Has anyone had their blood vessels somehow checked to see if cancer cells have migrated there? So far, only sentinel lymph node biopsy has been offered to me (they came out clear) but I keep reading how cancer cells can travel thru lymph and blood vessels. Maybe post-surgery pathology covers this but results have never been discussed with me.
@MissKitty Thank you for your post. Once you have been diagnosed with cancer, you want to make sure that everything is checked to ensure that nothing was missed. I totally understand.
First, the fact that your sentinel nodes are clear of cancer is a very good sign. Think of “sentinel” like the soldiers you see on tv who are like the lookouts. If the bad guys (cancer) don't get by them, the people behind those soldiers can feel comfortable that they are relatively safe. If the sentinels are breached, then it's possible for someone to get by. If your sentinel nodes were breached then additional nodes would be checked to see how far any intruder has gotten. If the second round of defense (axillary nodes) then the odds are that the cancer has not spread further into your body. So, if the first barrier is in place, odds are that there has not be a breach any further, but no one really knows for sure. You just have to feel comfort in the odds.
I can't speak to cancer being in your blood. I just try not to think about everything unless I have to.
I am glad to read your sentinel nodes were clear. @cancertakesflight provided a very informative response so I do not have a lot to add.
Surgical pathology reports for lumpectomies and mastectomies usually indicate whether or not there was lymphovascular invasion (cancer cells in small blood vessels or lymph vessels surrounding a tumour) or perineural invasion (cancer cells in the space around the nerves surrounding a tumour).
Either of the two may be a route of transmission of cancer cells to other parts of the body. However, if a pathology report indicates lymphovascular invasion or perineural invasion, this does not mean a patient has metastatic cancer. The cancer may still be contained locally and highly curable.
Wishing you the best possible outcome with your treatments. We are here for you!
@cancertakesflight @S2020 Thank you for your help! I love having folks like you in this community. I did also go back over the recording from my appointment with the medical oncologist. It seems that the treatment he is offering me is to help kill off any breast cancer cells that may have travelled around my body via blood vessels. He said that at present, there is no test to determine if this type of cancer cell movement is happening or not (but a test is being worked on and may be available in 15+ years!)