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1st Breast Cancer now Ovarian Cancer 1st Breast Cancer now Ovarian Cancer

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Unread 03-27-2005, 06:24 PM
1st Breast Cancer now Ovarian Cancer

My younger sister was diagnosed two yrs ago with Breast cancer with lymph involvment. Underwent mastectomy,chemo and radiation. She handled it extremely well considering. After ayear she underwent surgery with mass from her own body to create a new breast and a month later underwent reconstuctive surgery to ensure a "matching pair". Unfortunately, these two surgeries didn't go as expected, she is now more lopsided that before. To make matters worse, prior to moving to another state in February, her gyn/onc did a CT scan, just to see how she was doing- not good, ovarian cancer suspected. She moved, found a new gyn/onc immediately, and just last week underwent a complete hysterectomy. Stage 3B ovarian cancer, however complete pathology not yet available. She is to begin another 6 rounds of chemo within the next week. According to the Dr's, these two cancers are not related to each other. Is this "good"? How did she develop anotehr cancer after all those treatments?We are living in different states and if anyine else has experieinced this, I would appreciate hearing from you, as I don't know what to expect. Can't seem to find information on the likleness of these occurances and the outcome.
I was diagnosed 12/04 with uterine cancer,stage1, and have been doing very well, with the exception of extreme weight gin and my breasts growing tremendously, 36D to 40DD.
Do I need to be worried about breast cancer too. What about my daughter, and other sisters, let alone my 11 nieces.
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Unread 03-27-2005, 06:48 PM
1st Breast Cancer now Ovarian Cancer

Hi Toni,

I am soo sorry to hear that your sister is going through such a hard time. Having one kind of cancer is hard enough and now two. I can only imagine how she is feeling.

From what I have been told, breast cancer and ovarian cancer are sister cancers. What I am unsure of is whether or not they are connected within the same person.

My mom (now age 76 and going strong) had breast cancer 28 years ago. She had a mastectomy and did oral chemo at that time. My fear of getting breast cancer was always on my mind thinking that my turn was next. Well, I did not get breast cancer, I did get ovarian cancer, the sister cancer, that I knew nothing about until 3 years ago.

Unfortunately you seem to have alot of gynecological cancers within your family. I would go for genetic testing because you also have alot of females to watch out for.

I wish you all the best.
Unread 03-27-2005, 06:48 PM
1st Breast Cancer now Ovarian Cancer

They say breast cancer and ovarian cancer can be linked. They are usually caused by the brca gene mutation. I think if you have had breast cancer your chances of developing ovarian cancer in the future in increased.
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Unread 03-27-2005, 07:06 PM
1st Breast Cancer now Ovarian Cancer


The subject of genetic testing was brought up to my sister, since she has now been diagnosed with these two cancers. She is thinking about it, but presently is only concerned with her current situation.
Do you know what is involved with the genetic testing? If the testing comes back positive, what choices does one have? I'm now considering speaking with my gyn, but I'm not sure I really want to know- what if they come back positive? Do I stop enjoying myself wondering everyday if I am going to develop another cancer?
Do I scare my 22 yr old daughter, and make her have it? She hasn't even begun to live yet.
I know from research that my sisters cancers are sister cancers, but why didn't all her treatments take care of this? Why does she have to endure those awful treatments again?
Unread 03-27-2005, 11:12 PM
1st Breast Cancer now Ovarian Cancer

I am positive for the BRCA 2 gene. I am having a hysterectomy next month. My gma died of ovarian cancer and my mom had breast cancer at a young age. Usually the person in the family that had cancer is tested. It is quite expensive for this test. Some insurance covers it. Myriad genetics is the only place that does this testing. There is a lot of information on this website. www.myriad.com
Then if this person tests positive for a gene mutation, other people in the family can be tested at a more reasonable price (around $350). It is stressful to find out, but I look at it as a gift, to hopefully keep me around for my three young sons. I am very sorry that your sister has to go through all this and my thoughts and prayers are with you. Feel free to e-mail me if you have any other questions about the testing.
Unread 03-28-2005, 06:16 AM
1st Breast Cancer now Ovarian Cancer

Hi Toni,

You have lots of wonderful questions and unfortunately I cannot answer them for you. I truthfully do not have the answers but I do think that your doctor should be able to.

My husbands cousin was going thru breast cancer treatment at the same time that I was doing ovarian cancer treatment. We did have different chemos so I can only assume that different combinations target different areas and cells.

It would be nice if there was one chemo combination that targeted and got rid of all kinds of cancer cells and rid us all of these horrible diseases.

Please discuss your concerns with your doctor. I can tell by reading your post that these concerns are really bothering you and rightfully so. Hopefully he or she will be able to put your mind at ease.

Unread 03-28-2005, 06:16 AM
1st Breast Cancer now Ovarian Cancer

Hi, Toni,

I'm sorry that your younger sister has had a very tough couple of years medically. Unfortunately, having a history of breast, uterine, ovarian or colon cancer increases one's risk for developing any of the other three cancers in the group.

Next month I will be a six-year survivor of surgical stage 1C, clinical stage 2B, endometrial cancer. Because of my uterine cancer history, I know that I am at an elevated risk for these other cancers and am vigilant about making sure I have timely mammograms, clinical breast exams, and a colonoscopy every three years. I also still receive thorough examinations from my gynecologic oncologist every six months.

You also might want to consider that obesity is an additional risk factor for many cancers--including endometrial, breast and colon.

Best wishes to you and your sister. Please encourage her to check in with this board as there are many very knowledgeable women who have undergone or are currently undergoing treatment for ovarian cancer.

Unread 03-28-2005, 07:30 AM
1st Breast Cancer now Ovarian Cancer

s Toni

The cancer center where I am treated for ovarian cancer has a family risk assessment program.
You may want to check for a similar program in the area where you live. They make recommendations regarding genetic testing and even offered some advice for screening and prevention to the females in my family.
Best wishes.

oxoxox karenann
Unread 03-28-2005, 12:11 PM
1st Breast Cancer now Ovarian Cancer

Hi, Toni!

A couple of thoughts.

First, the thought leaders at Cedars-Sinai have recently noted that people with the BRCA-1 gene seem to respond better to Cisplatin than they do to Carboplatin (which is the standard frontline treatment). This is one reason that genetic testing might prove helpful.

Second, I think that famiy history results in only 10-15% of ovarian cancer cases. (Karenann can do a headcheck for me on that one.) So having it in your family does not necessarily mean that you will get it.

Third, are any of you Ashkanazi Jews? This group seems to have a stronger predisposition to carrying the BRCA-1 or 2 gene. If this is your background, you might want to talk to your doctor about the role that genetic testing can play in all of your lives.

While undergoing chemo, I met a lovely girl who had Stage 3C ovarian cancer . . . yet was just 17 years old. She is now 18, and has already recurred. She did go through genetic testing (as she is half Jewish and so young), but she was negative on all tests. She thus does not carry either of the BRCA mutations.

I share this story to help you know that not everything is necessarily related to something else. I always wonder, "Did I drink too much wine? Eat a horrible diet for too many years? Not exercise enough?" And then I meet at 31-year-old who is a vegetarian, non-drinker triathlete . . . and she has Stage 3C ovarian cancer, too. I think it's sometimes just the luck of the draw.

There are a lot of things your sister can do to lower her estrogen levels, including daily exercise. Breaking a sweat 4-5 times per week is important. But if she's only strong enough to do a 40-minute walk 4-5 times a week, that will be a big help.

If you'd like, feel free to PM me with your e-mail address and I can send you some information that I've compiled from a number of books and meetings with various nutritionists who specialize in treating people who have or have had cancer. It may be helpful to you.

Unread 03-28-2005, 03:58 PM
1st Breast Cancer now Ovarian Cancer

Thank you all for your responses to my questions/comments. I realize that I need to discuss my concerns with my doctor, but sometimes it is easier to talk to other women and use them as a sounding board. Thank you for listening to me rant and rave. I just am so upset that she must endure this all over again.

Our family heritage is Italian and Irish, so based on this, we are not at a high risk for the gene, but once my sister decides what she wants to do, I'll follow her lead.

We are not an obese family, as a matter of fact, we are probably on the smaller side, so obesity isn't a factor for us either.I've reviewed the risk factors for the three types of cancer we have endured these past two years, and to be honest, we do not fall into the risk categories so I guess, the man upstairs has determined that we are a strong family and we can handle this.

I have given my sister this site, and hopeflly she will utilize it. I have found everyone to be very helpful and willing to listen.

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