Sunday, June 14, 2009

Just when life gets better - that little cancer jolt reappears

Yesterday afternoon, I was playing on the internet (as opposed to doing paid consultant work or gardening or cleaning the house but there was no one home but the cat to tell me what to do) and I visited the breastcancer.org website which I do from time to time. Its a great website full of resources and always has on its front page highlights from new breast cancer related advances (and anyone with cancer is secretly hoping that some day will be one announcing its cured) and it also includes a deciphering of the medical gobbledegook for us non-medical people right next to each featured article. It is a wonderful resource.

Currently they are featuring results from the recent American Society of Clinical Oncology recent meeting. And there it is "Action Needed in Early Breast CA with Isolated Cells in Lymph Nodes". That would be me. I had early breast cancer and isolated cells in my lymph nodes or what they call a micro invasion. For once, it was something I can relate to. Usually they are obscure topics that are not pertinent to me. So I start reading and then also read the translation and the linked article. Basically what they say is that if you have early stage breast cancer with microinvasion or isolated cells, you should have:
- chemotherapy - yes I did
- axillary node dissection - yes I did
- hormonal therapy - yes I am currently
- radiation to the underarm area - NO I DID NOT!!!! My radiation did not extend to the underarm area - I was told I did not need it. Screech to a stop here. So did they miss something for me? Should I go back and demand it now? But I can't. Radiation is only effective for a short window at the end of treatment.

Just when life gets all comfy and cozy again I read this stuff. Then I start researching the crap out of recurrence rates and all sorts of nasty stuff. Then I said 'I could drive myself insane doing this' and switched to waste time on Facebook instead. But the point is, that little cancer jolt can and does reappear when you least expect it. Now I have questions for my radiation oncologist when I see her in August and something to worry about between now and then.

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