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Regular Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 254
   Posted 5/15/2007 2:01 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello everybody, I usually post in the Chron's forum.  My husband's sister is 38 years old and was diagnosed with breast cancer 4 months ago.  She had a lumpectomy and removal of the lymphnodes (sp?).  Biopsies came back showing Grade 3 cancer with 4 of her lymphnodes affected as well.  She already had 6 chemotherapy sessions and she has 3 more to go, afterwards she will have radiotherapy.  She lives in the UK and I'm sure she is being very well cared of.  Now, I not only know, but I strongly believe, that breast cancer is considered a chronic disease these days, and certainly not a death sentence. 
My question is what can she expect from now on?  She feels very frustrated of course, but is keeping her spirit up. Is there a prognosis in this type of cancer?  Does it mean that when she finishes her therapies, she can go on with life normally?
Your advises are highly appreciated.
I wish for everybody to be well and happy!!! :-)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2003
Total Posts : 1373
   Posted 5/15/2007 7:04 AM (GMT -7)   
Of course the safe answer is "it depends" but I can share my experiences.  I think you mean stage 3 instead of grade three, that means that the lymph nodes were involved, as they were.  That means that it may metastacize because it spread to the lymph system.  From what I understand, there's a bc pathway when it spreads and watching for symptoms in the back and the head are pretty important since the brain and bones are in the pathway.  She will have to be checked by her oncologist regularly for tumor markers.  not sure what exactly those are or what the numbers we want are, someone else will have to help there. 
As for life after chemo and radiation, I'm pretty much back to normal, except I never know if I have it again.  It's a free-floating fear that rears it's ugly head occasionally.  Had a bite on my neck or a hive or something and first thing I felt was the "lump"  Before I could process that it itched and was of the allergy nature, I thought cancer's back.  I can tire easily at times and have to get bone density tests annually.  I was 38 when I contracted stage 2 cancer and now am 42.  Still cancer free we think.  No node involvement. 
Psychologically, I have a new lease on life.  Fortunately for me but unfortunately for my wallet, I survived.  My first bit of advice when diagnosed is watch the spending, you're not dead yet and you may be chronic not terminal.   I agree it's not the death sentence it was, but that doesn't really stop the fear and knee-jerk reactions, it just helps combat them.  Lots of self exams and getting a breast exam whenever I can is something else I do.  The hair grew back.  Don't know if I can ever give blood again, though.  What else, anyone?
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." -Confucius
Don't knock on Death's Door.  Ring the bell and run.  He hates that.


Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 5/15/2007 6:05 PM (GMT -7)   
Actually, there is a big difference between grade III and stage III. Mine was a stage IIA (2.5 cm tumor, negative nodes), but had my nodes been +, that would have been a stage IIB. I believe stage III refers to the size of the tumor too, and it may have to do with spread to the nodes beyond the axillary, but I can't remember.

Grade III is what mine was too, although a Stage IIA. Stage refers to the size and spread of the cancer. Grade refers to the traits of the cells of the tumor. Grade III is worse than II and Grade I is better....Grade III means the cells were rapidly dividing and poorly differentiated....meaning they had mutated more and looked less like normal cells, and it can mean they are more aggressive cells.

As for her future, yes, she had a good chance to be cured and never face it head on again. What makes it chronic, in that case, is the never knowing if we are cured.....With positive nodes, she does face a realistic chance of recurrance. The thing is that the stats can tell you the liklihood of recurrance or remaining cancer free...but the stats are just stats, nothing is for sure.

Even if she never has to deal with cancer again, her life is changed forever, and she may always look over her shoulder with fear, with anxiety or with power and control. No telling how she'll react, how she'll feel or how her health will be....that is what makes the journey. Be there for her and support her, there are a lot of ups and downs along the road. Just because the physical scars may heal, the emotional ones are still there.

But...there is every reason to believe and hope that she'll live a long and healthy and normal life. Focus on the positive and the future. Yes, there is a chance she can go on and live normally till a ripe old age!


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