CT results

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In December I was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer, with metastasis in my bones and my brain. I have had 6 cycles of doxytaxol and radiotherapy. 2 weeks ago I saw my oncologist and they had my brain scan results because which showed significant reduction and also all my blood work lookes great. My tumour markers are 'normal'. My oncologist explained to me that all is looking great but made me another appointment as my CT results of my body where still not back. He assured me not to worry as my tumour markers are normal etc. Today, a new oncologist phoned me (the previous one has left) with these results and explained that it shows the cancer in my hones has responded to the chemo. However, he then went on to say I have a soft tissue mass on my right lung- this was not previously there. He said he was confused as all my other results are so good but will take it to the MDT meeting and then get back to me. This has petrified me as it was so unexpected. Could this really be cancer? How has it grown whilst I was having active chemo? I had a chest infection the week before my scan, could it be that that has caused this? Knowing my oncologist is confused and not having the answers is really unnerving. Also, not knowing when theh will discuss this is unsettling too. What will it mean if it is in my lung? I have 2 children, chemo was horrendous and I don't know how my 9year old will cope again as she took it so badly already. I've gone from being on cloud 9 with amazing results to feeling like I can't breathe with fear 

  • Hi Jessd,

    Thanks for getting in touch, and welcome to our online community.

    My name’s Karla, I’m one of the Cancer Information Nurse Specialists on the Macmillan Support Line.

    It sounds like you and your family have coped with so much since your diagnosis in December. After your amazing response to the chemotherapy and radiotherapy, nothing could have prepared you for the call about a soft tissue mass on your lung.

    Getting this news understandably creates more questions than gives answers. We can’t say what could be causing this mass, only your consultant can do that. But we’ll try to point you in the right direction.

    Soft tissue masses can be benign (not cancerous) or cancerous. These masses can sometimes be caused by infection. And yes, it would be unusual for a cancerous mass to grow while you’re having treatment that’s worked so well for you.

    I appreciate how unnerving it feels with your oncologist not having the answers just now. It seems these results were as unexpected for him as it was for you.

    The multidisciplinary team meetings (MDTs) usually take place every week. As your consultant didn’t explain when your results would be discussed and when they’d be back in touch, we’d recommend calling their secretary or your nurse specialist to ask. Sometimes when you know what you’re aiming for, it can help relieve some of the anxiety.

    The MDT needs to decide and plan what happens next. It’s not always possible to diagnose the cause of a mass on the first scan. Your consultant may recommend follow up scans to see if it changes over time. Sometimes a biopsy may be recommended.

    If it is cancer, your consultant would consider if any further treatment is needed now or whether you’d be monitored closely with a view to further treatment at some time in the future.

    Trying to protect your kids from difficult news, worry and distress is natural. Giving them the chance to talk openly about their fears and worries is important. It can be hard knowing how best to support them. Trust your instincts and continue to be the mum you always have been.

    I’m not sure what support your 9yr old daughter had or was offered during your treatment. We’d recommend talking to the school and your hospital team in case there’s additional support they can offer if any more treatment is needed.

    It’s worth having a look at our information about talking to children and also these resources to support you and your children. There may be something that’s not been considered yet that could help.

    You’ve had a lot to get your head around in a short space of time and it’s ok to feel the way you do. There are no right or wrong ways to cope with something like this. If you find you’re having more days when you’re feeling low rather than good, we’d recommend talking to your GP or hospital team about getting some help. You can also access emotional support through Macmillan like free counselling.

    Many people really benefit from being able to speak to someone who truly knows how they feel. I’m glad you’ve found our online community where you can get advice and support from others who can understand what you’re going through. Particularly in our secondary breast cancer group. The support and understanding offered there can be very valuable.

    The information and support from Breast Cancer Now may also be useful.

    Sometimes it can help to give us a call and talk through what’s happening and how you’re feeling. You can also get back in touch here.

    Best wishes, Karla

    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. 

     

    Ref: KS/RH