On Tuesday, I learned that my cancer was a bit more involved than they first thought. The tumor was actually 1.7 cm and not the 1.2 cm/.9cm which I was told by two different doctors, respectfully. It was an invasive lobular carcinoma, SBR grade 2, and ductal carcinoma in situ with estrogen positive receptors. I know that I made the right decision to have the mastectomy versus the lumpectomy.
It seems that there is so much waiting associated with this disease! I learned that somehow my Oncotype DX test was not submitted the day of my surgery. This test takes about two weeks to do its thing…here’s some information about the test and why it is important:
“The genomic test will analyze a sample of the cancer tumor to see how active certain genes are. The activity level of these genes affects the behavior of the cancer, including how likely it is to grow and spread. Genomic tests are used to help make decisions about whether more treatments after surgery would be beneficial.
The Oncotype DX genomic test analyzes the activity of 21 genes that can influence how likely a cancer is to grow and respond to treatment.
Looking at these 21 genes can provide specific information on:
- the likelihood that the breast cancer will return
- whether you’re likely to benefit from chemotherapy if you’re being treated for early-stage invasive breast cancer
- whether you’re likely to benefit from radiation therapy if you’re being treated for ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).
So, the Oncotype DX test is both a prognostic test, since it provides more information about how likely (or unlikely) the breast cancer is to come back, and a predictive test, since it predicts the likelihood of benefit from chemotherapy or radiation therapy treatment. Studies have shown that Oncotype DX is useful for both purposes.” (http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/testing/types/oncotype_dx)
I have been so excited that I did not have to partake in chemo and radiation!! And now, I do not know if that is true. The percentages that come back from this test may change this scenario… I do not want chemo and/or radiation but if they come back high then I may have to opt for them because I do not want to have to go through this allover again!!
Did you know that approximately 70% of breast cancers are estrogen receptor positive? This means that these women’s cancers feed on the hormone estrogen and the estrogen blockers decrease the hormone in the bloodstream. Because my cancer was positive for estrogen receptors, I have to start taking an estrogen blocker every day for the next five years. I was informed on Tuesday that I will have to wait to start my estrogen blocker because they do not want the drug in my system if I have to start chemo and/or radiation.
In a interesting twist, I still have my ovaries (which produce estrogen, even post menopause) so I was told that I may need to have them removed. It seems that there is a correlation between breast cancer and ovarian cancer and they seem to go hand-in-hand. I will be visiting with the GYN at Roswell to discuss this at length.
Cancer is like an onion with so many layers and so much to learn that it is certainly overwhelming!!