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How were you told you have cancer?

Re: How were you told you have cancer?

Posted by Elsie13 on May 16, 2020 11:11 pm

In July 2016, I went to see my family doctor as I though I might have irritable bowel syndrome. The doctor sent me for an ultrasound. When I was having the ultrasound, the technician asked me if it would be OK if she called the on-site doctor in to take a look.  (Who would say NO to that?)  So the doctor comes in and the technician says, something like "well this big one here, it's in the middle, so how can I mark on the chart, Left, or Right?"  So I knew there was a problem.

      Then after a couple of weeks I was back at the family doctor, who said there would be more tests, to see if it was cancer. In any case I would need surgery to remove large ovarian cysts.   So over the next couple of months I had a CT,  another ultrasound and then a second CT. They said only with surgery would they know if it was cancer. 

I had the surgery in mid November.  They told me once I was opened up, a sample from the cyst(s) would be tested and if it was cancer, I would have a complete hysterectomy done. So I woke up in recovery and they told me I'd had the hysterectomy, due to ovarian cancer. 
In 2016: diagnosed with stage 2 ovarian cancer. Treatment: hysterectomy, chemo, radiation. Afterwards: No Evidence of Disease!

Re: How were you told you have cancer?

Posted by Kuching on May 17, 2020 7:59 am

I went to emergency with a fever that kept getting worse.  For some reason, they did a chest X-ray.  The ER doctor basically said, forget the fever, I think you may have bigger problems.  Sent me for a CAT scan.  Like Essjay‍ , I then found out by mistake, because my GP’s office phoned to ask where I wanted to be referred to for oncology, Kingston or Ottawa?  I said, I guess that means I have cancer.  She said, oh, I wouldn’t know about that, you’d have to ask the doctor.  So I ended up telling the doctor rather than him telling me.  

Re: How were you told you have cancer?

Posted by Iggy331 on May 17, 2020 10:35 am

I had found my chest to be sensitive, sore to the touch and had hard lumps. Saw my doctor, had a mammogram right away (super weird as a male to be rushed through this process by the way!) Mammogram showed nothing unusual, went back to work. Doctor called me at work, explained that sometimes males develop breast tissue. Could be normal but could also be from a hormonal imbalance. Asked about testicular lumps, sure enough I had one. Went back to doctor, he confirmed. Had surgery that same night, Didn’t even get a chance to process it. I have a medically challenged daughter who was having issues of herself at this time as well, I was alone throughout this process.  Was told that it very likely was cancer and the biopsy a few days later confirmed it. 1 year in the clear now!

Re: How were you told you have cancer?

Posted by Nesseva on May 17, 2020 1:14 pm

Over the phone due to covid. and as soon as she got the results. instead of making me wait 4 more days.  I manage living with depression and anxiety so for her to call me ahead of my scheduled appointment was something she knew would be ok with me. 

Re: How were you told you have cancer?

Posted by Nightowl on May 17, 2020 2:18 pm

I found out through a mammogram-ultrasound report via BC’s online Health Portal. The report was available online about a day after the second mammogram and ultrasound were done. It was about 1:30 am when I read it.  It stated ‘BI-RADS 5 Highly Suspicious for Malignancy RESULTCODE: BR-5.’

I looked up on the net what a BI-RADS score was, and found out a score of 5 was 95%+ likely to be cancer. Although I did not officially receive the news from my family doctor until two weeks later, after a biopsy, I knew then.

Re: How were you told you have cancer?

Posted by supersu on May 17, 2020 4:56 pm

WOW----some really insensitive disclosures---sounds like all medical staff should be trained on relaying a diagnosis, and clerical staff should be aware of discreet/sensitive patient interactions.......

my story: i basically dx'd my own
i am a medical radiation technologist, (tho i don't do mammagrams)
i knew by the look on my colleagues face that it was 'something'
within an hour of my routine mammo, i knew i had breast cancer - biopsy just a formality
navigating the COVID system & being a new cancer patient - NOT fun

thank you for everyone who contributes to these posts - makes this crazy process less isolating for me

Re: How were you told you have cancer?

Posted by WestCoastSailor on May 17, 2020 9:24 pm

What a fascinating thread. I guess we all have a story to tell on this one. It is amazing how many folks have Round 1 and Round 2 stories. I'm going to join that gang. I've told this story in a few places so if the details vary, it's because it was two years ago now.

Round #1
I finally got some time in my schedule to get a lump in my breast looked at. GP referred me to the Jim Pattison Breast Clinic and pointed out that I had a second lump in my other breast that I had been unaware of. I pretty much knew as my mom had died of breast cancer and my brother is also a twelve year survivor. There were some delays initially. When I went in and asked if the ultrasound could be done at the same time as the mammogram. I was told that they would look into it after I had the mammogram done. The tech came around the corner a few minutes after the mammogram and asked if I could wait an hour they would fit me in. The next morning I got another call booking me for a biopsy a few days later.

The actual telling was a bit of a gong show. I had an intern come in, shuffling a handful of papers and then tell me I was going to be scheduled for a biopsy. When I said "No" her head came snapping around prepared to convince me to get it done. I smiled and told her that I was actually there to get results. She hustled out of the room and two minutes later I met the lady who would become my fast friend, my breast surgeon. She had the pathology report in hand with a nurse navigator in tow. After gently breaking the news that indeed it was breast cancer the whirlwind started. Bone scan and CT before I left that day and preliminary discussions about surgery.  I was alone (something I would never recommend in hindsight.) Getting down to the parking lot, I called my wife and then my brother. Still I was pretty sure this was survivable and while it might disrupt my schedule for a few weeks probably not a big deal.

Round #2
The next day I returned to get the results of the CT scan with a close friend. The surgeon pulled me out into the hallway to show me the scan showing a massive lump in my lung. Another round of biopsy to determine if it was metastatic or another cancer. In my polyanna haze I was thinking scarring from a round of tuberculosis while I was working in Panama or maybe a fungal infection... Denial.  I got a followup call  saying the were having trouble getting a specialist lined up for the fine wire biopsy so would I accept an ultrasound guided endoscopy? I said yes not really understanding how invasive that would be. When I came to and saw cups of bloody samples I was kind of amazed at the quantity and tried to make a joke wondering if there was anything left. I could hardly speak and everyone looked pretty grim.

A call a few days later from the nurse navigator suggesting I might want to contact the Cancer Clinic directly and see if my oncology appointment could be moved up was a clue. I had already made arrangements for my caregiver/stepmother to come down so I declined. So I waited an extra few days knowing that the news would not be good. The oncologist was direct. You have breast cancer (something I already knew) but you also have another primary cancer. Lung cancer. Not a smoker. Fit and active, how could this be? Through the fog I heard, "This is bad. 10% of people diagnosed with this type of cancer at this stage make it five years. And only 50% make it to 17 months." That was the one that hit me hard. And the telling while direct was gentle. I met with support staff, social workers, nurses and a clinical study specialist before I left that day.

I can't imagine getting that news over a phone call or a video connection. There is a lung cancer specialist from San Diego who talks about "learning web side manner as being as important as bedside manner." Be gentle with the folks making these calls. They are learning as quickly as they can but this is a new world for them too.

Thanks for letting me tell my story.

My story: http://journey.anguspratt.ca

Re: How were you told you have cancer?

Posted by Rayline on May 17, 2020 11:01 pm

I appreciate all your stories. Thank you for sharing.

Jack80‍, hi Jack you have started this thread but I can not find your story. Hope to hear from you also😀

Re: How were you told you have cancer?

Posted by princessmaura on May 18, 2020 7:53 am

thanks to all of you who have shared how they found out that they had cancer...I found out I had cancer when I went to the emergency at the hospital because I was in so much pain that day that I couldn't walk...the cancerous tumour had been pressing down on my legs making them so swollen that it was hard to walk...I had a CAT scan and was told that it was likely that I had cancer and I remember thinking of my aunt who had died of the same kind of cancer and then I started to cry and I wondered how long I had to live...

Re: How were you told you have cancer?

Posted by Drscrs on May 18, 2020 9:33 pm

I had been 3 months trying to convince my family doctor that something was wrong.  Finally, on May 26, 2015, I had a scope done by a G I specialist.  While recovering from the procedure, he came to my bedside and told me that he needed to see me before I left.  Soon after, the nurse done the final check on my vitals, and  told me I was free to go see the doctor.  My wife was with me, when I seen the specialist.  He told me that he had found a tumor.  I asked if it was cancer, and he said yes.  I asked him where we went from there, and he said surgery.  I seen a surgeon and had surgery on July 09. 
My second bout of cancer - lung, was found by the regular 3 month CT Scans and blood work that are done.  I had found out in March 2017, that the CT Scan I had done in February had shown up that there were spots in both my left and right lungs.  Surgery was done September 2017, and I have been cancer free since.

Take care and be safe

Re: How were you told you have cancer?

Posted by TorUkie on May 18, 2020 11:10 pm

My message was delivered  in two steps:

1) Step one: after the surgery for what my surgeon believed was a benight fibroid, the pathology report was very very late. When I came in, she said, I was wrong, it is not a fibroid it is a PEComa, a very rare tumor that we all know very little about and it took a long time for the pathologist to check and verify it. The pathology showed PEComa with 'uncertain malignant potential'. I took it as "when it is uncertain, it is not cancer"

2) Step two: I got referred to the PMH Sarcoma clinic. After a long into converation I blurted out; "Can I ask a stupid question? Is it cancer?". The doctor looked at me and said: "Yes it is, why otherwise you would be in a sarcoma clinic. It is a sarcoma."

While facts of my case haven't changed - and the potential of recurrence is unknown -  hearing 'yes, it is cancer' changed my life. 

Currently on a quarterly follow up regime. 

Re: How were you told you have cancer?

Posted by Ttjia on May 21, 2020 3:52 am

Hi everyone My story starts with bleeding not having a period since I was 50 one morning I woke up went to the washroom and the bleeding started after it slowed down a bit, I was lucky I had some supplies from my granddaughter that stayed frequently at our house. I phoned my Doctors office and was given an appointment right away, I never call unless there is a real problem so I was given priority. Last time I called my BP was up to 230 but that is another story. Seeing the doctor he knew right away it was cancer , I was sent for tests to be sure and I was told at that time I had cancer ,he repeated you did hear you have cancer I just said so be it, I figured at the time I had a pretty healthy life so instead of why me I thought why not me. I had total hysterectomy that was suppose to take care of the problem ,found out later I had a second rare and aggressive clear cell, that once was a totally unexpected . My husband who’s only brother passed away a few months before was in total shock. So that is my story of how I heard I had two different cancers. 

Re: How were you told you have cancer?

Posted by HermMar on May 22, 2020 9:09 pm

I started feeling pain in my stomach Nov 16 2018.  It was sporadic in the middle area (similar to indigestion but 100x painful).  Was hesitant to go to the hospital thinking it will go away.  Next day I didn’t feel any pain so did not go to hospital.  Pain started again in the night so I told myself if pain stayed or not, I will go to the emergency in the morning.  Went the next day to ER and explained the pain and also felt bloated even though I only had soup the day before.  Had me hooked up to an ECG machine to rule out heart issues and let me drink pink fluid in case it was indigestion.  
Heart was ok but was still bloated and my tummy looked like 6 months pregnant.  Had an ultrasound and X-ray and was told by ER doc that there was nothing in my stomach. I INSISTED to do more testing as I was uncomfortable with the pain so he recommended a CT.  Two hours later, doc told me there was a tumor in my large intestine and that it looked like cancer.  
A surgeon came in and said I will not leave the hospital until surgery was done. 
Had a colon resection and diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer.  Went on modified Folfox treatment for six months - 12 cycles but I refused the last one as I had enough. 
One year has passed after my last chemo and feel great.  
I learned to stay positive and have faith in God.  

Re: How were you told you have cancer?

Posted by TT53 on May 23, 2020 11:31 am

I was told back in November that I have a suspicious calcium formation we need to watch.  Six month later I had a mammogram and the formation got a little bigger, so I was sent for a biopsy.  Since we do not have any history of breast cancer in our family, I was very confident it would be nothing.  I even went to my cancer surgeon by myself confident I will be fine.  He was very gentle and explained everything to me.  It was a shock for me.  All of this happened on a Friday.
My GP called me on the weekend when she got my results to make sure I was OK and if there was any questions I had.  I had the most caring team.


Re: How were you told you have cancer?

Posted by dom12345 on May 28, 2020 4:23 am

I initially thought I had internal hemorrhoids and went to see a doctor at a clinic, he though I had anal fissure but referred me to a specialist (forgot the exact title), he said it couldn't be anything else than a cancer. At that point we did all the tests (erm, scan, bloodwork, colonoscopy) and today the doc called me on my cell phone and told me that it is colorectal cancer that has spread to the liver. I have an appointment with the oncologist tomorrow.

Re: How were you told you have cancer?

Posted by ShinningLight on May 29, 2020 8:41 am

I'm shinning light and here's how I was told I had cancer,
It all started on A Thursday, I went into work and as usual I was experiencing alot of anxiety that day but It still didn't raise any flags that they're might have been something wrong with me, I truly thought I was just over worked, stressed and just needed some holiday time. Day ends and by that time I was feeling ok and made my way home to my good friend to have a few drinks and unwind a bit and we smoked a joint and right after that I had a cigarette and that's when it happened I had a seizure and luckily my good friend was there and she stopped me from falling off my bed and prevented me from banging my head all while calling 911,that's when things go blurry and just remember waking up at The Civic and that's when my doc came to see me and we had a chat, Doc was really cool about it and really reassured me that they where gonna help me all the way through and that my chances of going blind or loosing mobility and so many other things as well like possibly losing some consciousness , lose of abilities to do simple tasks like feeding myself was 5% or less so I went through the surgery 🙏 and Doc is a miracle Worker and I am forever grateful I have Doctor Moulton as my Neuro Specialist and Surgeon .
Yah It was very scary but with good friends , keeping positive and being around my nurses really helped me want to beat this so I guess you could say I just handled the cards I was dealt and rolling with it, Cancer lives with me and it's been evicted , I wasn't living with Cancer that is not our case, it lives with us and it's up to us to lick it in the Butt and Stand tall and Strong no matter how hard it may get, I believe in you as I do in I, remember this, I know how you feel, it's not an easy thing to hear , aceptence is key, start a journal, meditate, find your balance in life for this is our one and only life on this marvellous planet and you, we can control our own fate of we have been given the STRENGHT to fight , so don't give up , you are loved and matter .
I hope this story can help you all in staying positive and That you all Have a great and beautiful day, please protect yourself from the ⛅ Rays if you do sit outside today and drink lots of water. Please stay COOl 😎💪
Always here for you all just message me if you just want to talk and need a good ear that will listen .