What stage is metastatic bc?

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BAK
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 44
   Posted 8/12/2005 4:47 PM (GMT -7)   
This might sound silly but no doctor has ever told me what stage my bc was/is. I have been too scared to ask...dumb, huh?
Below is stuff i got from my pathology report and I also posted in the roll call. Can anyone explain to me what this means to them?
I have figured out quite a bit and my doctors are wonderful but seem to skirt around actually saying a "stage".
Thanks for any ideas, or insight, that you may have.

Beth
*********************************************************
Invasive Lobular Carcinoma .....Metastatic left breast cancer.
3/9/05 I had a left modified rad mastectomy and left axillary sentinel lymph node biopsy and right breast needle core biopsies.
(Rt breast biopsies benign for now: Hurray!)

Left breast:
Estrogen positive 3+ and progesterone positive 2+
Her-2 ACIS score 1.3

*Tumor mass of 5.0 x 5.0 x 1.5 cm showing extensive invasive lobular carcinoma in a background of extensive lobular carcinoma in-situ with numerous microcalcifications. Angiolymphatic space invasion is present.

*#1 Sentinel node 1.2 x 0.3 cm "positive for metastatic tumor"
Axillary contents - 5 of 10 lymph nodes metastatically involved; one lymph node 1.7cm, additional small lymph nodes, one additional larger lymph node

*Extracapular extension by tumor is seen

Tavish
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 8/12/2005 5:15 PM (GMT -7)   
Metastatic means that the cancer has spread outside of the breast. In your case, to the nodes. We would need more information to tell you what stage your cancer is. Stages go from 0-IV. You can look at American Cancer Society or Susan Love's site to get details on how to determine the stage.

If you had cancer that spread beyond the nodes, to a distant site, it would be stage IV. There is clear criteria that you can use, but it also includes whether or not there is known spreading outside the nodes and breast. It also has to do with the size. I think stage II goes up to 5 cm (I think 2-5 cm) with either + or - nodes. Mine was 2.5 cm with neg nodes and was considered a IIA.

Yours could be a IIB or a III...or a IV if the cancer has spread anywhere else. It should be written on your reports and you should consider getting a copy of all reports....but ask them outright what your stage is....
Good luck!
Lori


wackygal
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 857
   Posted 8/13/2005 12:55 PM (GMT -7)   
WHat Lori said is correct.... mine was 4.5 cm tumor with 5 positive nodes (of 49 nodes taken), so I was a Stage IIB. Yours sound similar, even though they are using the term 'metastatic' for the lymph nodes.... ask your Dr.s directly.... but even if they do say Stage IV, remember...we are not statistics! and here's a great website to check out www.livingwithit.org

hugs
Stefanie
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"It's been worth everything I've been through,
 To do what I do"

                       To Do What I Do   -Alan Jackson, 2004


BAK
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 44
   Posted 8/13/2005 2:23 PM (GMT -7)   
thank you Lori and Stefanie.

I will see what i can find out. I'm not sure that the technicalities are really that important but I guess it is good to know for some reason. I know it is serious but I'm not making plans to "fly away" soon...if you know what i mean! I plan to fight it with all that I have and chemo was not fun but not as bad as I imagined either. LOL

I did find a place on the report that said the tumor was pT2 and the primary node pN2a...I suppose that the 2 could mean Stage II?

Stefanie... 49 nodes????? WOW! But with only 5 positive that sounds pretty good. Did they remove a lot of tissue with that?

Thanks again!

HUGS!

Beth

wackygal
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 857
   Posted 8/13/2005 5:58 PM (GMT -7)   

Beth- yea, 49... i was shocked to see that number myself... i hadn't ever heard of that many being taken!  they took alot of tissue across where my incision is, but my armpit is normal-looking... they said i wasn't a good candidate for reconstruction because they cut into muscle, or something like that... so i never did do that.  of course i am dealing w/lymphedema with my arm, but it's controllable with therapy every few months and using the sleeve .    just a little cancer-leftover that i have to deal with!  ;-)

hang in there, we're all with you... i read a very pretty card today...it said: "if looking behind you hurts too much, and looking ahead is too frightening, then just look beside you, because I'll be there"

i think that's a great motto for this board!! :-)

stef


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"It's been worth everything I've been through,
 To do what I do"

                       To Do What I Do   -Alan Jackson, 2004


BAK
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 44
   Posted 8/14/2005 6:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Oh, stefanie...I'm sorry to hear that you have to deal with lymphedema. I don't plan to do any reconstruction either.....I really don't like surgery and can live with being a little unbalanced. lol

In looking online, I found that metastatic = Stage 4. I guess I suspected that but didn't want it to be true. That is scary. I'll still ask my doctor and see what he says. He is so "up" all the time telling me that I will be okay and that new treatments show up so I shouldn't worry. Now I understand why he said that. : )

I LOVE the saying on the card! (It made me cry...now I have to go clean my glasses so I can see what I'm doing.)

Thanks for sharing that, Stefanie. I needed that today!

Beth

JenPossible
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2004
Total Posts : 74
   Posted 8/14/2005 11:03 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Beth,

Just a quick note - from what you wrote, it says your lymph nodes were metastatic - that means cancer in the lymph nodes. Stage IV is if it gets to collar bone lymph nodes/neck lymph nodes/bone, brain, lung liver. It looks like they are saying just the lumph nodes have cancer in them, too. I'm not sure what extracapular extension is, but just knnow you have a right for the doctor to tell you what everything means.
And ask the doc for copies of doctor/nurses notes, too, because that's where they write what they think and what your treatment plan is.

The ladies on this board are great!

-Jen

JUJU8872
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2005
Total Posts : 349
   Posted 8/14/2005 11:23 AM (GMT -7)   

Hey, Beth. I do not know what stage I am either, and I have asked the doctor. She just said I was intermediate. I still do not know what tha means, but we all know I will be leaving that facility when radiation ends.

JUJU


Tavish
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 8/14/2005 11:33 AM (GMT -7)   
Jen is right....the node has metastatic cancer....it does not mean stage IV overall. Mets means it has spread, in this case to the node. In your case, they used the word to describe how the node appeared. You could very well be a stage IIB or a III.

L&H,
Lori


Grandma Cathy
Regular Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 426
   Posted 8/16/2005 5:57 PM (GMT -7)   
Beth,

I asked that very same question from the get go - what stage am i? I was told stage 2 - but then 3 years later my onc retired and I had to get my records to take to the new onc and on Page 1 - it said stage 3!!! Thinking about it now . . . my docs did the best that they could when they could and I'm still here - so what difference does the stage mean?

L & H,
Cathy

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