Two months ago, September 3rd, Mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. It all started when she went in for a regular annual checkup, and the doctor performed an exam and found a lump in her left breast. After testing and biopsying the lump, it was determined to be Invasive Ductal Carcinoma of the left breast.
Over the weeks that followed, the plan was formed that she would undergo a lumpectomy (removal of the tumor) followed by 20 sessions of radiation. October 1st she had the lumpectomy with and a sentinel removal of six lymph nodes (they were removed after flagging as suspicious during surgery). Dad and I were informed that clear margins were obtained. After the surgery, the tumor was sent off for testing. The margins were tested and came back positive for cancer cells. Following that discovery, plans changed.
Now chemo and total mastectomy are primary treatment plan rather than radiation. At this point, other tests were run to determine all the information needed to move forward. A genetic test was run that indicates that she has a mutation in her BRCA 2 gene (which increases the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and several other cancers over the general population's risk). Before starting chemo, the tumor was sent off for testing to ensure that giving chemo would be effective, and helpful. This test is called an Oncotype, the result showed that Mom would benefit from chemotherapy based on her Oncotype score. Without chemo, she is at a 40% risk of recurrence (it coming back anywhere in her body, ex. breast cancer in the liver), however, chemo will bring this risk down. The doctor stated that proceeding with chemo is the best option.
Chemo treatment (AC-T) involves four doses of two drugs AC (Adriamycin and Cytoxan) every other week. These will take place on November 4th, November 18th, December 2nd, and December 16th. After AC is completed, she will begin T (Taxol) which will be weekly for 12 doses. A little bit of information on the chemo, Adriamycin has a nickname in the cancer world - "red devil". The drug is actually red and is a devil to receive. The side effects of this will be the worst of what she is receiving.