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With a history of breast cancer, should I worry about uterine cancer if I have a fibroid that's larger than my uterus?

By Anonymous March 31, 2009 - 12:31am
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I've had a pet scan and pelvic MRI which shows fibroid of 15 cm at largest part and no indications of cancer. Also had blood test which came back negative. With a history of breast cancer (ER-pos,PR-pos,HR2-neg) - recent mastectomy, in chemo - is there a better than normal chance that I may have uterine cancer? Hysterectomy has been delayed due to breast cancer.

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Hi, Terri, thanks for the updated info, and it's so nice to see your smiling face!

Your surgery sounds understandable and reasonable in light of your health issues, and it sounds like you have a very good doctor who explains things to your satisfaction and is proactive for your health in the future.

So if I've read things correctly, you need to finish fighting off the infection so that you can start chemo so that you can finish chemo so that you can have your hysterectomy, is that right? (That's quite a to-do list. It makes my whining over my list look pitiful!)

You're an awesome example to the rest of us. I look forward to your updates and to the point in the future when you can give us the "all clear."

April 3, 2009 - 4:23pm

Terri, thank you so much for your thoughts. With a diagnosis just in November, you haven't actually had that much time to process everything, and yet you're doing marvelously.

I've not heard of avascular necrosis before. I'll have to do a little research on that for our site. Sounds like something many people would be interested in.

Come back and update us from time to time through your chemo and surgery, and consider creating a "Terri" login so that others can follow your journey even when you start new posts!

April 2, 2009 - 8:25am
EmpowHER Guest

Oops, that would be the femur bone, not the tibia! Terri

April 1, 2009 - 5:20pm

Terri, you have a terrific attitude, especially after all you have already been through!! It sounds as though you are educating yourself and being proactive, which is exactly what we have to do to take care of ourselves, even when we have terrific doctors.

When was your breast cancer diagnosed? And how have you managed to keep your spirits up and your attitude as positive as it is?

April 1, 2009 - 8:50am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Diane Porter)

Diane, cancer diagnosis was November 26 of last year. My attitude through all of this is that 2009 is a year of healing, not of sickness. Apparently, I've been ill for a while and didn't know it! So this year things are getting fixed. I've enjoyed excellent health my entire life - don't get colds, flu or anything, so I guess it's my turn (just kidding). I also found out three days before my mastectomy in January that I have avascular necrosis of the left hip - means the end of the tibia in my hip joint isn't getting blood supply so the bone is dying. That will be my third health priority, after the cancer and the hysterectomy. But none of these are life threatening conditions, so I'm doing better than a LOT of people...counting my blessings and thanking God for each new morning.

April 1, 2009 - 4:51pm
EmpowHER Guest

Thank you for your response. First, I'm feeling well. Have had complications from the mastectomy - bacterial infection. Chemo was halted until it's taken care of. Had tissue expander surgically removed to allow healing as I was producing copious amounts of fluid, presumably due to the infection, and was aspirated 4 times in 2 1/2 weeks after the surgical drain was removed in week five. Every third to fifth day after it was removed they were drawing between 250 & 450 cc's of fluid, so a drain was put back in. Once the type of bacteria was identified two weeks ago, I started on the right antibiotic and the expander was removed. I'm doing very well since then. Fluid is down to 20 cc/day. Will hopefully have the drain removed this week. Then once I'm cleared of the infection, I'll restart chemo.

Regarding the uterine cancer risks you listed, I have five of them! I'm going to discuss it with my surgeon. To be honest, we haven't spent much time on the subject. It's just one of those things on the horizon that's going to have to be taken care of. He has said that because my tumor is ER-Pos,PR-Pos, removing the ovaries will be therapeutic for my breast cancer. I'm having a hysterectomy because the fibroid continues to grow and is displacing my bladder. There is no pain or excessive bleeding (periods stopped 5 months ago). It now measures 15x8 cm. Also have a cyst on my one remaining ovary, so that's coming out too.

I will speak to my doctor about this. Thank you for your insights!


March 31, 2009 - 1:53pm
(reply to Anonymous)

Hi Terri,

Thanks for more information! You do sound extremely knowledgeable and a great advocate for yourself, which I know can be difficult.

I'm glad I could provide some more information, but I'm sorry it was not "better news". It sounds like you and your doctor are making great choices.

I'm curious to know why your doctor is recommending that your ovaries be removed due to it being "therapeutic for breast cancer". I thought this was interesting, and would love to learn more about this. Are you seeking a full hysterectomy, due to your risk factors?

Look forward to talking with you again!

April 2, 2009 - 1:59pm
(reply to Alison Beaver)

Hi Allison. The reason my doctor said that the surgery would be therapeutic for my breast cancer is because my tumor was receptive to both estrogen and progesterone. I only have one ovary as my other one was removed years ago due to a large cyst. Currently, my remaining ovary also has cysts on it so it's coming out with the uterus. I'm fairly certain that my doctor wouldn't recommend a hyterectomy as part of my breast cancer treatment, it's just a side benefit of needing it in the first place. It's being done because of the size of the fibroid and the fact that it's now displacing my bladder. Since I already have grown children, it won't be needed anymore anyway(?!)


April 2, 2009 - 2:31pm

Hi anon,

How are you feeling after your recent mastectomy, and current chemo treatment? I'm sorry you are having to go through all this, and now have to worry about fibroids.

You will be relieved to know that fibroids are benign growths, and do not develop into uterine (or any) cancer.

There are several factors that do increase the risk for uterine cancer:
* age 50 or over
* history of endometrial hyperplasia
* estrogen replacement therapy (ERT)
* being overweight
* diabetes
* hypertension (high blood pressure)
* history of other cancers
* history of taking tamoxifen for breast cancer treatment or prevention
* Caucasian women

What has your doctor said about your increased risk for uterine cancer, due to your history of breast cancer?

The Medical Center at OSU had some great information about uterine fibroids:
"Symptoms of fibroid tumors, which depend on size and location, include irregular bleeding, vaginal discharge, and frequent urination. For fibroids that press against nearby organs and cause pain, surgery may be necessary. Many times, however, fibroids do not cause symptoms and do not need to be treated. After menstrual periods cease, fibroid tumors may become smaller and may disappear altogether."

Are you having any symptoms from your fibroids? Many women in my family had fibroids that caused heavy, irregular bleeding, but again, these do not increase your risk for uterine cancer. You mentioned that you will be having a hysterectomy; is this to relieve symptoms caused by your fibroid, or is it doctor-recommended due to your increased risk for uterine cancer (because of your history of breast cancer)?

Take care, hope to hear back from you soon.

March 31, 2009 - 12:25pm
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