Another primary in other breast.

Hi. Ive had a second mastectomy on the left side and they sent it off for tests. It came back as i had another primary tumor in that breast aswell. I have asked for a scan on the lymph nodes just to be sure it hasnt spread. The original primary was in my right breast and that spread to the bones. Can they be sure which primary spread when the cancer is in the lobules where it is hard to detect? I cant make sence of it or get my head round it. 

  • Hi lily0403,

    Thanks for getting in touch with us.

    I see from your activity that this was found when your breast tissue was sent to the pathology labs after having a bilateral mastectomy and reconstruction. This must have come as a huge shock to you and a bolt out the blue.

    Doctors always routinely send breast tissue from the opposite breast. Not because they think that there is a cancer it’s just to make sure. In my experience (I was a BCN for over 15 years) I can recall this happening to three patients.

    However, I understand that being told something is rare can make things feel scary. Hearing this news can naturally make you feel overwhelmed. It’s hardly any wonder that you’re finding it difficult to get your head round what’s happening.

    The only way that the doctors will know for sure what breast cancer has spread to your bones is to do a biopsy of the bone.

    However, it would be more likely to be from your original breast cancer as I suspect that your new second breast cancer is small and less likely to have spread.

    It’s important that you bear in mind that this new cancer has been removed. And from what you’re saying it sounds like a very early one.

    Now that the doctors know this they will want to discuss your pathology and results at another MDT to work out what is the best treatment plan for you. The priority for your doctors will still be to make sure that your secondary breast cancer is being kept under control. But at the same time, they will consider whether different treatments are needed to treat any potential breast cancer cells that may be elsewhere from this new primary breast cancer.

    It can be helpful to give your breast care nurse a call. It’s okay to let her know how you’re feeling. She should be able to go over what the doctors have said again and to organise that you have time to ask questions when you see your specialist.

    It can also help to take this time to think about what you want to ask. Keeping a notepad and pen handy at all times, so that you can write things down when they come into your head. Having one at the side of your bed is useful as often it’s in the wee small hours of the morning that things come into your mind.

    I see that you’re trying to talk to others who have been in a similar situation. Sometimes when something is rarer, it can be difficult to find someone. But not impossible, you might find it helpful to widen your search. Breast cancer care have an online forum you can join too.

    There are more people diagnosed in the USA with breast cancer than here in the UK. Therefore, you might find it easier to find someone with a similar situation to talk to. This American breast cancer Online Community may be helpful to look at too.

    Sometimes it can help to talk to one of our nurses about what is happening. If you think that would be helpful to do, then you can call our Support Line. We are open Monday to Friday 9am till 8pm. Our contact number is 0808-808-0000.

    Best wishes and take care

    Ellen-Macmillan Online Digital Nurse Specialist.

    Ellen-Macmillan Cancer Information Nurse