7th August 22:41
My wife developed b.c. at the end of 2001. After a mastectomy, FEC chemo x
4, Taxotere x 4 and radiotherapy she seemed clear of it by the end of last
year. Now it's back, on the same side and right on the interface between
her implant and remaining tissue, near the surface of the skin.
I'm trying to find some sources of reliable information.
1 Survival Rates/Life Expectancy
I'm reluctant to ask about this in front of my wife when we visit the
hospital. Are there any sources of reliable stats?
2 Private/NHS Treatment
We live in England where nearly all medical treatment is provided by the
government via the severely under resourced National Health Service. Horror
stories of people being left to deteriorate or die on waiting lists frighten
us greatly. There have already been delays in pathology and now we've been
put on a waiting list for a liver ultrasound despite being told it would be
done in a couple of days.
We would be interested to hear opinions from anybody in Britain who opted
for private treatment. Is it any quicker? Are the private hospitals well
enough equipped/staffed to deal with complex diseases like cancer? Can you
mix private & NHS treatment under the same consultant?
My wife went for a six monthly check up a few weeks before finding new lumps
herself and being diagnosed with the recurrence. The check up consisted of
a mammogram of her remaining breast (i.e. the other side) which was checked
by a radiographer and a brief appointment with a surgical registrar.
Obviously, the check up didn't spot the recurrent tumours. I was very
surprised that there was no examination at all of the breast where the
disease first appeared and which now contains an implant.
What else can be done to detect a recurrence? Are blood tests available? Is
it normal not to check the breast where the cancer initially appeared? If
it can't be mammogrammed, are other scans available (ultrasonic, MRI, CT
etc) or other diagnostic tests.
Thanks for any advice.
7th August 22:42
Live in the US so I can't help in that regard.
It sounds like you wife may have a local recurrence which isn't that bad ,
if that is the case her survival is the same after treatment as it was
before the recurrence.
If they classify as metastasis the average rate is 2.5 years after diagnosis
or the recurrence but some women can live 20 or more years after the
diagnose of the recurrence.
The standard follow up here in the US after treatment is mammogram every 6
months for 2 years and then once a year in year three and a physical exam
with a breast exam. No routine blood work is recommended.
There is no evidence that blood work or other tests done earlier would
I wish you and your wife the best,
8th August 16:55
Sorry to hear about your wife. My wife Liz was diagnosed March 02,
and was lucky enough to have insurance through her employer. She
didn't remember until she was told she would have to wait nearly four
weeks to see a surgeon.
All of her treatment since then has been private. We live in
Twickenham (SW London), and she has had various parts of her treatment
at the Clementine Churchill, Cromwell and Lister Hospitals. It has
all been of very high quality throughout.
Re scans: She has been for a couple of check ups since finishing
radiotherapy in November. So far, it's only been a mammogram, but she
is scheduled for MRI e end of the year. Part of her initial diagnosis
was performed using ultrasound.
If we can be of any help, do email me privately. Somewhere I have a
list of hospital ratings (Sunday Times).