This week has been enlightening. After numerous appointments with radiation specialists, surgeons and oncologist we are a little better informed. Cindy's cancer is an invasive ductile carcinoma with triple negative receptors. If a woman develops breast cancer, the cancer cells are tested for the presence of three receptors: estrogen, progesterone, and human epidermal growth factor 2 (HER2). Oncologists generally use these receptors or markers to guide their treatment decisions.
In Cindy's case , there are two lesions. One relatively large lump in the left breast and a second in the lymph nodes, most likely the sentinel node. Ductile carcinoma is a fairly common form of breast cancer, however the triple negative receptor factor, or T3 is a bit more rare and presents an added challenge in treatment. It is a good thing the HER2 is negative but the fact that the estrogen and progesterone receptors are negative means that the type of chemotherapy given is unable to be specifically targeted towards an individual form of cancer. Triple negative tends to be a bit more aggressive thus resulting in the larger tumor in a short amount of time. The good news is that statistical results show T3 tends to respond well to chemotherapy.
In order to monitor the effectiveness of the chemotherapy on the tumor it is highly recommended that pre-operative chemotherapy be given, especially to those with T3. This will allow the Doctors to monitor the effectiveness of the chemo to kill the cancer cells and also shrink the tumor. So....
On Tuesday - June 23 Cindy will begin chemotherapy treatment. This will last for four months. Once completed surgery will follow approximately 2-3 weeks later in order to remove the remaining tumor and lymph nodes. This will then be followed by approximately 6 weeks of radiation.
Yes Cindy will lose her hair. (But her good friend Karen has already taken her to have her portrait taken!) She will be extremely fatigued and will need naps and early to bed. She remains positive, faithful and humble in her attitude. Cindy is a fighter and does not allow difficult challenges to get in her way. (Even trees stripped of their bark. More on this in a later blog!)
Cindy is grateful for the support and love of family and friends. She LOVES reading your comments on her blog and getting your emails. Visits are important and needed, we simply ask that you keep them somewhat brief. Thank you all for your care. Cindy may be in the ring doing the main fighting but all of us surround her with love and support. You go girl!
Posted by Libby