Early stage breast cancer can be cured in most women


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81 comments

  1. Jessica Otte (MD)

    One aspect not mentioned in this article is the push to rename these “pre” and “non-invasive” cancers for precisely the reason brought up by the Questioner. “The big C” is a loaded word, and sometimes using it creates the wrong picture in a patient’s mind. (I wrote a little bit more here:
    http://lessismoremedicine.squarespace.com/blog/whats-in-a-name-why-we-need-to-reconsider-the-word-cancer)

    We are very lucky to have many treatment options for breast cancer and there’s new progress all the time. We’re also finding out that DCIS may not be as bad as we once thought. We do have to think carefully about how we view disease, early detection, diagnosis, and so on. There’s an excellent article from a patient perspective here: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/28/magazine/our-feel-good-war-on-breast-cancer.html?pagewanted=all

    • Paul Taylor

      Hi Jessica:

      You bring up a very good point. I couldn’t cover everything in just one blog post. So thanks for providing the links to those other worthwhile articles,

      Paul Taylor

  2. west

    my girl fren is diagnosed with breast cancer, this information has clarified some major doubts and given me a glimmer of hope…thanks for sharing it…

  3. Sibusisiwe

    My sister went to see a doctor 2 years ago and they told her she has a lump on her breast and she must go to the hospital to be removed, but when the date came she didnt go. Now her breast has discharge coming out, the lump has grown its scary. Now i think its cancer but she says if she dies its would be on Gods will. I would love to help her but dont know how? What can i do?

    • Paul Taylor

      I am sorry to hear what has happened to your sister. It certainly sounds like she needs medical attention. If she won’t take your advice, is there anyone else she will listen to? Maybe another family member or a local community leader. You mentioned that she says “if she dies it would be on Gods will.” I don’t want to read too much into that statement, but is your sister a religions person? Is she a member of a particular religion or religious community? If so, maybe you should get in touch with her local religious leader. Ask if that individual would talk to her. Her religious leader might be able to convince her that God would want her to seek treatment.

      You may also want to contact your sister’s doctor and see if the doctor will give her a call. Certain patient confidentiality rules will likely apply — but those rules will vary depending on where you live.
      And you may want to talk to a lawyer to see if you have any other options. The lawyer should be aware of the legal code governing a situation like this in your area. . But, in general, if is she is an adult and deemed to be mentally competent, she has the right to refuse treatment.

      So it would be best if you, or someone else, persuaded her to seek medical help.

    • Elise Hietikko

      I am a born again Christian and have breast cancer. We live in a world governed by the “powers and principalities of the world,” many toxins and pollutions that godless corporations who prioritize mammon over life. Being a Christian does not mean we will never suffer again, but that we will never suffer alone. God will always in dwell in us and give us the strength to go on, even when it seems humanly impossible. God has blessed us with modern knowledge and treatments to live better lives. We know not to smoke, or overeat and to see doctors for help with quitting smoking and eating healthier. Also, doctors to fix our broken bones, provide glasses for eyesight problems and diagnose and treat our cancers. Quality medical care is a blessing from God.

      • Susan

        Amen Elise. I was diagnosed with breadt cancer a month after we got divorced. I was encouraged to trust God for a miracle.,but somehow I felt that I don’t deserve a Miracle from God. I enrolled in a healing and restoration biblical teaching course,where the Holy Spirit revealed that I had a lot of bitterness and anger,unforgiveness ect.that I need to repent. As I repented I received inner healing. I could feel the heaviny yoke lifting and deliverence was my portion. I am going for surgery in next week. Without any fear,as I even had to repent that. I am looking forward to my future and believe and trust that my recovery will be complete.

  4. portia

    Hi I have been feeling some pains in my breast.amm just 22.what could it be

    • Paul Taylor

      Hi Portia:

      Sorry, but I can’t answer that question. If you are concerned about the pain, you should go see your doctor. If you don’t have a family doctor, you should visit a medical walk-in clinic in your area.

      A doctor would be able to take your medical history, examine you, and possibly send you off for some tests – possibly a mammogram. That would be the best way to determine the source of the pain.

  5. J. Rogers

    I have just been diagnosed with breast cancer in my right breast . It is a new lump (i get mammo every 2 years) and less than 1/2 inch. I am having it removed along with the tissue around and a few lymph
    nodes. Then some radiation and a pill for the next five years. I have been very scared. You have said everything that I have been told, that makes feel more positive about the outcome. Thank You

  6. Susan

    Thank you, this article has reassured me. I was diagnosed with stage 1a invasive ductal carcinoma 9 weeks ago. I elected to have a bi-lateral mastectomy for symmetry, I am undergoing reconstruction, but after removal they discovered DCIS in my right breast also. There was no lymph node involvement and my Oncotype DX score was 7. Even with all of these positives I still have scary days! Your article has given me something to hold onto.

    Susan

  7. Theophilus

    Please I have a sister that have a pose on her breast also she has a back pain that even stop her from going to her office , some time ago her doctor told her she should cut off her breast but she didn’t because never believe she could have a cancer because she is a real christian and believe that she will receive miracles. but before now she has removed twice a lumps from her breast.please what is your advice is there any hope of saving her? Thanks

  8. Lucky

    November 28, 2015 at 9:24 PM
    Sir.. My mom is suffering from breast cancer. The report says positive for malignant cells cytomorphology is consistent with ductal carcinoma. What does it mean. Which stage is this?

    • Paul Taylor

      Hi Lucky:

      Your mother will need to talk to her doctor to confirm, but from the details you have provided it sounds like she has a very early stage of breast cancer.

      Here are some more details from the website of the Canadian Cancer Society:

      Ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS)

      With ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), cancer cells are found only in the lining of the breast duct and have not spread outside the duct into nearby breast tissue or to other organs in the body.

      DCIS is the most common type of non-invasive breast cancer. It may also be called intraductal carcinoma or non-invasive ductal carcinoma. Nearly all women diagnosed with this early stage of breast cancer can be successfully treated.

      DCIS is generally too small to be felt during a clinical breast exam (CBE). It is most commonly found by mammography, where it appears as microcalcifications.

      Women with DCIS have an increased risk of developing an invasive ductal carcinoma. However, it is not yet known how to identify which DCIS will progress to an invasive cancer, and which will not.

      DCIS may be classified based on what the cells look like when viewed under the microscope. There are 2 main subtypes of DCIS: comedo and non-comedo.

      Comedo

      The term comedo is used to describe the appearance of DCIS cells. When examined under a microscope, the cells have dead material (necrosis) that plugs the middle. This material can be squeezed or expressed out of the cells, like a blackhead (comedo) on the skin.

      Comedo DCIS tends to grow quickly and spread into surrounding breast tissue.

      Non-comedo

      Non-comedo DCIS grows more slowly than the comedo type of DCIS, and is less likely spread into the surrounding breast tissue.

      There 3 are different types of non-comedo DCIS:

      solid DCIS
      The cancer cells completely fill the breast duct(s).
      cribiform DCIS
      There are spaces and gaps in between the cancer cells and the ducts are not filled completely.
      papillary and micropapillary DCIS
      The cells are arranged in a fern- or feather-like (papillae) pattern towards the centre of the breast duct.
      In micropapillary DCIS, the papillae are smaller than the papillae in papillary DCIS.
      References
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      Read more: http://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/cancer-type/breast/breast-cancer/malignant-tumours/dcis/?region=bc#ixzz3t55Jp53B

      • Christine

        Hi there,
        I am 49 and was diagnosed with stage 1a breast cancer in March and had my surgery in April. My cancer was estrogen positive and her2 negative. The tumor was only 5mm and detected on a mammogram. There was no cancer in my nodes and the borders were clean after excision. I opted for genetic testing and it was negative for any gene mutations.The recommended aduvent therapy is radiation and an aromatase inhibitor since I am in menopause. Will radiation and hormone therapy greatly increase my chances of preventing reoccurrence? I am not sure all of the side effects are worth the minimal (from what I have researched) advantage I would gain for survival.

        • Beauty

          Hi. I have same situation exactly like you I am getting radiation now. I am also worried about recurrences.

  9. yazar

    hi doctor ma mom met wit brest cancer they told me it is intial stage im jus askng is it passile to cure that am alredy scared am the younger one in ma family you please let me knw the detils

  10. Guru

    Dear doctor. After one small surgery for my mum I received her report . In that they mentioned infiltrating duct caricinoma grade iii . Is this curable ?. Pls tell the solution

  11. ishver

    hey Dr my mom has been diagnosed with breast cancer of stage 2 her cancer has not spread yet but she has gone for a surgery i want you to answer me that whether she can be permanently cured and how many years she can survive and let me know you Dr i love my mom a lot so don’t give useless sympathy ok
    i want my answer right now

    i am extremely sorry if i absent mindedly said you anything wrong this is not my case but my moms

  12. Precious

    Hi I have a breast pain nd a lump wt discharge does dat mean i hv a breast cancer?

  13. Karen

    Can you please explain how the grade of a tumor effects prognosis?

  14. Noor imran

    I read your answer above and I feel better after reading it. My mother has been diagnosed with cancer yesterday and I still can’t digest it and I’m still in a shock. The doctor said its early stage cancer but the word still scares everyone . It’s about 2cm or less but the doctor said my mother will go through some tests tomorrow or day after which are a bone scan x ray of different parts of the body and maybe a few bloodiest then she will undergo the surgery . I wanted to ask will she be needing chemo therapy aswell? And is this curable ? Also will she be fully recovered and by how long . Thank you I’ll be looking forward to your answer

  15. antionette mendoza

    I was diagnosed with R breast DCIS in 1999. Treated with lumpectomy and 7 weeks of radiation. 5 years Tamoxifen. This January, 2016, diagnosed with R breast invasive ductal carcinoma, stage 1A, negative lymph nodes. (ER positive and Her2neu negative) I was told because of prior radiation I had to have a masectomy… when I got in February. I’m once again pn Tamoxifen. Oncotype dx test score is 7
    My questions are:

    1) Is it ok to take Tamoxifen again? Won’t I develop a resistance to it since I took it 16 years ago? My ONC
    didn’t sound convincing nor did my pharmacist when they answered “you shouldn’t”
    2) Despite my early Stage diagnosis and low ONCOTYPE DX score, I’m still terrified of recurrence.
    So, the low oncotype dx score tells me the chance of metastasis is low representing the cancer they removed via masectomy. However, I could develope a NEW cancer same breast and or in the other breast correct? I’ve been so paranoid, I lost 20 lbs in 7 weeks so afraid to eat anything. I am 62 years old and retired.
    Thank you for your anticipated response.

  16. ashima

    I have purple veins on my one breast and feeling pain from last two months

  17. c.r.panda

    I got very good idea regarding breast cancer which ican share and use for me also.

  18. NABUULE JUDITH

    I feel warmth all over my breasts and pain every day for over four months Am I likely to hv breast cancer.judith

  19. Kim

    Stage 1A Grade 2 ER 5% positive PR- HER- Oncologist says chemo very matter of factly….a strong regiment for 4 months. When first diagnosed and after biopsy was told surgery and radiation only. I have had the lumpectomy and feel great now! Why would the suggested course of treatment change so drastically? Any ideas?

  20. Tricia

    I was hv a swollen veins 2013 to my right breaat nd now it starts my left breast is the any chances that I have cancer?

  21. Shashikala.B

    Hello sir,

    On Nov 28th Nov 2016 I have noticed that I have one small cyst in my right breast Dr asked me do needle test then I got report that DCIS. then we consulated Dr and now on 14th Dec surgery was done and the biopsy report says the tumour is in grade 3 and tumour as not speard for any of nodes and after the Dr asked us to do Her2neu FISH test even that report says nagative…

    So please let me know the next procedures

  22. Lisa Ma

    Hello! I will like to know, How long it takes to cured breast cancer? Please, You must email me back. I am really appreciates this information. Thank, a millions!

  23. Misty Ferguson

    Diagnoed with HER2.

    I had bilateral mastectomy March 15. The stage was not 1 yet. Tested the pnodes around and have no cancer there.
    Well the cancer was 3 mm and generally they don’t recommend unless the cancer is 5mm. The reason why we are in a stress is the my oncologist wants to do 12weeks chemo tax. + 1 year. Do I really want to put my body through

    • Sarka

      That’s is crazy . Chemo can give you cancer . In your case wouldn’t do that . Only my opinion . Please double check with other doctors .

      • Petro

        Regime for Her + tumor is Trastusumab and chemotherapy for 6 months. Chemo does not give cancer, its used to treat cancer

    • Petro

      Thats the correct regime for Her+ BC
      Adjuvant chemotherapy

  24. Lorelei Goldman

    I just recently was diagnosed with DSIC of the invasive type. I am 79 years young. Can you refer me to studies on breast cancer in the older woman?

  25. Jyotika

    hllo my had diagnosed with cancer having 3 lymph nodes positive .what kind of treatment will she get and which is the best for her

  26. K L

    This is an immensely motivating article that clearly defines
    progress made to combat early stages of breast cancer.

  27. Antionette Mendoza

    I asked a question over a year ago. No response to date. Whoever is in charge of this site does not seem to care. Why did I ever waste my time asking my questions!!

    • Vanessa Milne

      Hi Antionette, Sorry you feel neglected. We actually don’t provide specific medical advice on here – first because we don’t know your case, and secondly because Paul is not a doctor. I’d suggest reaching out to your doctor instead. Wishing you the best, Vanessa

  28. Krissy

    Hello
    I been diagnosed I have cancer in my milk duct.. And my doctor recommended me to have surgery and they can take it out.. And be all clear… I’m scared… Confused and in aching pain in my right breast.. How can this be cured without surgery… Plz help..

  29. Jennifer

    I was diagnosis it’s Breast Cancer stage 2. I completed the surgery they did a lumpectomy and removed 5 lymp nodes. They are suggesting 1 year of chemo and 4 months of radiation. It’s chemo & radiation necessary.

    JJ

  30. Joyce

    Hi I was diagnose 11/17 my doctor said very early small spots together in the r breast I am r high risk strong family history took brac test was neg. concerned wanted to have mastectomy but dr. Performing lumpectomy said might b too much worried after biopsy three weeks now severe pain. What r the changes of spreading to the other breast?

  31. Regina Fondren

    Thanks for this good info confirmation that eating nutritional foods, exercise play very important part in your healing journey. Conventional treatment is changing for the better of the patients

  32. Gemechu

    hello Doctor.my sister said that she got local hospital to diagnosed whether she has breast cancer or not since her left side breast show some sign of cancer but since the local hospital can not perform cancer diagnoses since the have no medical equipment she told me that she is going to send me sample blood to check here in Addis Abeba Where I am working as government employee.and since there is few hospital which perform such kinds of diagnoses,if the time to get the result takes up to 1 month can that disease get advance any more before medication?

  33. Abhinandan

    My mother is diagnosed with breast cancer DCIS a month ago in right breast. She had a lumpectomy with axillary lymph nodes dissection. The tumor is 2 cm with margins clear with margins clear and all 18 nodes are cancer negative. BUT its triple negative. Her chemotherapy is going on and after that they will give radiation therapy to her. But she is really worried of reccurence anywhere in the body. What are the chances that it will never occur again? Will she be alright?

  34. Rhonda Lucas

    This is a great article. The started procedure for lumpectomy, brachytherapy and letrozole is just what my friend is doing and she’s doing very well.
    Thank you.

  35. Kelli

    I had a lump in my left breast so I went and got it checked out. I had a mammogram and a ultrasound a couple days ago. Initially my doctor thought it was just the cysts that I usually have in my breasts but it felt different to me. I was told I needed a biopsy becausd the ultrasound showed a mass and the ultrasound tech said my lymph nodes were swollen under my armpit. What do you think it is, I will get my biopsy Monday. FYI my maternal grandmother had breast cancer in her left breast and left lymph node under her armpit. I don’t know if it is hereditary, please advise.

  36. Parteek

    What is the 10 year survival rate in stage 2 breast cancer6

  37. nimmo

    i ave a question, all my friends who have had breast cancer end up living us after five years,all of them is it normal or what goes on.then i ave a friend who is going for chemotherapy and she has to be given injections that boost cell is that normal.

  38. Louise H

    Thank you for your clearly understood direct, easy to understand information about breast cancer!!! I hope to follow more of your communications!!!

  39. Kamaljit

    I had stage1 breast caught very early had my surgery this month my cancer was very small and ivtake tamoxifen I’m cancer free just waiting for my swelling to go and then have radiotherapy

  40. Edmund seah

    Hi
    My wife was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer.
    Invasive carcinoma grade 3 of 3
    Infiltrative ductal carcinoma of right breast.
    Breast was totally removed.
    Lymph nodes not affected.

    Tumor 1 4×1.1cm
    Triple negative.

    Is chemotherapy required ?

    Edmund

  41. Ervin Buba

    This article is much too optimistic and glosses over a very simple fact that since 1935 the death rate of women from breast cancer was 26.2% and today it stands at exactly 26%. So no matter how you slice and dice the statistics this one fact alone is irrefutable and sad.

  42. frances

    I am having radiation (15 sessions) for breast cancer, which was grade 3. Doctor said it was successful.
    My cancer was malignant..I am 72 years old. Can the cancer come again please? I am taking Letrezole tablets.
    Thank you
    Frances

  43. Enriqueta Hernandez

    What happens if I decide to treat myself holistic. What estrogen stopper vitamins can I take?

  44. Jennifer

    Why is it necessary to take tamoxifen after a double mastectomy? If there is no breast tissue, how can there be a risk of recurring breast cancer?

  45. Gemma Rimando

    thank you for the educational infomation. The feeling of fear is slightly relieve. I was diagnosed with DC and still waiting the final diagnosis…Im really scared.

  46. Emma

    It meabs that invasive bdreast cancer in situ can be healed although in stage 2B?

  47. Janice

    It’s been 6 years since my BC (stage 1a N0 plus clear margins with no family history of cancer). I did surgery, radiation and 5 years of AI. I did have a scare in my 2nd year ( I was told recurrences happen 2 or 3 years) . I didn’t know about oncotype DX testing or the newer gene testing which does cause me some concern. I take for granted all the local medical testing. I would like more information about the 10 year survival rate. I do know women with a recurrence after 8 years.

  48. V Dis

    I feel any discussion of breast cancer that only looks at 5 year statistics is doing a disservice to a women or man that is diagnosed. Especially when you are using “Cured” in the same report. The fact is that early stage cancers have risk of recurrence for 20 years. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1701830.
    This shows that in general risk of distant (metastatic) recurrence over 20 years is 13% for T1N0, 20% for T1N1–3, and 34% for T1N4–9.

    • V Dis

      The author of this article is NOT A DOCTOR. http://healthydebate.ca/author/ptaylor

      “Paul Taylor is a patient navigation advisor at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.”

      “Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto with a double major in economics and political science and a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Journalism from Ryerson.”

  49. Cynthia

    I just found out that I have breast cancer they can not do surgery u til the middle of October . I also am supposed to have knee surgery the 24th of September and not sure what I should do

  50. Piyush

    18-20 year-old girl has to undergo how many months of treatment?

  51. Chata

    Hi I just need a security answer 3days now I have had my left Breast hurting ,went to Dr and they say its Infection I nurse my One year old ,but stopped on left side ,,I’m now pussing and bleeding is that normal? I do not fill lumps but it is painful ,,if I do have cancer or just infection the bleeding is worring me ,can I still nurse my child I’m scared to give him blood and puss ,Yuk ,,what should I do

  52. chata

    Does infection cause bleeding and will it hurt baby if I nurse

  53. Lucille Stevenson

    Can you give me information on breast reduction for for breast cancer stage 1

  54. Jurevey roylo

    Hello everyone, i am 31 years old and i have just detected a lumo on my left breast just as i have experienced pain recently. I am hoping that this can be healed immediately and i hope this is not bad news.Please pray for me for i have family to support. I will be going to my doctor tomorrow and i hope there will be a good chance of treatment without surgeries or other fearful things…thank you.

  55. nathnael zekarias

    hi my wife is feeling something like a ball in her left breast can you help me what this can be a sign of.

  56. denise martin

    I had stage1 breast cancer and had surgery on January, 2018 – and 20 treatments of radiation – now the doctor said I need a bioposy for something they see under my arm – could this be cancer – it has been just 1 year – where do I stand

  57. robin Lewis

    thank you for your answer I am a 2 year breast cancer survivor but still terrified of it coming back.

  58. Beryl Worsley

    I am grateful for this clear explanation of early cancer. My journey with breast cancer has covered four decades, the last 20 years of which have been free of breast cancer. Getting cancer again now has been quite a surprise but having read the doctor’s explanation of current treatments, I feel reassured that with radiation following surgery and taking Tamoxifen I have an excellent chance of a complete recovery and hopefully staying cancer-free.

  59. Charlene

    guys my mum just got stage 1 breast cancer can it be cured? And is there any food products she must avoid and she can eat to help in the curing of breast cancer?

  60. Joan krzak

    Thank-you for writing such a clear and concise article which even a “lay person” like myself can understand. I am a two year cancer survivor on Letrozole.

  61. Carol B

    Thank you for this article , for me it was very informative . The worse thing is to be left in the dark because then we all go to worst case Senaro so getting good balanced information allows us to know what’s happening and make the decision best for us

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