Cancer Chat online community
ok..here we go..like i said in one of the other topics.....i'm nosey...
How did you find out you had cancer ? and what advice would you give to anyone who may be reading this and wondering if they are going to be ill?
i woke one morning, feeling fine as usual, but noticed a small pea sized lump in the top of my leg/hip joint. no pain or discomfort.
being a bloke, decided it was probably nothing, and if left alone it would go away (most blokes tend to think like this apparently)
anyway..after wondering all day if i'd amde the right choice in this matter and consultation with my partner, we decided to go to the doctor.
the first diagnosis said it was 'probably an infection as the lymph nodes are enlarged...give it a week and it will go away'
after a week the lump had grown a bit so i went back again....same diagnosis, but given some anti-biotics.
cue 7 visits to the gp in 5 weks as the lump grew progressively larger to the point where it was visible through my clothes.
got sent to hospital for surgery to remove the lump and waited for the results of a biopsy.
even though i kind of half expected to be told it was bad news, the shock when it was confirmed was unbeleivable..words couldnt desribe the feeling.
so............. heres todays words of advice..........if you'renot sure, get it checked, if you're not satisfied with the answer go for a second opinion...i did, (think the docs were fed up of me going in every few days hehe)
Your views, opinions, experiences appreciated please.
Hi there, I only found out i had Breast Cancer by chance - I found a small lump on my breast that i was sure hadnt always been there - visited GP and he confirmed that he too could feel it - was referred to Hospital - I then went on holiday to Malta for a week and realised the lump had gone !! - wasnt going to bother going to Hospital but as appt had come through thought i should go anyway - was absolutely sure i was wasting there time !! - The consultant couldnt feel anything either but decided to send me for a mamogram (whilst i was there) - had that - then biopsy as they thought they could see something on the x -rays ? Went off for a cup of tea - they called me back before i had even finished my Tea !!! and was then they told me they were 99% sure i had breast Cancer - so there u have it - didnt feel ill at all and didnt even have a clue that i had anything wrong with me - They found two tumours one was invasive the other wasnt - Due to the size of the invasive tumour they advised me to have a mastecomy which i had a couple of weeks later - then due too my age (41 just) and the fact it was a grade 3 tumour and HER2 Positive they decided i should have 4 months Chemo followed by a years Herceptin and 5 years on tamoxifen - I completed the chemo which wasnt to bad (got worse at the end!!) couldnt have Herceptin as on tests before i was due to start it - they found i had a slightly "dodgy" heart - have been taking the Tamoxifen for the last 18 months - recently had reconstructive surgery using the musle from my back and an implant - and am now back at work - with new breast and completely different hair !! lol So i would say "if in doublt - check it out" xx Caroline
I was very fortunate in the way I was told I had cancer. I had a follow-up appointment with the hospital consultant, he had seen my x-rays and the results of an ultrasound scan of my testicles in the previous two weeks since I last saw him.
He examined me and as I pulled up my pants he said, "You'll be happy to know we have identified your condition, we know what we're dealing with! AND you'll be even happier to know your condition is both treatable and curable."
He invited me to have a seat for a chat and very calmly said that when talking about my condition they had to use the word 'cancer'. In my case, Testicular Cancer.
Well, having already been told that my condition was 'treatable and curable', I really couldn't have cared less what he told me apart from satisfying my curiosity. Nothing that's 'treatable and curable' could be that bad. There was no "Oh S**t! He said 'cancer' - I'm going to die!" moment. We were able to have a proper discussion of what would now happen, surgery the following day to remove the cancerous testicle, and my chemotherapy was booked to begin two weeks later.
By the time of diagnosis my cancer had spread, via my lymph system, to my abdomen, my lungs and my neck. There was one grim moment during treatment when the abdomenal tumour caused internal bleeding to such an extent that I could have 'popped off', but, thanks to the way I was told I had cancer, the possibility of dying didn't exist in my mind. According to some psychiatrists I've spoken to this could possibly have made the crucial difference which means that eight years later I'm sitting at the computer typing this.
Nowadays a cancer diagnosis is not an automatic 'death sentence'!
It took me months of going back and forth to the doctors before they took me seriously. I was only 31 and kept being told I was constipated. I had severe stomach pains and problems going to the toilet. Eventually a blood test was done (reluctantly!) which showed inflammation and infection in the bowel. I had lost loads of weight and just wanted to sleep all the time. I was told to go straight to the hospital where I spent a week being poked and prodded about before they finally diagnosed bowel cancer. I had a major operation to remove part of my lower colon and as it had taken so long to diagnose, the tumour had attached itself to my bladder and left ovary. I was devastated. Moreso at losing an ovary. All I ever wanted was children. I had three months of chemotherapy (5FU) which was administered through a pump which was attached to me 24hrs a day. Awful, could't sleep properly and had difficulty showering.
Well. that was 4 years ago now and I have just had my checkup and everything seems to be in order <img class="emoticon" src="http://test.cancerchat.org.uk/clearspacex/images/emoticons/happy.gif" border="0" alt="" /> ........ still trying for a family though! <img class="emoticon" src="http://test.cancerchat.org.uk/clearspacex/images/emoticons/sad.gif" border="0" alt="" />
Definately agree with your comments about if in doubt get it checked out.......so many people are embarrassed about their bottoms - they shouldn't be..... any sign of something wrong - get to your doctors and push to be taken seriously if you are similar age to me.
Take Care. x
I had noticed blood in my stools on and off for a while and decided to go and see my doctor. She told me not to worry about it as I had diverticula and haemorroids which sometimes bleed....Not happy with that I made an appointment with another doctor who sent me for tests at the local hospital.
I was lucky to be called a few days afterwards: someone had cancelled and I could have a colonoscopy that week. I heard the person who started it say the words consultant and biopsy almost immedaitely. I was told I had a polyp in my bowel and that it needed to be investigated. Three biopsies didn't reveal anything. I had various scans (MRI, CT, ultra sound) and various X-rays. I couldn't have chemo or radio therapy as all tests were inconclusive but the consultant was insisting that it looked and felt 'suspicious' - so he recommended surgery which I agreed to have. The operation was at the end of October. I recovered fairly quickly from the operation. The scar healed well and I went home after 5 days.
What bothered me the most was that, because the tumour was low in the bowel, I had to have a colostomy. I got upset a few times at first, especially the 1st time I had to change the bag on my own at 3 am...BUT I am due to have this reversed very soon. Let's hope the op goes well.
I started chemo in December (Capecitabine Xeloda - in tablet form) and finished at the end of May. The side effects have been unpleasant at times but not unbearable. I have tried to stay positive all along - and succeeded most of the time: friends and colleagues tell me I never looked ill.
I consider myself very lucky. And grateful to my consultant. Apart from the bleeding, I had had no other symptom. I felt healthy, went to the gym 3 times a week, never took any medicine apart from the occasional paracetamol for headache etc. The tumour was taken out. Only one lymph node had been affected but 14 neighbouring ones were taken away for good measure. The joint has healed well and hopefully the chemo has mopped up any remaining nasty stuff.
My advice to anyone who notices blood in their stools:
1.Don't delay, go and see a doctor asap, and insist you need a test if they are dismissive.
2.Try not to be too self-conscious. You do get used to people speaking of - and to - your bottom!
Hi Everyone.I had a routine mammogram in the summer of 2003 at the age of 51.it was all clear.In the early part of 2004 I began to feel generally unwell and not quite 'in-step' with life. Have always checked my breasts and in August 2004 I was routinely checking my breasts and to my horror found a large lump just under my left nipple.I just knew it was cancer. I was on the Doctor's doorstep the next morning and the receptionist sensing my fear got me an appointment with my G.P. that morning.My G.P. felt the lump easily and re-assured me that I would be seen within 2 weeks by a Specialist. Ten days later, I was at the hospital (with my darling husband),anxiuosly waiting for another mammogram and to see the Specialist. After the mammogram,we were taken into the consulting room and we were both shown the mammogram of my left breast with a black lump under the nipple. I was t there and then given a biopsy but the Specialist told us straight away that I had breast cancer and we immediately were given the date of September 23rd 2004 for my lumpectomy.So, you can see that screening one year was fine but within a year I was dealing with a tumour, which when I was operated on turned out to be 2!The cancer is fast growing and had gone to my lymph nodes (some of which were removed too) and then out into my blood stream. I ask you all to get screened when invited and to know your body. Don't take no for an answer and have a 'cancer buddy' who will attend appointments and be there to take in information that you may not be able to. There followed my treatment which really is another story! But I'm still here!
My story started back in April 1995.Pretty much like imabloke i found a lump in my neck that wasnt there the previous day.Id just had a dose of food poisning a week before and thought .as you do it was something to do with that.
Anyway a week or so later the lump was still with me,although i have to add at this stage it was more an annoyance than anything else,not even causing me any pain...so like youve mentioned,being a bloke it will go away.IT DIDNT !
I spoke to my GP,who just shrugged said it wasnt anything to worry about and gave me a prescription for paracetamol...Bloody good idea that was...did wonders for my headache but never touched my lump.After about 3 weeks the lump was getting bigger and by now was a little sore so i pestered my gp again and got the same reply,but by now i was a little more concerned as he didnt know what to say so I asked for a 2nd opinion,which i got but that doctor was still unsure what it was....That was when i blew a major fuse and said if 2 doctors dont know what it is...HOW ABOUT THEY FIND SOMEONE WHO MIGHT HAVE A CLUE.
I was shipped off for a test at my local hospital,which involved having a needle stuck into my lump.You may think that firefighters are fearless,tackling blazes,rescuing people etc not a chance!!!!!come near me with a needle that was big enough to draw water out of the ground and its gonna get messy...lol
Once id come down off the ceiling the fluid was sent off and i was told to come back a few days later.
Arriving back at the hospital i was prepared for the worst..what was the worst it could be??? i could have cancer.I was called into the doctors office and told to sit down..he came straight out and told me "youve got Malignamt Melanoma"...i can still hear my answer now...."phew...I thought you was going to tell me ive got cancer"
Well i didnt know MM was cancer,let alone skin cancer...Id always looked at skin cancer as raised moles or crusty bits,but this was just a lump under the skin.
Never be fooled by what you read all the time.As someones already said...we all know our own bodies so we know if somethings not quite right
If you girls grew an extra breast or us blokes grew and extra testicle im pretty sure some gp would pick up on it.im still surprised that when we say sometings not right we're still questioned about it.Moral is if you notice something,mention it.If you dont get a good responce persist.IT DOESNT COST ANYTHING TO BE PERSISTANT AND IT MAY JUST SAVE YOUR LIFE
"Tomorrow's another day, I'll think about it then, it's just a bad cough, work's too busy to go to the doctor, etc, etc". I'm a girl and we are supposed to be better than the boys at facing situations and getting matters resolved! Oops! I had plenty of good reasons not to see my GP. The main reason for putting off the visit was due to a rare blood vessel disorder I have, known as HHT. Because of the lack of capillaries, the smaller arteries and veins meet head on which can result in hemorrhaging and which can also occur in the organs, particularly the lungs and brain. (please note this is a very novice way of describing the disorder). Another bad cough resulted in coughing up blood - the shock was horrific and I really did think it would be due to HHT, although of course cancer did cross my mind. HHT should have been enough reason to visit my GP immediately but no, it was time to put the head in the sand; also to tell the doctor of that coughing up blood didn't seem to fit my image....can you believe that? The cough went, there were no more symptoms and I was well. Never a moment of feeling ill. Eventually I did go to the doctor after another bad cough and the recurrence of previous symptoms. The doctor sent me off for an immediate x ray, (by the way, he didn't question the status of my image) which resulted in several follow up x rays with the final outcome being referred to a chest consultant. NHS was fantastic and there was no delay in getting appointments but I was the one holding things up, my business trips were more important. At last I gave time to be seen and the ball started rolling with many tests being done to try and source the problem. There were symptoms but nothing definite. I was referred to another chest consultant who probed further and wouldn't give up. HHT was confirmed but there was still a problem and swollen lymph nodes in the chest were adding to the mystery. After a number of negative tests a lung needle biopsy was done, still negative in confirming any abnormality other than HHT, which was followed by a open lung biopsy and at last something was found. Hiding behind the recent activity of an HHT hemorrhage, the cancer was found. Five weeks later I had an upper left lobectomy. The swollen nodes proved negative. I believe I am one of the luckiest people in the world to have HHT which gave the symptoms for investigation which discovered the cancer at such an early stage. I was extremely lucky to have a GP who was knowledgeable of HHT and that I have a consultant who would not give up the hunt. Because of them I can tell this story in very good health. We hear it time and time again, never put off any concern you may have......regardless of how small or insignificant a symptom may appear (or because of your image)...I am very lucky and every day I count my blessings.
I found out it was cancer after dogging the Dr's for tests as I had known for a long time there was something wrong, I had enlarged lymph nodes in my chest, and after a mediastinoscopy was phoned at home whilst I was on my own and told I had cancer!
that wasnt a very nice way to be told at all..
i'm not overly impressed by the complete lack of care for your feelings and mental state when you were given the news.
Its always a total shock to the system to be told you have cancer...i was half expecting it..and still felt like someone had electrocuted me with a million volts when the words came out.
I hope all goes well for you. and you are coping with everything now
My journey with cervical cancer began back in 1980 (I was 27 years old) when after having a smear test at my local "Special Clinic" (didn't have the facilities at my GP Surgery then). I was contacted by a person from the Clinic who called at my home address whilst I was at work. I returned to the Clinic to be advised that I had an NSU and advised that a cell had been picked up under the microscope that is normally passed out of the body but it in my case for some reason had decided to stay put. Although not abnormal they advised me to keep an eye on it and to have regular Smear Tests to monitor any changes.
I followed this advise and would show up at the local Special Clinic (usually one close to home) I was often diagnosed with an NSU which apparently masks any changing cells - given antibiotics and repeat the smear test a week later - to be given the all clear until early 1991. By this time I had moved to another part of London and had my ST carried out at my GP Surgery. I received a call from my GP who advised that the result was "abnormal". I was booked very quickly into the Colposcopy Clinic (within a few days). Lying on the table and facing a Doctor who looked like a Miner with a lamp on his head he advised that he would remove the offending abnormal cells and probably save my life into the bargain.
The Biopsy he took proved positive it was Squamous Cell cancer of the cervix. I followed the programe and had all my regular checks and was eventually put back to 3-5 year testing. I didn't give it another thought carried on with my life watched my children grow and produce grandchildren, commenced a career path and became very busy after moving out of London where I still work and travel in and out daily ( 2 hours each way).
I had no signs or symptoms that things were not right until January of this year when after doing what all married couple do I noticed that I had a pinky tinged discharge afterwards. I instinctively knew this wasn't right - not for me. I booked an appointment with a GP at my local Surgery to whom I told all my past history. He advised booking in for a Smear Test - which I did. One week later I met the Nurse and repeated my history - smear test undertaken I was advised that I would need to wait 6-8 weeks for the result, I began to panic. By the time I arrived home my home phone was ringing it was the Nurse after hearing my history had the intuition to pick up on my concerns and discussed my case with another GP who advised referral straight to the Colposcopy Clinic at my local hospital. I was relieved.
Six weeks later I was panicking again - I had not heard. I contacted my GP Surgery 3 times to try and ascertain my results. During this time I receved a hospital appointment for the Gynae Clinic??? On the morning of the appointment my Abnormal Test result came back. I went for the appointment to be told that I would need to be seen in the Colposcopy Clinic - I could have told them that. I checked with the Nurse who sent off the initial referral and she did request that I was seen in Colposcopy?.
Two weeks later lying in the Colposcopy Clinic I was advised that I would need to undergo a Biopsy under general anaesthetic - a hysteroscopy was also to be undertaken. I was sent for external and internal scans and I was assurred that things looked normal. On 30th April I was admitted for these procedures to be told the following day upon discharge that I would need further treatment. I met with the Consultant a week later to obtain the results of my Biopsy ad it wasn't good news - I was being referred to a Specialist Oncologist on Oxford to undergo further treatment.
I explained that I hold down a busy job and would need to plan my exit so it was agreed that I would return to work to plan for my 2-3 months of absence. I was advised that a Specialist Nurse would contact me to go through things only this didn't happen. After 3 weeks of climbing walls visualizing the cancer spreading everywhere I turned to my husband and advised that I would phone the GP to find out what was happening. I didn't have to when I arrived home my husband had gone on the Net and found my Consultant's contact details - I called the following morning. By mid morning the Specialist Nurse called me to advise "I'vebeen meaning to call you" - "Oh and what month would that be?" I replied. Ignoring my sarcasm she proceeded to advise she would call before the end of the day. At 16.30 I called her. She advised that I was to undergo Chemo & Radio Therapy, transport was to be supplied to get me to Oxford every day and I had an appointment with the Consultant Oncologist 2 days later - wow things were moving now.
I met with both of them 2 days later and things were fully explained to me, I was at Stage 2 (which was positive) and would need external and internal Radiotherapy alongside 5 sessions of Chemo at the same time. Three weeks after this I have commenced my treatment - this is my first week and I have another 5 to go. I am positive and I have a good chance of survival - I'm not thinking of anything other than a positive outcome - I have my life waiting for me!!!
My message to everyone is follow your gut instinct - if it isan't right for you be persistent - If I had been more pro-active I might have been through treatment now?
Good Luck and Best Wishes to everyone
I found out i had lung cancer in march 08, I had a reoccurring cold after giving up smoking in oct 07 and i had a dreadful cough, I was going to a nurse every few weeks for support with the stoppin smokin. In december we moved house and one eve i had a pain in my chest when i coughed i said to my husband i think i have pulled a muscle, In January the nurse said it was best to go to see the doctor about my cough which i did and she said it was probably cause i had stopped smoking and the hairs were growing back and more sensitive, In feb i changed doctor as we had moved and couldnt got to the old one anymore (thats where my luck came in) end of feb my cough was awful and colleagues were saying you must go to the doctors again with that, and i was oh yes i will soon they said it could be pnemonia. Eventually 2nd March i went to see the new GP he listened to my chest and gave me strong antibiotics and sent me to the hospital for a chest xray i to go back the following thurs for the results, but on tues the secretary rang and said please come to the surgery at 1 i knew there was something wrong but never gave cancer a thought.
That is when the roller coaster started i live in holland so everything was dealt with real fast (good for me) i was by a lung specialist two days later who told me i had a large tumour and it was also resting on my ribs, in the folowing week i had a broncoscopy ct scan ,pet scan, brain scan, and lung function tests. The results were : my lymph nodes were hightlightin a bit on one of the results but that can be cause cancer is nearby I was told the following week they would operate on my to see if the lymph were infected with cancer if they were then i would get chemo then an op if not i would get an op then chemo, wow the waiting to know is awful I had to wait 5 days and then they rang me and told me NO they werent and i would be operated on on the 16 April. I had half my left lung and the ends of 3 ribs taken away it was a very big operation and the rib part made it so painful. I had to wait for 2 weeks to find out if they got everything. What a relief and what luck, when we went back to find out they told me i had to have 9 weeks of chemo just for safetey in case any cells had got away.
I am in my 4th week of the chemo now so not feeling so good but am so grateful that my doctor sent me for the xray when he did as the tumour was already the size of a tennis ball. I am finding this real heavy going and cant wait to get through the other side of the chemo to celebrate my life and luck. cazje
interesting twhen you said you half expected bad news ... i have heard that so many times before and it was like that for me too. i knew it was bad news before i was told - but you are right, it is still a schock to hear it said aloud. i do believe that if we could take the time to listen to our bodies, really listen to our bodies, we would know how to look after ouirselves better and be kinder to ourselves. the emotional and physical are so interlinked.
sorry to hear of your frustraion with diagnosis! Seems I am in the same position ,only I am 8 weeks into the process.! So frustrating to get a doctor to listen sometimes and not make u feel thet your fussing about something. Hope your keeping well now!
Hi everyone. My name is Nat, I'm 29 years old and live in London. I have only just joined this site and this is my first posting. It's been interesting reading how other people found out they had cancer and how they reacted. I thought it may help to share my story as I haven't chatted about it yet.
Anyway, at the end of April this year I was working and had a slight migraine. I had managed to get into work, but they insisted I took some time off to get better. The next week I was constantly being sick and still had a headache. By this time it was the first May Bank Holiday, so I had a couple of trips to out of hours GPs. They said it was food poisoning and gave me tablets, even though I insisted I'd eaten nothing dodgy. However, I was still being sick and couldn't keep the tablets down, so I was then admitted into hospital so they could adminster them by a drip.
I stayed in hospital for a week. They then decided that it wasn't food poisoning, but I had an ear infection. Again, I was given medication for my ear and then discharged. Again, my ears weren't hurting, but I trusted the experts
After having a couple of weeks at home (well, at my parents who were looking after me!!) I was still being sick. My mum insisted on taking me back to hosiptal and I again got admitted
This time,the doctor decided to do a scan......thank god he did!! I was wheeled off for a CT scan. After a few minutes the doctor came back and just came straight out and said that the scan showed I had bleeding to the brain and a brain tumour. He explained I needed to be blue lighted by ambulance to a specialist hospital so the tumour could be removed. He came straight to the point and didn't try and talk around it. He was very good as that's what I needed
This was on 22 May 2008. At this point, I just felt relieved and pleased to know what was wrong. I'd spent so long being sick and thinking it was my ears etc that I was so pleased they would now be able to treat me. As I said, for me it was just relief. I didn't cry or get angry, I was just very practical and begun ringing my friends. It's only now I realise how hard it was for them.
I then went to the specialist hospital and on the Friday went down to surgery and they removed the tumour. They did more scans and sent the tumour to the lab. Bad timing by me though!! It was now the second May bank holiday so had to wait a week for the results (usually only a day or two!) . The waiting was frustrating for my family and friends, but I was so tired after having the operation, that I slept most of it. Again, I was also pleased I was now being treated that I think I was expecting cancer but wasn't scared as I was now in the right hands
There was good and bad news. The scan appears to show all the tumour was removed and hasn't spread to the spine. However, it's cancer and is grade 4 which is the worse for this kind of brain one. (which I still can't spell! I know it's long and a lot of waffle, but has been helpful for me to be able to get everything written down. I'm sure I'll be on touch much more, but all the best to everyone here