was wondering how she first got diagnosed? Did she have any symptoms or feel a lump herself??

    My doctor just recently found some nodules in my axilla and I was sent for an ultrasound and mammogram. I have had no symptoms, didn't even feel the node myself (but I am not so good at self checks) and have no history of breast cancer in my family....however, I am still pretty nervous. They saw three nodes on my u/s...but I don't find out the results unitl next week- seems like a long time.

    Anyway, I hope that all turns out well for your sister, hopefully she will find a doctor that she is happy with and that makes her feel comfortable with her options. Sending good thoughts your way...
  14. by   michw2
    I know how your feeling right now my mother was diagnosed with Breast Cancer about 5 years ago. When she goes to see the doctor that will take the breast he will ask her at that time if she want recontruction . Atfer they take the breast they do more lab work and decide if they will need cemo and radiation. My mom had the same Dx. that spread to 3 lymph nodes and had cemo and radiation both. She has been cancer free for 5 years now. Hope that helps

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