What is the next step? Surgery on October 7th to remove the lump. During the surgery they also test my lymph nodes to see if the cancer has spread (my MRI showed no signs of the cancer spreading but they still test because the MRI doesn't always pick up small groups cells). Surgery will be followed up by a doctor's appointment on October 13th where we will learn the results of the pathology of the tumor, additional details on the lymph nodes, if I am a candidate for partial radiation and next steps.
FAQ's:How was the tumor detected? My doctor felt a lump during my annual gynecology exam. So ladies, do your self breast exams....because had I done mine I would have felt this lump long before it was discovered.
Does breast cancer run in your family? I have an aunt who had breast cancer and was treated with lumpectomy, radiation and chemo and never had another recurrence. However, my cancer is not genetically related.
How long does the surgery take? 1.5 hours and I get to go home the same day.
What does the surgery consist of? Removing the tumor and doing a full pathology. The surgery also involves removing some of the nearby lymph nodes to see if the cancer has spread (my MRI showed no signs of cancer in the lymph nodes, but they still have to check anyway).
How long is the recovery from surgery? About a week and involves pain that can typically be managed by over the counter tylenol. Brad technically gets to be my slave for the week. ;) I'm told I will feel like I can do more than I should. So it sounds like I'll be watching a lot of TV and reading trying to avoid overdoing it and boredom.
Why is radiation needed? Once the lump is removed during the surgery radiation is necessary to kill any stray cancer cells that may have broken off from the tumor.
What is full radiation? This radiates the entire breast and is done once a day 5 days a week (M-F) for 7 weeks. Side effects are a sunburn effect on the skin and fatigue.