Lots of Breast Cancer Questions

Updated on March 26, 2007
E.M. asks from Fort Worth, TX
4 answers

This is from my friend, please help if you can....

Dear Family and Friends,

I thank you for your continued prayer for my brother and sister-in-law. Susan has been through most of the diagnostics and now has a lot of decisions to make regarding the treatment phase. She has asked us to send out her test results in hopes of finding someone who can help her translate them so she can better prepared with questions for her oncologist.

If you know someone who either has personal experience with breast cancer or who is medically knowledgeable about breast cancer who can help her formulate questions and better understand her options, please contact me and I will forward your/their comments on to Susan. Please feel free to forward her test results as needed to anyone you think may be able to help. Of course the greatest help you can give is to pray. Bryan and Susan have many uncertain days ahead of them. They need you right now.

Thank you.

From Susan:

OK, all you worthy medical people and former breast cancer patients, I am going to finish up the biopsy report now. I have been online and done some research, but still need a little help in discussing all of this with my oncologist. After my MRI today, I went by the office and asked for all the tests results that were in so far.

The biopsy samples that went to Vanderbilt were also sent to Genzyme in NY for the receptor tests. I will do my best to type it accurately, so maybe someone can help explain it. HA.

Antibody/Tests Results Interpretation Prognostic Grouping

ER (1D5) 90% Favorable

PR (636) Negative Unfavorable

Ki-67 (MIB-1) <10% Favorable

p53 (Pab 1801) <5% Favorable


S-Phase The tumor S-phase fraction cannot be measured due to an insufficient total cell number in the sample.

HER2 2+ Equivocal
Hercep Test (TM)

HER2 & CEP 17 1.2 Negative

HER2 FINAL INTERPRETATION: IHC is equivocal and FISH is negative. The final HER2 result is negative.

OK...now. I understand that the ER+ means they can use hormone therapy to lower my estrogen levels.
I also understand that PR- means the cancer cells do not need progesterone to survive.
HER2 is a receptor protein and my type does not need this to survive.

SO, does this mean if my stupid ovaries had been removed years ago with my hysterectomy, none of this would have happened??? GRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Anyway, I know I really need lymph results for the best treatment research. In the meantime, can someone tell me if all of this still makes radiation therapy before surgery a reasonable request? Based on research, we are talking about 5 days a week ( M-F) for 7 weeks, or 35 treatments. There goes my LIFE, HA.

I also received the blood work report. I am normal in everything on the Comprehensive Metabolic Panel except for one. ( of course). It says my Alkaline Phosphatase is high. Normal is 39-117. Mine is 118 ( just figures). Does anyone know what this does in my blood? and why it might be high?

On the Hematology report ONE is a bit high. LYMPH#. says 0.6 - 4.1 is the reference range. I am 4.2 ( Figures again).

OK, the MUGA scan I also do not understand.

FINDINGS: The calculated ejection fraction is 54% which is borderline diminished. Left ventricular wall motion appears normal.

IMPRESSION: Borderline low ejection fraction.


For anyone that managed to read this far...thank you. Why can't doctors speak English? Aren't we yelling about all the Spanish stuff? Anyway, all joking aside, if anyone understood any part of this, please let me know. I want to compile a list of questions for the doctors. Those appts. start next week.


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So What Happened?

Hello All,

Dr. Lanzillo, to be called Dr. Joe, was very informative. He had the rest of my test results. I saw the MRI film and the PET scan. No lymph node involvement is showing up. No cancer anywhere else. He says "treatable and curable." This news made Bryan's day.

He also said there would be a meeting tonight with all the cancer doctors here. All will discuss my case. He says it is done here just like at Vanderbilt or any other big hospital. They get together and discuss all the options. He feels like they will change the order of my treatment. Chemo first, surgery and then 35 radiation treatments. He says Dr. Davidson will have a treatment plan in place to discuss with me on April 2nd. I don't go back to see Dr. Joe until May.

I also scheduled an appointment with Dr. Maria Scrubbs. She is listed as an internal medicine doctor, but she will act as my primary dr. I go and see her on April 14th. I guess she will have the job of figuring out what is causing my diarrhea.

I will keep you all posted after my appt. on Mon. with Dr. Davidson. Keep praying. Maybe by Christmas most of this will be over, including growing back my hair.

Love and Thanks,


More Answers



answers from Dallas on

Hi.....I'm so sorry to hear about the cancer. I just became cancer-free myself a mere three months ago with a mastectomy. I'm only a little older than you at 30.

Ok....here's a little help. No, having your ovaries removed would not have helped. Over 80% of breast cancer cases come out of nowhere. It looks like you're not genetically positive for it, so you wouldn't have had any warning. Your oncologist will be able to help you decipher the test results and what the words mean - if he/she doesn't, find a new one. Oncologists deal with cancer patients every day, so they know what this stuff is off the top of their heads.

Personally, I didn't have some of the issues you show. Partly because I'm so small-breasted, I found the tumor very early - while it was still in situ (locked in place). I have DCIS, no genetic factors, and no warning. I was on birth-control pills for many years to treat ovarian cysts, and it seems this may have contributed to my cancer, but it did not cause it. I'm estrogen-receptor positive as well. So, I'm on an IUD (which I strongly recommend) and hormone therapy. DON'T let them tell you that Tamoxifen is the only way to go!!! It's not!

I can't write everything I've learned about cancer in the past 4 months, but I'm happy to talk if you need an ear whose been there.

Please feel free to contact me at ____@____.com or through mamasource.

My heart goes out to you. Keep up that laughter though!!!! That's what got me through this!


A little about me: A SAHM to a gorgeous 18-month-old girl who chatters my ear off and a fantastic 16-year-old stepdaughter.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Shreveport on

I can't understand the lab reports but my mom had breast cancer. She needs to ask what all options of treatment are and the percentage of survival with each. Along with details of what to expect from each treatment as far as side effects, etc. What her chance of survival is without treatment. Also the exact name of the cancer she has so she can research it on the internet. What the chances are of the cancer spreading to other locations or reoccurring, is another question she needs to ask.
Getting a second opinion is something to consider on treatment. There are many ways to treat different types.
My heart goes to her and the family.
Another good thing for her to do is to look into a breast cancer support group. A group will help her deal with what's happening along with being able to speak to others that can give her more ideas on what to ask. It also wouldn't be bad for her family to get into a support group too.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I have NO clue what these reports mean, luckily we don't deal with this in Pediatrics!
She needs to find an oncologist who will sit down and go over everything step bu step. I suggest she take an extra set of ears and that she start a notebook to keep any and all notes, questions and handouts she is given. This is a very stressful time and no one listens or processes well.
If she is in the DFW area I would recommend Dr John Pippen at Baylor. He specializes in breast cancer, is very low key, patient and caring. He is seen on the local news occassionally as he makes sure to keep up on all of the latest treatments for breast cancer.

One thing to keep in mind is that lab reports need to be taken in context. It may be normal for the Lymphs to be really high in someone w/ breast cancer, so just a little high would be a good thing.... (Like I said I have no clue).

Please feel free to e-mail me if I can get you Dr Pippen's number or anything!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My heart goes out to you. My cousin has been cancer free for 2-3 yrs. I email her the info and hope to hear from her soon in response of your request.

You are in my thoughts and prayers.
God Bless

1 mom found this helpful
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