Friday, December 30, 2011

Meeting my Radiation Oncologist

To make a long story short, we still don't know the exact treatment plan just yet. 

They are waiting for the HER2/neu test results.  This will identify which type of treatments will be needed.  HER2/neu protein is found on some types of cancer cells. This test shows whether the tissue either has too much HER2/neu protein or too many copies of its gene. If the breast tumor has too much HER2/neu, then targeted therapy may be a treatment option. This can include chemotherapy with drugs thru a vein or by tablet form.

The treatment that's right for me depends mainly on the state of the cancer (Stage I), the results of the hormone receptor tests (positive), the result of the HER2/neu test (still waiting), and my general health (generally good).

For now, we do know that I will have radiation therapy.  If I don't need chemo, then radiation will begin approximately Jan 20.  It will last 6-7 weeks and will be done 5 days a week.

Hopefully, the results of the test will be in by the time I meet with the medical (chemo) oncologist on January 4.  Her name is Esther (which is a good Biblical name) AND she is the department head.  I kinda like that idea. If I do need chemo, that is first .... then radiation.

My radiation onc. gave me a copy of my surgery report and the pathology report.  Clues about the nature of a tumor come from how abnormal its cells look and what percentage of them is dividing. These and other factors are summed up as a grade of 1, 2 or 3. The higher the grade, the more aggressive the tumor.  Cancers are also classified by stage -- a measure of how extensive the disease is. The system often used is called TNM, for Tumor (size), Nodes (cancer present or not) and Metastasis (cancer spread to distant organs). A number is assigned to each category.  Once the TNM categories are determined, this info is combined with the grade to create an overall stage, from 0 for noninvasive to IV for the most invasive.

  • My diagnosis is T1cN0M0 stage I

More to tell you, but it will have to wait until tomorrow ~ wiped out.

By the way, tomorrow is our wedding anniversary :)


  1. I love the ORANGE! And yes, I added you to my bookmarks! So tomorrow (around 2:00 or 4:00am) please do explain the T1cN0M0. :)

  2. Carol,

    Thanks for keeping us informed with your blogs. It seems like the news continues to be positive although some uncertainty still remains. All that medical speak can be hard to interpret and absorb and becomes very wearing. You seem to have a good handle on it all. More importantly, you seem to be in good hands with your medical team.

    Wishing you a happy and healthy 2012.


    PS - Congratulations and happy anniversary to you and Matt.

  3. Thank you, Joe. You have certainly been an encouragement to me in your own journey. May your new year be filled with many, many blessings.


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