Sher's Silver Linings

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I am a two time breast cancer survivor who continues to experience many silver linings despite being in a second round of treatments. Your site is very inspiring and thank you for so many beautiful ideas! I just came upon it today and was reading quite a lot.

I would like to comment on breast reconstruction and the usefulness of MRI in examining reconstructed breasts. My story of recurrence is alarming in that the same cancer came back 11 years later under an implant. I had undergone mod radical mastectomy of the left breast with saline implant, AC and T chemotherapy 11 yrs ago at age 47…. Invasive Lobular cancer, her2 +, ER+, 3 nodes positive. I had yearly mammography of remaining breast and did monthly self exams. No doctor ever mentioned examining the reconstructed breast. There was no palpable lump. I requested an MRI last year because this test can detect lobular cancers more easily than can mammography. The remaining breast was ok but surprisingly there was a 1cm tumor under the implant on the reconstructed side! I am so lucky to have done the MRI, because it was caught early and had not spread.

So I am saying do not ignore the fact that some cancers do recurr in reconstructed breast tissue. :( Even good surgeons can leave behind some cells, especially when they are sparing skin. Many do not advise mammograms for implanted breasts …they can rupture! So I think it is time to revisit protocols for performing MRIs on reconstructed breasts! My present oncologist, Dr. Olopadi at the U of Chicago, agrees. It is not terribly uncommon for the same cancer to recurr in a reconstructed breast… Or in the scar and tissue of a mastectomy without reconstruction. The reconstruction does not cause the recurrence.
I may have avoided the recurrence if I had had chest wall radiation 11 yrs ago. The docs did not recommend it then. I am doing that now. I have undergone a re-mastectomy, no recon, chemo and radiation as well as aromasin inhibitor.

Despite all my troubles, I find SLs all the time and am grateful to have detected this cancer early. I am being treated at u of Chicago, which has been so good. I note that you, Hollye, have worked at this great institution. I am also a social worker (school) but am presently unemployed and job hunting too!
Thank you,
Sher

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