Breast cancer - left mastectomy and axillary node clearance

Hi, I have oestrogen positive breast cancer and had a left side mastectomy and reconstruction with full axillary node clearance just under two weeks ago. I’ve been told I will need chemo (then radiotherapy) but they need to wait 2/3 weeks for the results to come back from the tumour and nodes they removed. Does anybody know what they are checking for?

  • Hi hope you are ok.  I had breast cancer 3 years ago. Had a lumpectomy and some lymph nodes removed.  When they did mine they checked the tissue removed to make sure it was all removed and the lymph nodes to see if it had spread to them. So probably just checking to make sure it has all been removed and not spread to lymph nodes.  I then had radiotherapy and have been on tamoxifen for three years. Hope all goes well for you.

  • Thank you and thanks for your reply. They did biopsies from my tumour and lymph nodes before I had my mastectomy and told me that there was cancer in the lymph nodes although as they have removed all the lymph nodes during surgery maybe it’s to check how many of them are affected. I suppose that might affect what chemo I need. It’s all very new for me at the moment, everything has happened so quickly and there seems to be so much to take in. I hope all is going well for you. 

  • Hi. I also have oestrogen positive breast cancer, grade 3, stage 2. I had a right side mastectomy (on 3rd op) and full auxiliary node clearance (at 2nd op). I am starting chemo today, which will be followed by radiotherapy and hormone therapy.  When I had my axillary node clearance, they were checking how many nodes contained cancer cells, which will inform the treatment. I had 3 positive nodes in total (including those identified at sentinel node biopsy).  They will also check that all of the cancer is contained within the tissue that they have removed.  
    My chemo is ECP, with EC given three weekly for 3 doses followed by P weekly for 9 doses. It’s such a lot of information to take in all of the time so my advice would be to take it one stage at a time and just deal with what is happening now, although I found the waiting for results the worse as this leaves time for your mind to run riot. Good luck with your results and your treatment.

  • Thank you, that makes sense. You’re right about the waiting for results. I’ve been quite positive so far and I think the fact that everything has happened so fast has helped as I haven’t had a lot of time to dwell on things but now sitting at home waiting is sending my mind into overdrive! I also started looking at the internet but decided that was a bad idea as it was just stressing me out.

    I hope your treatment goes well and thank you for your reply and your advice.