Just found out today that my 78-year-old grandmother has breast cancer. To say I’m stunned would be an enormous understatement.
We’ve never experienced this in my family before, and I am at a loss of even what to make of the diagnosis.
On one hand, they’re saying it’s Stage 1 cancer with two “pebbles”, one on the outer side of the breast (near the lymph nodes, I would assume) and the other is on the inner side of the breast (I’m guessing near the other breast).
They say her other breast is clear.
They also say they are invasive cancer cells. How can it be Stage 1 and invasive? I thought by definition Stage 1 of a cancer meant it hadn’t spread. If the cells are invasive, how can it be Stage 1? Does that just mean that the cells are an invasive kind, but they haven’t spread yet?
Anyway, sorry to hit you with this e-mail and these questions, but to be honest, with your health knowledge and the fact that you aren’t a “mainstream” medical professional like my aunt and uncle, you are the first person who came to mind when I found this out. I wanted to know where you’d point me to learn more.
I am wary of so many medical organizations, because there are biases everywhere.
Thanks in advance,
I am so sorry to hear about this news. But there is good news.
First, postmenopausal breast cancer is not uncommon, which makes the prognosis generally better. Stage 1 and invasive means that the cells may be invasive, but they aren’t doing anything yet.
Second, I would hope very much that they would offer her a mastectomy (I’m not sure I would be comfortable with a lumpectomy if the cells are invasive and I was also in my 7th decade) without radiation or chemotherapy. Oftentimes with postmenopausal CA, this is protocol.
Lastly, if it makes you feel any better, my grandmother had breast CA also, postmenopausal – very similar to what you speak of. In fact, I was the one who told her she should get the small pebbly lump she came to show me (since I was the only one in the family in the medical field) – checked out. She did end up choosing a mastectomy with reconstruction – no chemo, radiation. That was 20 years ago. 🙂 She is still doing fine today.
I would encourage her to go to a well respected center for cancer treatment – and to let her know that what she eats DOES matter during cancer treatment. Here are a few links from my website on cancer-fighting.
Much love and prayers for you and your grandma,