LIVESTRONG:

What started as IDC (Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma) in 2011, then turned into CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) in 2013, probably partially caused by chemotherapy along with a genetic pre-disposition. Here we are now in March 2016 and I am newly diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer in the left breast and liver (LMBC - liver metastasized breast cancer).


So the focus has shifted yet again, BUT... I continue to THANK YOU for your prayers, love & support. I receive them with open & loving arms. My wish is that I will gain strength from you, will provide helpful information and strength to others & will help to strip away the fears we each experience.


I am strong. I am loved. I am healthy. I WILL SURVIVE!

Have you or your loved one had their annual mammogram? PLEASE, don't put it off. Speaking from experience, I highly recommend monthly self exam as well. And if you are now cancer free of breast cancer, do everything you can to insist that your doctors follow up with an occasional PET Scan and labs for tumor markers.

WARNING:
Contents may be uplifting, sad, funny, scary, downright depressing ~ THAT IS CANCER .... at it's best, at its worst.

PLEASE ~ Feel free to share this blog with anyone who is interested to learn about my journey. While I welcome their support, I hope that by sharing this experience freely to the universe I may help to support others by breaking down some of the barriers and fear associated with breast cancer and the treatment.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Breast Cancer Stage

Something I don't think I've shared since I learned it about a month ago is the stage of my cancer. For patients who start out with surgery, their cancer is staged at that time due to several things that take place along with breast surgery. Because I went through chemotherapy before surgery, my cancer was not staged until seven months after diagnosis. So during my post-surgery appointment this is what I learned that the chemo had shrunk the tumors significantly, which was very good. But now I'm not quite sure how the staging relates to me, since it is now based on that smaller tumor size. I guess I still have some questions to be answered. But this is what I do know.


My stage is 1A, more accurately described as: Yp, T1a, NO, MX, Group 1A 
Yp: signifies staging after chemotherapy, which is considered post neoadjuvant therapy

T represents the size of the tumor. A T1a means Tumor is larger than 1 mm but smaller than 5 mm in greatest dimension
     For me, the residual tumor invasive component measures 1.5 mm

N signifies the nodes. NO is node negative, which means there is no cancer in my lymph nodes.
M refers to metastases. MX tells that my cancer has not metastasized and is contained within the breast.


The SBR histologic grade is still III/III.   

Based on the microscopic appearance of cancer cells, pathologists commonly describe tumor grade by four degrees of severity: Grades 1, 2, 3, and 4. The cells of Grade 1 tumors resemble normal cells, and tend to grow and multiply slowly. Grade 1 tumors are generally considered the least aggressive in behavior. Conversely, the cells of Grade 3 or Grade 4 tumors do not look like normal cells of the same type. Grade 3 and 4 tumors tend to grow rapidly and spread faster than tumors with a lower grade. The American Joint Committee on Cancer recommends the following guidelines for grading tumors:
Grade
GXGrade cannot be assessed (Undetermined grade)
G1Well-differentiated (Low grade)
G2Moderately differentiated (Intermediate grade)
G3Poorly differentiated (High grade)
G4Undifferentiated (High grade)
My cancer was 70% Infiltrating ductal carcinoma (IDC), and 30% in situ carcinoma. The "in situ" is new information as of this report. Ductal carcinoma in situ is the earliest possible and most treatable diagnosis of breast cancer. Sounds like its better to have had only 70% be IDC, rather than 100%, so I'll take it.  :-)

More good news is that I am no longer TNBC as indicated below. Each test after the original biopsy showed a bit more estrogen receptivity until the MRI biopsy I had late May. During my follow up oncology appointment post surgery I received this information. I am estrogen positive, which means my cancer, or some of it, is receptive to estrogen. So I will follow the radiation with five years of a daily pill of an aromatase inhibitor, most likely a drug known as Femara. This is to prevent recurrence and is something I am scheduled to discuss with my oncologist in a couple of weeks to better understand how this might change my risks.

So this is the latest and greatest from My Journey Past Breast Cancer. I hope that by sharing all this detail I have helped someone to better understand their own diagnosis, or someone else's diagnosis. I know that by putting it together here in this post, I better understand what is going on with me.

Hugs,

Debbie... aka the cancer warrior ... AND SURVIVOR!!!

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

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