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PCR!!

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KathrynW View Drop Down
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    Posted: Aug 14 2009 at 12:05pm
I just received the pathology report from my surgery and I achieved a Pathologic Complete Response (pCR) to the chemo! All signs of cancer in the breast tissue and lymph nodes are gone.

I'm especially relieved because I had 2 separate lumps (2.8 cm & 2.2 cm) and at least 3 lymph nodes involved, one was very large (2.6 cm.) The initial PET/CT showed the cancers to be extremely hypermetabolic...the lumps had SUVs of 25 & 22, and the largest lymph node had an SUV of 21. Very aggressive.

Needless to say, I was scared to death.

I took the neoadjuvant chemotherapy route, and noticed shrinkage in my tumours and lymph nodes almost immediately. In fact, when I had the PortaCath put in after week 2 of my chemo, my surgeon took another biopsy from both lumps. It showed the cancer already gone in those samples after just 2 weeks of chemo!

From my understanding, getting a pCR means a very good disease-free prognosis, with a 90-95% chance for complete cure.

This is my first posting to the site (but I've been reading it for months). I know there aren't enough positive stories to balance out the scary ones. I hope this gives reassurance to others that chemo can be VERY effective for some triple-negative cancers.


Age 47. dx 2/19/09, IDC TNBC, BRCA-
stage 3, grade 3, multifocal 2.8 cm & 2.2, Node Positive
Neoadjuvant A/C 4x biweekly, T 4x biweekly
Partial Mastectomy w/20 nodes removed. PCR!!!
33 Rads to com
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Tabatha00 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tabatha00 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 14 2009 at 1:05pm
Fantastic!!!!!   I had an excisional biopsy in May where they removed the 2.2 cm tumor but left positive margins.   I then decided to go to a comprehensive cancer center at UAB.  I had CT scans, bone scan, mammos, ultrasound of my axilla and everything was clear except they found a 2.0 cm tumor at the bottom pole of my kidney.   I had surgery to remove it 2 weeks ago and will start chemo in about 2 weeks for the breast cancer.
 
My scans were all clear (except the pole dancing kidney thing) and I'll be doing neoadjuvant chemo and then bilateral mastectomies.   While my tumor in the breast was removed I hope to have the same results as you.  Nobody tested my lymph nodes or anything but as long as after I have chemo and my mastectomies and don't have any lymph nodes involved I'll be HAPPY!!!!!!!  
 
I meet with my oncologist on August 28 to map out a "chemo plan" but as it stands right now I think I'll be having 9 treatments every 2 weeks.    Sounds similar to what you did.    How did you react to chemo?    How did you feel? 
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SagePatientAdvocates View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SagePatientAdvocates Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 14 2009 at 1:14pm
Dear Kathryn,

PCR and NED are two of the sweetest acronyms in the English language I think...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!

all the best,

Steve
I am a BRCA1+ grandson, son and father of women affected by breast/oc-my daughter inherited mutation from me, and at 36, was dx 2004 TNBC I am a volunteer patient advocate with SAGE Patient Advocates
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trip2 View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote trip2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 16 2009 at 9:58am
KathrynW,
 
Congtatulations on the all clear!Clap
Stage 2 2003
Stage 1 2007
BRCA 1+
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dmwolf View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dmwolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 16 2009 at 10:52am
Congratulations!!  Your odds of being cured are now excellent, upward in the high 90%s! 
Love,
Denise
DX 2/08@43 stg II IDC; gr2,0 nodes. Neoadj chemo, first ACx2 (fail) then CarboTaxotereX6(better). Lump, Rads done 11/08; Clodronate. False alarm queen: PetCT lung & TM marker. NED. PBM w/recon 9/10.
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Sunris View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sunris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 16 2009 at 3:59pm
Congratulations!! My time is coming up soon. I hope for the same positive outcome.

Very happy for you!!
Dawn

Age 43 at DX

DX 3-09 IDC 3.9cm

TN-Stage2-Grade3

Taxolx9, FACx2, halted TX,

Lump.8-25-09..rads x 8wks.

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KathrynW View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KathrynW Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 16 2009 at 5:05pm
Hi Tabatha,

Although chemo is never a picnic, my experience wasn't as bad as I imagined. For each of the 2 week "rounds" I'd have one crummy week followed by one relatively good week. It never got cumulatively worse, it only repeated the same 2 week cycle on each drug.

On the A/C (adriamycin/cytoxin) I never really got nauseated because of the new anti-nausea drugs like Emend. But my stomach would feel sour and I'd have acid reflux. I felt better with food in my stomach and I ate like crazy. The steroids (Decadron) they gave me made me feel wired & buzzy, like having 25 cups of coffee that makes you feel weak and tired. But my internist prescribed Xanax for me to help with the "needle" days and it also helped offset the jitteryness and the palpitations from the steroids. I received a Neulasta shot (to increase white blood count) 24 hours after each round, and that gave me the worst side effect, bone pain in my arms, hips, and ribcage that started on Day 2 and lasted about 3 days.

On Taxol, all the gastro-intestinal wierdness went away, but the bone pain, muscle twinges & joint aches were pretty bad for about 4-5 days. I got Percocet to help with the pain.

Everyone reacts differently, every drug works differently, and even though there were some pretty unpleasant days, I was able to continue working from home, make meals, supervise my house renovation, go grocery shopping, laugh with my husband, and on my good week, go out with friends and work in the garden. Like I said, not nearly as bad I imagined.

I found a lot of reassurance and information by reading this site and searching the internet for other people's experiences. I'm sure you'll do great, you seem to already have a positive attitude. Feel free to contact me with any other questions.

I wish you all the best with your treatment and know you'll remain strong and positive and have only the BEST of test results! You'll have many people rooting for you, including me.

-Kathryn
Age 47. dx 2/19/09, IDC TNBC, BRCA-
stage 3, grade 3, multifocal 2.8 cm & 2.2, Node Positive
Neoadjuvant A/C 4x biweekly, T 4x biweekly
Partial Mastectomy w/20 nodes removed. PCR!!!
33 Rads to com
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lisalaw View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lisalaw Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 16 2009 at 5:35pm
Congratulations on your great news.  I am just curious where you get the stats from on a 90% cure rate if you achieve pcr.  I am so pleased for you as I was for myself when I was told I too achieved pcr last September after neoadjuvant chemo on my 7 centimeter tumor and lymph nodes and lumpectomy followed by 35 rads.  ApproveTongue
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KathrynW View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote KathrynW Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 17 2009 at 8:05am
Hi lisalaw,

Here's a link to a presentation on TNBC from Dr. Winer at Dana-Farber:

http://www7a.biglobe.ne.jp/~jccnb/0302seminar/image_smr/0811weiner.pdf

On page 9 of the PDF he says there is a good outcome in pCR, greater than 90% for a 5-year DDFS (distant disease free survival).

I'm sure I did see those numbers on other pieces of research, but I can't track them down now. On most of the research I've seen on the internet, they just say that achieving a pCR gives you "excellent survival", but no percentages.

Congratulations on your success!!
Age 47. dx 2/19/09, IDC TNBC, BRCA-
stage 3, grade 3, multifocal 2.8 cm & 2.2, Node Positive
Neoadjuvant A/C 4x biweekly, T 4x biweekly
Partial Mastectomy w/20 nodes removed. PCR!!!
33 Rads to com
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