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Breast Cancer

Vascular and lymphatic invasion

09/06/2007

Question:

In reviewing the question on stage 3C cancer, I have one of my own. It has been 5 1/2 years since my original diagnosis. I have gone for several years without to muchconcern about my cancer coming back. I have assumed that since I had no node involvement,was stage 2A,it was not in the tissue, and I was estrogen positive that I did not have a lot of reason for concern.However,from time to time I revisit that time in my life and something will be said or will come up about my path report.I do remember that is it said lymphphatic (sp)and vascular invasion identified. Could this mean that the cancer could have been somewhere else in my body even though the margins were clear, no nodes were involved,and all pet scans as well as CT scans have been clear? Thanks for answering this question for me.

Answer:

Unfortunately, even small tumors that are node negative and estrogen receptor positive can come back, although recurrence is less likely than with larger tumors that are node positive and estrogen receptor negative.  Certainly, being out for > 5 years with no evidence of disease on scans is great news.  I don't think that you have to worry a great deal about recurrence, but should be compliant with your follow-up.  Make sure that you continue to perform monthly self breast examinations, and have annual clinical examinations and mammograms.  If you notice any unusual symptoms, report these to your health care provider in a timely fashion.  I wish you continued health!

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Response by:

Doreen M Agnese, MD Doreen M Agnese, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University