We (Kevin and I) met with the surgeon on a Thursday afternoon. I liked Dr. Wooten immediately. She was (is) straightforward and compassionate. She explained the findings of the core biopsy… there was cancer found within the mammary ducts of my right breast (ductal cell carcinoma) and there wasn’t a finding of cancer outside of the ducts. This is good news. The grade of the cancer was high (other words for this are very active, or aggressive). This is bad-ish news. The cancer cells don’t have hormone receptors – something called “triple negative”. This is not good or bad news, it just affects the treatment for the cancer (more on that later).
One other piece of the puzzle was that the size of the area of cancer or mass was in question. By mammography it didn’t seem so big, but the ultrasound reported it to be 4 cm in diameter – that’s the diameter of a ping pong ball (I looked it up). Dr. Wooten wondered if they meant 4 mm (smaller than a pea). SO, if the mass was small we could do a lumpectomy followed by radiation and possible chemo. But if the mass was truly 4 cm then we would consider mastectomy.
Either way – we scheduled surgery for a week later. With the possibility that things might change after Dr. Wooten’s weekly breast conference the next day. Yes, there is such a thing as breast conference – where a variety of people (surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, and probably a few others) get together and talk about my breast. Super.
After the breast conference Dr. Wooten called me and said the team suggested further imaging – an MRI – that would help them to define the mass and to identify if there was cancer outside of the ducts. The MRI was scheduled for Monday. See how this went? Diagnosis on Wednesday, met with surgeon on Thursday, breast conference on Friday, MRI on Monday, surgery coming up on Friday. Things were moving so fast! More in the next post…