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Awaiting a Breast Cancer treatment plan...

Re: Awaiting a Breast Cancer treatment plan...

Posted by supersu on Nov 21, 2020 9:01 am


happy for you that your treatment(s)/diagnostic imaging are being scheduled!  what a crazy time this is to be a patient.....here in Alberta things are rolling along, but who knows how long that will last---the COVID #'s in this province are unfathomable and extremely scary!!!!

I did all my treatments thru COVID, so I totally understand how you feel like you have a million questions and no one to ask them to! I called my experience DIY Cancer---ha ha. I spent hours and hours on these forums looking for folks who had sorta the same stuff going on as I did......
my only tip would be to start a notebook and keep a list of your questions and ASK ASK ASK anyone/everyone who you actually get to talk with and eventually your list will be taken care of......

I am a nuclear medicine technologist, (I have been back at work for a short time--yeah),  so I can answer the MUGA question.....it is indeed a heart test---I am NOT A DOCTOR, so anything I tell you from here on, is from one breast cancer patient to another.......

a MUGA and/or BONE SCAN are not uncommon nuclear medicine diagnostic imaging exams ordered for a breast cancer patient when gathering information about you pre treatments.

the MUGA is an easy one, tho it does take a little time.....a small sample of your blood is made visible to our detectors by 'labelling the red blood cells' with a radioactive tracer.  you then recline on an imaging table and the detector, (camera), is placed at a couple of different angles around your chest for images that last anywhere from 5-10 minutes each. 

a BONE SCAN is also super easy....one quick injection of the radioactive tracer and then you go and have a coffee/breakfast/whatever to return 2.5 hours later.  the detectors then pass over your body while you recline on the bed.

YOU will be AWESOME....no need to worry about your fitness level....neither of these tests require you to be active, and you won't look or feel differently afterwards.  yeah!!!!

all of the pre treatment testing, CT's/US's/NUC MED stuff are so that your doctors can get a sense of where you are starting from.....

I did notice you also said you felt some lumps on the other breast --- not sure if they looked at both of your breasts, but you really should ensure your doc knows about this.....

let us know how things progress and ask ALL the questions---it is your body and you deserve to know what everything means and why you are being tested......

have a great weekend

Re: Awaiting a Breast Cancer treatment plan...

Posted by Kims1961 on Nov 21, 2020 10:45 am

elle29‍  Welcome to this awesome community.

You have some great questions and supersu‍ provided some great responses.

I  was diagnosed in 2017 with IDC. As my cancer was on my left side, and they didn’t get clear margins, i had chemo and radiation.  The Muga test, which i did every 6 months during treatment was one of the easiest tests to do - almost relaxing!  supersu‍  described the test very well!

They take special care with treatment and locations of cancers to try and minimize any damage to other organs - particularly the heart - so sounds like they are being diligent with you .  You mentioned lumps in your other breasts? I agree with supersu‍  that is definitely worthy of a call to your doctor, just to be on the safe side. It may be nothing but this could change the treatment plan.

You mentioned about being scared , so i am glad you have reached out here.  You are not alone in these feelings.  Hopefully reaching out here will help, but also as you move forward with your treatment, it may be more empowering to feel like you have some control and knowledge.  Once i was connected with the oncologist and my cancer centre, it was easier to get my questions answered.  Many cancer centres also have social work staff who are excellent with the mental health journey of cancer.  Your mental health is important to!

You have done an excellent job of posting your questions and concerns.  Please continue to do so, or ask again if we didn’t get to your question. CCS also have Cancer Information Specialist - that you can call and talk to a LIVE person!  They can be helpful too.

Welcome - thank you for posting.  We are here!  Kim

Her2+, ER+ Bilateral mastectomy in 2017, followed by chemo and radiation. Mack and Hannah's mom

Re: Awaiting a Breast Cancer treatment plan...

Posted by KJR on Nov 23, 2020 8:18 pm

Since you are knowledgable, can you comment on whether a PET scan is better able to detect cancers than other procedures. With thanks

Re: Awaiting a Breast Cancer treatment plan...

Posted by Kuching on Nov 24, 2020 9:30 am

Hi KJR‍ .  I think your post was probably aimed at supersu‍ , so I’m tagging her in case she missed it.  And while I’m here, I might as well add my (completely non-professional) two cents.

The pecking order seems to be X-ray, then CAT scan, then PET scan.  Xrays will show a tumour as a blob, but not whether it’s cancerous.  Then the CAT scan shows things more clearly, and they can often tell if it’s cancer just by the shape and general appearance of the tumour.  The PET scan works differently, it actually lights up areas of high glucose activity, which can be an indication of cancerous cells.  

In my case (lung cancer), the X-ray showed a suspicious blob, the CAT scan showed that it looked like cancer, and the PET scan showed hot spots where it had spread to lymph nodes and hip bone.  But I had a separate MRI for the brain, because apparently there’s so much glucose in your brain that the PET scan can’t pick out cancer from the general activity.  

Hope this helps, and hope I got it right!

Re: Awaiting a Breast Cancer treatment plan...

Posted by elle29 on Nov 24, 2020 3:12 pm

Everyone bless u & heartfelt 💕 grateful for giving your time with cancer yourselves . "As a woman ,mother ,  grandmother I am very comfortable with my body , but naturally guarded ." 
To read my long anxious posts of many questions that academic data misses in gaps of those in this reality & personal experience . And yet still be objective & proactive . I am tired of DYI since childhood on my own no siblings & to use COVId measures to more obstruct access to some of us when we need the community to relax , accept & move forward "sucks ❗️" Drains my my calm & peace in this .
 I do better with sisters , a group friends , a team .
Everything is obviously new to all of us in this ,  to their cancer or where they live or have to travel to address this . At each new stage I feel panicked overwhelmed . I have handled enough on my own in a lifetime . I miss my friends I left behind to be with my young family . My friends of all ages of a Christian community that accepted , loved ,encouraged and that supported , keeping u strong . Tired of not having access isolating us more . I do not at all mind being alone but during this COVId cancer it like being abandoned , everyone for themselves .  It's enough mindful subjectively experiencing this , interpret , or personal baggage of previous experience with uncovering a disease like cancer yet having a goal to have a baby conceived & born . The cancer being more hidden disguised a something else previously experienced of a doctors or communities approach to treat women of their own agenda in a fellowship advances to keep intrusively examine you. Not know or be nformed or living with symptoms , or lack of community or network to confirm what's going on or a choice .
Yet in the midst of it the cancer diagnosis or lack of access & still left wondering to keep informed like COVId too . To what if's or to know the terminology to be able to interpret this all , let alone discuss this in person Ie with a general surgeon or specialist  . Some like my own mother who is blind , elderly , an intelligent professional handling their own home with very few limitations, or warmest no of knowing to access or community . Having to do with this only just in the process ongoing themselves and uncovering lack of care dealing with fighting to stay in their own home supported . While not accepting technology to better their independence & family supports better , but a radio 📻 & old phone ☎️ . Few willing people once connected from business association  .  
I found when you need time or frequency to deal with access , as I had with women doctors to be direct , beautiful as u are to interpret wht you need medically  . I did not have the words to ask but was immediately to the best of my FP waiting like everyone of the what is this new national matter we r being alerted to have to know . What is this unbelievable information I got only through media with no workplace or lack of community here . In a lockdown , measures we have to very aware process of COVId measures to see her tell her my lump was hurting , seemed bigger . being sent to the surgeon or something with those involved medically as your Specialist   . And find the front line secretaries or reception who work for the doctors or even see your own obstructs or blocks this access for medical care. Which has been my experience and being denied that access or info when asking is highly unusual  . Told things like Ie read the handout papers, or your Dr did not give a referral which was untrue  , Truely I d rather not be panicked . I had contacted Counsellors who Ie at the Oncology Cancer Centre whom a counsellor stated they do not do weekly call concerns, so thnks for link.  I guess anxieties ,or panic can be a driving force but u do not want to reveal, nor have this interfere or clouding nor bombarding your interaction with specialists and get to what's a priority & important . So busy reading up on my cancer priority .
Today I was just made aware by my daughter who arranged to be here and just told me we are now in newer measures to be in our own homes with only one ☝️ or two others we re use to in our on homes . Told by Dr Bonnie Henry last week I missed knowing.,And here some of us have to go expose ourselves more in hospitals have procedures or surgeries etc or get there as you do in snow winter weather I left behind  . Thank-you kindly for recent acknowledgment of ongoing support to understand this and your courage however to keep strong 💪 as friends in this together . 

Re: Awaiting a Breast Cancer treatment plan...

Posted by elle29 on Nov 24, 2020 6:57 pm

I am so sorry : Some time the thumb slips over a fracture on my iPad . Where is the undo icon here . A red line appeared ❓☝️How to undo what was lost by accidental thumb placement . Something went wrong text lost, blocked accidentally but ....
.......many blessed & grateful thanks in this , CCS connection who have responded .How do I find the Forums ❓🙏 elle29


Re: Awaiting a Breast Cancer treatment plan...

Posted by supersu on Nov 25, 2020 7:24 am

Kuching‍ & KJR‍ 

re: pet scans --- exactly right!  I tell folks its like puzzle pieces, often more than one piece, (or test), is needed to see a complete picture.  

we are all non-expert 'experts' by the time we are through our treatments!

stay well

Re: Awaiting a Breast Cancer treatment plan...

Posted by Essjay on Nov 25, 2020 7:57 am

elle29‍ You asked about how to find the forums, but you are posting in the forums?

To find them on the Cancerconnection.ca site, click on the ‘hamburger’ (the three horizontal lines on the top right), a menu will appear on the left with ‘dashboard, forums, groups....’ as options.

Forums is the second option, and you click on there and the forums are listed.

Hope this helps

Triple Negative Breast Cancer survivor since July 2018