So my biopsy was around lunch time on Tuesday, and I got a call early Thursday morning from the pathologist. That didn’t take long, which is usually the case when someone has a serious problem. Turns out the biopsy, both the breast and lymph node, were positive for invasive mammary carcinoma with lobular features. Great – now I have a name and I can start Googling some specific facts, instead of just the generic breast cancer information.
I was scheduled to meet Dr. Engel, the breast surgeon, the next day so we could start talking about treatment. Turns out the tumor was estrogen and progesterone negative, but HER2 positive. Not a great thing, since now I can’t use hormone therapy and HER2 positive cancer tend to be more aggressive. But, there is a drug (Herceptin) that treats HER2 positive breast cancer (improving five-year survival rates from 20% to 67%), and at least it isn’t triple negative.
Dr. Engel was very reassuring and willing to answer all our questions. I appreciate the fact that Erie, PA is a small enough city that I will have specific doctors on my cancer treatment team, as opposed to whoever available within the practice. At the same time, Erie’s big enough that we have some options for surgeons and specialists. Dr. Chan and his nurses recommended Dr. Engel. I had no prior information about the two breast surgeons in town, but I figured if I appreciated working with one team, I’d probably appreciate any doctor they could recommend.
After meeting with Dr. Engel, I had a bunch of tests and meetings scheduled. I will have surgery to put in a port so they can start chemotherapy ASAP. I also will get a breast MRI to look for any abnormalities in the left breast and a PET scan to see if there’s any spread throughout the body. I’ll meet with the nurse navigator and then the oncologists. Busy couple of weeks ahead.