How do I know post surgery if cancer is going anywhere
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in Dec 2007 getting a bilateral mastectomy in March 2008. All of my adult life I was diligent in doing self exams monthly and started getting mammograms at age 35 (heavy family rate on both sides). I kept finding lumps and always came back just cysts then a year or so before the diagnosis the lump this time came back very abnormal although not cancerous. The breast surgeon said it no longer was whether or not I would get it but now how soon due to the cells reproducing so rapidly. I now had to go for mammograms and physical exam with my doc every 6 months. I went the first one and it was fine but 4 months later I found the lump that had NOT been there the month before so went for a mammogram then an ultrasound then a fine needle biopsy with the diagnosis of cancer. So fast. They did a partial and "felt" they got it all but after meeting with my oncologist, my breast surgeon, my doctor and my family it was mutually agreed that I would have the bilateral mastectomy which came 3 months after the diagnosis.
It has now been 20 months since the surgery and I wake up in sweats worrying about now what do I do???? All these years (I am now 53)I could keep a handle on things by being in control with the self exams etc. But now I no longer have breasts to check. People kept telling me they got all the breast tissue so I can't get it again. Yes but once you have cancer the cells will always be there. How do I know that one little cell move from the breast or was just off the marker one iota of a smidgen ? I can't go for mammograms because I no longer have breasts. So how do I get checked now? Are they others on here that have gone through.. how did you deal with it?
What is the next step? As mentioned earlier, I have a strong familial history of cancer with the average life span following diagnosis of 18 months and the longest anyone has lived has been 5 years and 2 months. I keep getting told that I should just go back to the doctor if I have pain or feel ill or anything. Well I didn't have pain or feel ill before when I was diagnosed!!! If I wait till then in all probability will be too late.
I am all ears to any advice. Thanks for listening
Cancer Council NSW would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work.We would also like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all other Aboriginal people.