What does it mean

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Iv just had the letter that goes to my doctor arrive. It says I have pleomorphic invasive lobular carcinoma. At my follow up appointment on the 1st of November I wasn’t told that word pleomorphic. Was just told ILC at the beginning 11/08/23 Iv had full clearance and lumpectomy 29/09/23 but need more surgery on the 30/11/23 because it’s in margins. But Iv googled the word pleomorphic and it’s not good out come :( I’m scared now I haven’t got long I’m 39 and just over whelmed now. As thought I was gonna be ok with radiotherapy now this word x

  • Hi Kirstymarie,

    Thank you for getting in touch with Macmillan Cancer Support. My name is Anne, and I am one of the Nurses on the Support Line. I’m sorry to read of your recent diagnosis of breast cancer and understand this must be a difficult time for you. I’m glad you have reached out to us for more support, and I hope you have found our online community welcoming.

    Googling medical information is not always helpful. It often just causes more worry! However, I understand the need to make sense of your report, particularly when there was a term you hadn’t come across before. Invasive lobular cancer (ILC) starts in the glands in the breast that produce milk. Invasive means the cancer has spread into the surrounding breast tissues. Pleomorphic invasive lobular carcinoma is a ‘subtype’ of ILC as the cells look different from classic ILC cells. The cells may be larger and the cells’ nuclei (the core of each cell which contains its genetic material) may look different from each other.

    It may be worth giving your Breast Care Nurse a call to discuss your concerns. They are well placed to have a discussion with you about your results and can explain them in more detail. Here on the Support Line, we do not have access to NHS records so it’s important you speak to someone from your healthcare team, so you have a full understanding of your diagnosis and prognosis.

    I understand you require further surgery as the margin around the cancer is not clear. This can be frustrating, but it is important to obtain clear margins to help reduce the risk of the cancer returning.

    Coping with a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. There is lots of support out there, but it can be difficult to know where to begin looking. If you would like to find support in your local area, you can input your postcode here. Also, we are in partnership with BUPA who are providing specialist emotional support over the phone. If this is something you feel may benefit you, you can register for an assessment appointment online.

    Take care for now,

    Anne - Cancer Information Nurse Specialist

    You can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or send us an email.

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