Today I went back to see my consultant to get my stitches checked. Millie drove me up to the hospital and after a couple of hours in the waiting area, We anxiously hoped this routine check would be over and down with quickly – we had shopping and lunching in Kingston planned!! I was called in to see the consultant.
I should have realised that there was something odd when he came into the consulting room with a Macmillan nurse – but I’ve never been through this before so again, why would I notice anything odd! Mr Davies shuffled a little in his chair after sitting round and talked briefly about the operation he’d performed. He looked a little crestfallen when he said “Anna I’m really sorry but he’d received the path results and they indicated somethine else” – I had an urge to nip round the table and give him a hug! I felt terrible for him as he had done such a fantastic job to reconstruct my breast and had they managed to get clear margins, I’d require nothing further.
He then went on to talk about the ‘lump’ that had been removed and the histopathology report which said that the lump (or should I say lumps) tested not as benign fibroadenomas but as malignant phylloides tumour. A very different result and so very different in next steps.
The consultant and nurse were a little taken aback when I said that I knew about phylloides tumours and had thought that this may be what I had (albeit in a benign form) as I had done a little internet research and diagnosed myself with this – the main aspect being the burning feeling on the skin over the tumour and hot sharp stabbing pains in the breast.
They told me that as this is very rare (particularly in a malignant form) neither of them had actually seen or treated one and also told me that I had to remember that it wasn’t Cancer as we all understood it in that it doesn’t spread to other cells and is contained purely in the breast tissue. He then gave me the histopathology report with a wry smile saying that knowing that I was in IT I would need the report so that I could spell the long medical words!
The next steps advised is to perform another excision to remove the tumour and ensure that we get clear margins. Radiationtherapy may also be considered.
I was then taken to another room with the nurse to talk things through further… that’s when it really hit and the waterworks started! I just kept thinking “why me?”, “why now?”, “what next?” and a million other questions…
As I went back into the waiting area I was in pieces and poor Millie looked up from her book to see me standing there like a lemon with tears running down my face. (I since felt awful about not being in control as all the new patients with questions running through are now probably wondering if that’s going to be their result too).
The report told us the following:
Fibroadenoma right breast
Two pieces of irregular fibrofatty tissue 85mm and 25mm, weighing 33g. 7(7) krp.jc
Sections show pieces of a phylloides tumour which is associated with marked stromal overgrowth and slit-like compressed epithelial lumina. Frequent mitoses are observed – up to 10/mm2 including abnormal forms (tripolar). In addition there are scattered enlarged moderately pleomorphic cells present. There also appears to be infiltration of fat by the atypical stroma.
These appearances are consistent with a malignant phylloides tumour. No vascular invasion is seen. The lesion appears to reach the margins in several areas.
I don’t think I stopped crying or saying “Bollox” over and over for the rest of the day.