So today I saw the breast surgeon and got the results from surgery. In fact one of the results was delayed and we spent time sitting around the hospital waiting until it was ready – bumping into an old friend who had breast cancer some time ago, and who was there for a checkup.
The good news is that they have removed all the tumour and that there was no cancer in the removed lymph node. They confirmed the grade of my cancer at 2, and once removed it was 13mm – so 5mm bigger than the ultrasound put it – which apparently is common. There was some cancer in the surrounding tissue, but not at the edges of the margin they removed so they believe they got it all.
There was no HER2 associated with the tumour so chemo is not mandatory. However, as I am young (as far as breast cancer goes) and because the growth factor of the tumour is 25% (which is higher than the 5 – 10% they prefer), the surgeon suggested that I might want to considering sending a sliver of my tumour off to the US for further testing to see if chemo would be beneficial. However this comes at a hefty price tag of $4000 (not covered by Medicare or private health cover). The surgeon wanted to state that it is something I should consider, but he said that he believed that the radiotherapy and Tamoxifen would more than likely be sufficient given the make-up of the tumour. I have an appointment with an oncologist on Monday to get more information as to what they think regarding the test and chemotherapy.
The surgeon was extra impressed with my healing prowess. He said that it looked like I had surgery a month ago, not a week and a half, when he removed the dressings. I heal well, I probably should have been involved in more risky, extreme sports as a young adult and tested my healing to the limit. Except I’m not a fan of being adrenaline and pain.
I’m really relieved that I don’t need more surgery, and that I probably don’t need chemo. I was more stressed about more surgery as that was an immediate, unpleasant experience – one I didn’t want to repeat any time soon. I’m not sure about chemo yet, I’m going to gather more information, including from people who’ve survived breast cancer, and determine whether or not paying for the testing is a worthwhile investment, or whether I should stick with the most likely to be successful existing treatment of radiotherapy and Tamoxifen (plus other drugs as needed).