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Talk to me about cancer in uterus

kenny

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My best friend just Skyped me to tell me she's having surgery soon to remove a cantaloupe-sized tumor from her uterus.
They are also removing her uterus and ovaries and associated parts.

While she's on the operating table they'll biopsy the tumor and if malignant they'll closely examine nearby parts and remove anything else that may look affected and start her on chemo.

So, what are the odds of a tumor of that size in that location being cancer?
99.9%?
50%?
10%?
1%

I have no idea.
I didn't want to ask her because if it's 99.9% percent perhaps they have not told her that.
My SO is guessing it is cancer so I hope he's wrong.
I want to know, and am prepared for, the truth.

I'm beside myself.
I don't want to lose her.

She was right there for me when I had prostate cancer surgery a few years ago.
UGH! :knockout:
 

momhappy

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I'm sorry to hear this, kenny :blackeye: I think the statistics can vary depending on a number of variables (her age, etc.) so I don't think that it would be fair to guess under the circumstances. When is the surgery? I will cross my fingers that it turns out to be benign. Please keep us posted.
 

kenny

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momhappy|1444954155|3938715 said:
I'm sorry to hear this, kenny :blackeye: I think the statistics can vary depending on a number of variables (her age, etc.) so I don't think that it would be fair to guess under the circumstances. When is the surgery? I will cross my fingers that it turns out to be benign. Please keep us posted.

Thanks.
Her surgery is Oct 27.
She's 59 and very healthy, very low BMI, very healthy eater.
She swims laps, miles and miles a few times a week.

She DID smoke for around 30 years, but quit 10 years ago.
 

AGBF

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Here are random thoughts. They are medically worthless, but I would probably share them with a good friend who called on the phone and told me what you just did.

Uterine cancer is a usually a very benign form of cancer. If your friend has that, it is a great one to have. Ovarian is a terrible one to have. Although huge strides are being made with ovarian cancer, it is still not what a woman wants to hear. I lost a dear friend to ovarian cancer about five years ago, but she lasted for eight years with it and died at age 80.

My aunt heard dire predictions that she probably had cancer because the tumor in her uterus was so huge...the size of a grapefruit or whatever. That was about 30 years ago when full abdominal cutting, not laparoscopy, was the only way hysterectomies were done. She had everything out. It was not cancer. She was still glad to get it all out, though. One doesn't want things that shouldn't be growing there growing there and if a woman is done with childbearing, she doesn't need her uterus. So huge uterine tumors do not mean cancer.

Treatment for all cancer is advancing at a fast rate. New treatments are coming out all the time. Incredible progress is being made. I wouldn't want to get cancer, and there are some kinds that I would prefer to get less than other kinds, but even people that I know diagnosed with the kinds I most fear (ovarian and pancreatic) seem to have been living for many years with the cancers now.

If your friend has a tumor that originated in her uterus, I think she will be OK.

Deb/AGBF
 

VRBeauty

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My mother had a tumor the size of a large grapefruit removed from her uterus when she was about 49 years old. (I remember because it was near the time I graduated from college). They also removed associated female parts, though I couldn't tell you exactly which ones. The tumor was benign. Needless to say my mother's experience was just that, and your friend's may be different. And no matter what the statistics say, I imagine your friend is concerned about the surgery and prognosis.

I'm also sure you'll be by her side as much as you can be during this time. She's lucky to have you as a friend!
 

wildcat03

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The likelihood of a mass being that large and it being malignant is actually fairly low. If she had a malignancy that large, it is unlikely that she would still be healthy and not losing a large amount of weight, anemic, etc. Not impossible, but unlikely.
 

MissGotRocks

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It would seem to me too that if that tumor was malignant, she would have had other issues and symptoms. Not a guarantee of course but it would seem to make sense that it has a better chance of not being malignant.

It is a scary thing - just be there for her as she was for you and hope for the best. I agree with Deb though that surgical procedures and treatments are more promising today than ever before.

Please keep us posted - cancer is one of those things that can strike any of us at any time - I certainly understand your deep concern.
 

House Cat

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No medical advice, just hugs...big hugs.
 

kenny

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She and I skyped a couple hours ago.
I'm still in shock.
I'm overwhelmed with feelings about this, especially after having my major cancer surgery a few years ago.
I don't think anything is more important or scary than facing possible cancer.
Everything else takes a back burner.

She's single, and gay.
I told her I want to come up to take care of her.
I certainly needed a caregiver after my surgery but had my SO.

Over the years I've stayed in her spare room many times.
BTW, she's the one I was engaged to in high school when we were Jesus Freaks; (noting derogatory intended, that's just what we called ourselves back in the 70s).

I love her so much.
This must not take her.

She immediately told me to not drive up because her friend from overseas is flying out to be her live-in primary caregiver and another 3 local dear friends, whom I know and love, have keys and will look in daily to help with anything.

I think I'll tell her I DO really want to drive up and just hang out and be with her a couple days before Oct 27.
She and I played guitars and sang together as teens and she recently bought a new fancy guitar she hasn't had time to use.
She's been too busy.
Her employer is giving her time off starting in a few days. (Sh!t, now there's something in my eyes again.)
I got two new guitars, three amps, and almost bought a third today and think I'm gonna push for a visit.

I know her well; Today on Skype I saw fear in her eyes.
I asked her.
She said yes she's afraid, and started tearing up but pulled herself together since she was at work.

She's lost just a few pounds but has been bleeding down there.
She said now she can feel the bulge on her tummy; when swimming laps and turning around she can feel some pain (since the knees come up to the tummy).

I'm a bit panicked.
Thanks all for listening, and all the helpful comments and links.
 

kenny

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While we were on Skype my SO came home for work.
I told him the news and he instinctively and immediately faced the camera and told her, "This will be fine. You'll be okay, Don't worry."
Very comforting and loving.
I'm more practical and launched into just talking about her feelings and being there for wherever I sense she needs the conversation to go.

I wonder whether my SO's way is better.
I'm so insecure about these interpersonal things. :blackeye:
 

iLander

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I'm with your SO. She'll be fine. The pain is just muscles, she may be compensating with her movements (since she's self-conscious now) and it's tensing up her muscles. The bleeding is not a huge deal, all kinds of things bleed, even benign tumors. Go and visit, but don't be a big downer. :shhh: The surgery will tell the tale, so no reason to get het up until AFTER it's done. Go and get her mind off things, have some fun. Sometimes people just want reassurance and sympathy, they don't want a solution from you.
 

House Cat

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kenny|1444962322|3938745 said:
While we were on Skype my SO came home for work.
I told him the news and he instinctively and immediately faced the camera and told her, "This will be fine. You'll be okay, Don't worry."
Very comforting and loving.
I'm more practical and launched into just talking about her feelings and being there for wherever I sense she needs the conversation to go.

I wonder whether my SO's way is better.
I'm so insecure about these interpersonal things. :blackeye:
She knows and loves you exactly the way you are. Your souls have bonded so well for a reason. Be yourself. She needs YOU, not who you think you SHOULD be. You are a good friend Kenny. I can't imagine a better way of soothing than to spend time with someone who really knows me to my core...making music...and just being myself.
 

Yimmers

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Did she say it was a fibroid vs. a uterine sarcoma? There's a huge difference between the two. Fibroids are benign, but can cause complications in women. They are also very common (I should know, I am in the process of having one removed). Uterine sarcoma is something different. Hopefully it is not a sarcoma. They'll run path on the tumor and know quickly what it is. Fingers crossed it's not sarcoma. Bleeding is a common symptom of fibroids. If they have been around for a long time, they also calcify.

If it is a fibroid, it is very large and will take significant time to recover from, especially since they seem to be removing all of her female parts. I am surprised they are removing everything, but I get that's what many places still do. Even if your friend is no longer of child bearing age, those parts still keep other things up. However, as pointed out above, the old standard was just to remove everything, even if it was just fibroids. "You aren't using it" is a pervasive mentality.

Best wishes for your friend. Hopefully it is just a fibroid.
 

chemgirl

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I'm sorry to hear about your friend.

I don't really know much about uterine tumors, but my aunt had uterine cancer a little over 10 years ago and she is fine now. I know it's anecdotal evidence so not overly helpful. Just trying to say there is a chance that it will all be OK.
 

texaskj

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kenny, so sorry for both of you.
It's kind of good that her surgery isn't until the 27th. She'd be having it this week if her doctors thought it was really bad.

And just a thought, but maybe after the out-of-town friend has to go home and/or the others need a break, you can be the cavalry. Also, she might want a change of scenery come November and she can come and stay with you?

Just throwing out some ideas...
 

kenny

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Yimmers|1444964687|3938756 said:
Did she say it was a fibroid vs. a uterine sarcoma? There's a huge difference between the two. Fibroids are benign, but can cause complications in women. They are also very common (I should know, I am in the process of having one removed). Uterine sarcoma is something different. Hopefully it is not a sarcoma. They'll run path on the tumor and know quickly what it is. Fingers crossed it's not sarcoma. Bleeding is a common symptom of fibroids. If they have been around for a long time, they also calcify.

If it is a fibroid, it is very large and will take significant time to recover from, especially since they seem to be removing all of her female parts. I am surprised they are removing everything, but I get that's what many places still do. Even if your friend is no longer of child bearing age, those parts still keep other things up. However, as pointed out above, the old standard was just to remove everything, even if it was just fibroids. "You aren't using it" is a pervasive mentality.

Best wishes for your friend. Hopefully it is just a fibroid.

Thank you.
She did not mention either a fibroid vs. a uterine sarcoma.
I did not know to ask, and now I think it would be nosey for me to do so.

I asked her whether I could drive up and visit before the surgery.
She responded, No because she DID have to work (though in a lower-stress capacity) up until the day before her surgery.
Then her two friends will be living with her for weeks.

I'm happy she did say a visit in Dec would be welcome if things go okay and she feels up to it. :appl:
 

Gypsy

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If you can, I would go and help her out.

I've had a few hospital stays and some outpatient procedures for uterine'/ovarian cysts (one fibroid and one dermoid) and honestly, having someone there just to take care of you for a couple days can make all the difference in feeling positive and recovering faster. So much of it is mental. I had my family the first surgery and my husband the second. Both times I was biopsied and neither time (thankfully) was it cancerous. They are probably going to have to cut her open if the cysts is that big, I would think. If they can't do it laproscopically (one of mine was laproscopically, one wasn't) the recovery is going to be harder. My aunt had a cyst just like you are describing. Huge. They cut her open, and it was benign. SO hopefully your friend has the same experience.


You are a great friend Kenny to be so concerned

FYI about fibroids... yes, they can cause a lot of bleeding issues. I won't go into ANY detail, but I know this from personal experience. And life after surgery was 100% better.
 

arkieb1

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Sending lots of dust and good vibes to your friend. My mother had a friend who had cancer in the uterus and had everything removed years and years ago..... She lived to be an old lady. One of my husband's friends wives had ovarian cancer three small kids and she died in under two years.

I mention those two stories not to scare you but to agree with Deb, these days they can do many things to help with uterine cancer, women with ovarian cancer, which is much harder to detect have much worse odds. Hopefully in the case of your friend it will be benign or something that they can treat.

Go and see her some time soon when she has the time, life is way too short for all of us. Let her know she is well loved.
 

chrono

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My cousin had fibroids removed without complication. It seems common and benign in women? I do not know anything about the cancerous version. You are a good friend, Kenny. Instead of having 3 caretakers at once at her place, how about working out a rotating schedule with her friends so that there will be at least 1 person there at all times whilst the rest takes a break to recharge?
 

AGBF

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Gypsy|1444976724|3938792 said:
If you can, I would go and help her out.

I've had a few hospital stays and some outpatient procedures for uterine'/ovarian cysts (one fibroid and one dermoid) and honestly, having someone there just to take care of you for a couple days can make all the difference in feeling positive and recovering faster. So much of it is mental. I had my family the first surgery and my husband the second.

Given how freely I have been sharing in the two threads currently dealing with female anatomy and sexuality, I am sure you will all be shocked to know that I held anything back!

But I, also, like Gypsy, had surgery on one of my ovaries...over 20 years ago. I had not planned to share it since kenny's friend appeared to have a uterine/endometrial tumor. My many fertility procedures did lead me through six endometrial biopsies, however. (kenny, an endometrial biopsy can tell whether or not a woman had uterine cancer.) I also had an ovarian cyst that would not not resolve-a sign that it could be malignant-so my doctor went in to decide whether to remove the cyst or the ovary. I ended up losing the ovary and the Fallopian tube at age 42. I had a 1 year-old infant whom I could not lift for a few weeks, so I was glad to have family supporting me.

One learns a lot about various cancers through all these tests and procedures. I was actually very grateful to get rid of that ovary I go rid of because it turned out to have been very damaged. I did not need to keep having cysts form there. While I was having the laparoscopy my doctor was able to examine my other ovary, which was fine. I feel I am at less risk for ovarian cancer now, although of course I can still get it in my one remaining ovary.

AGBF
 

kenny

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Thanks all for the support, information and help. :wavey:

FWIW, I did ask her if they could do a biopsy before the surgery and she replied, no.

She met and loves her surgeon, which is important.
She has an HMO, Kaiser, which she is happy with.

BTW as a PSA I'll mention this, which I mentioned to her since her surgical incision will be vertical not horizontal.

When I had my radical prostatectomy the surgical wound was a good 8" long, from my navel to my Mr. Johnson.
Pants, and underwear rubbed against the wound.
The friction slowed the healing and was torture.

I figured out I could use suspenders on my pants.
Then if I wore a very long shirt I didn't have to button the waist-button or even zip up the zipper all the way to the top. :appl:
I also cut through the elastic waist band of several undies.

This was a god-send!
It made me a zillion times more comfortable during the months it took for the wound to heal.
 

AGBF

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kenny|1445012478|3938928 said:
FWIW, I did ask her if they could do a biopsy before the surgery and she replied, no.

When I said that a biopsy of the uterus was used to tell if there was cancer, I did not mean to imply that it could be used to diagnose your friend's tumor and I hope I did not convey that. (You did not imply that I said that, but when you posted what you did, I suddenly started to rethink what I had written.)

There could be many reasons why a routine endometrial biopsy would not be helpful in your friend's case and my medical knowledge is so limited that I am sure that I could only think of a few of the reasons. One that springs to mind is that it has traditionally been considered unwise to open up a site to the air simply to biopsy it. Your friend is going to have everything done at once, which sounds very sounder medically! I am very happy that she likes her surgeon. Being comfortable with your doctors and feeling free to ask them quetions is very important. I am glad you were there to give her the tip on the pants. I had nothing to wear home after my ovarian surgery, because I certainly couldn't get into my jeans! I had never thought about it.

Deb
 

Calliecake

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Kenny, You are a very good friend. I am sure you have been a great comfort to her. It your friend has a large fibroid tumor chances of it being malignant would probably be small. Fibroid tumors are usually benign.
 

tyty333

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Sending your friend (and you, Kenny) some healthy, healing dust. Hoping for only good news for her!
 

mom2dolls

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Kenny, I am sorry. Sending prayers for your friend! I would also go up and be there for her. She will need all the support around her. It is incredibly scary to go through.
I do believe the doctors are automatically doing a hysterectomy to remove everything at one time. Based on her age, obviously not having any future children etc. It is best to do it right away.

Three years ago, I went to the doctor for my regular yearly exam and some irregular bleeding. My pap came back abnormal. Dr. had me in within a few days for a ultrasound and hysteroscopy. I had a large mass in my cervix that was extremely vascular. Looked like cotton balls with veins running through it. Weird.
I had surgery within a week for a cone biopsy and she hoped to be able to remove the mass. Unfortunately, she could not get it all and I was scheduled for a hysterectomy within two weeks.
I was 36. The mass was not cancer. Recovery was rough, honestly. Two major surgeries within a few weeks of each other. I also had the Da Vinci Robot for my hysterectomy. Please do not ever consent to this procedure! Whole other post. Terrible side effects.
 

pinkjewel

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kenny|1444973309|3938787 said:
Yimmers|1444964687|3938756 said:
Did she say it was a fibroid vs. a uterine sarcoma? There's a huge difference between the two. Fibroids are benign, but can cause complications in women. They are also very common (I should know, I am in the process of having one removed). Uterine sarcoma is something different. Hopefully it is not a sarcoma. They'll run path on the tumor and know quickly what it is. Fingers crossed it's not sarcoma. Bleeding is a common symptom of fibroids. If they have been around for a long time, they also calcify.

If it is a fibroid, it is very large and will take significant time to recover from, especially since they seem to be removing all of her female parts. I am surprised they are removing everything, but I get that's what many places still do. Even if your friend is no longer of child bearing age, those parts still keep other things up. However, as pointed out above, the old standard was just to remove everything, even if it was just fibroids. "You aren't using it" is a pervasive mentality.

Best wishes for your friend. Hopefully it is just a fibroid.

Thank you.
She did not mention either a fibroid vs. a uterine sarcoma.
I did not know to ask, and now I think it would be nosey for me to do so.

I asked her whether I could drive up and visit before the surgery.
She responded, No because she DID have to work (though in a lower-stress capacity) up until the day before her surgery.
Then her two friends will be living with her for weeks.

I'm happy she did say a visit in Dec would be welcome if things go okay and she feels up to it. :appl:

Kenny, I'm sorry to hear about your friend. However, she should have had an MRI which can usually tell the difference between tumors and fibroids. I know thru personal experience. I had a huge fibroid and rather complicated surgery to remove it. Yes, everything had to be removed as the fibroid had attached itself all over the place. But even with complicated surgery, I was out of the hospital in 3 days-lol. I feel hospitals are not safe places to be now. The fact that she is saying it's a tumor leads me to believe that it is not a fibroid. I just can't imagine that she wouldn't already have had an MRI. But, as many have already said, there are a significant amount of uterine tumors that are not cancerous. Try to stay positive.
 

luv2sparkle

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Kenny, I am so sorry about the news from your friend. Many good thoughts for her that there is no cancer and she is on the way to complete recovery soon. What a blessing to have a friend like you who will drop everything and come to her aid to help her recover!
 

iluvshinythings

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Kenny, I'm sending mega dust to your friend.

My SIL had a nine pound tumor removed from her uterus a couple of years ago. She's never been heavy and even the doctor was surprised at how big the tumor was. While they had her opened up, they removed everything. It wasn't cancer and she recovered from the surgery without any complications.

I'm 49 and had a hysterectomy in June for similar issues. I had several large fibroids (lime sized) and polyps along with severe bleeding and cramping. They removed my uterus, tubes and cervix but left my ovaries. The surgeon used laparoscopy which I understand cuts the pain and recovery time dramatically. When they biopsied the fibroids, everything was benign. The recovery was bad for about a week and then I felt good enough to discontinue pain meds before two weeks. I didn't feel like having visitors for a couple of weeks and was incredibly tired for about a month. I think your friend's recovery will take longer, but she'll feel better when it's over. I feel so much better now!!! I wish I had the surgery sooner. Physically, I feel 100% better and not having "that time" and dreading "that time" has been wonderful for my mental health.

You are a great friend and she's lucky to have you. Just knowing someone cares and will be there to help must be a huge relief for her.
 

kenny

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pinkjewel|1445093470|3939237 said:
kenny|1444973309|3938787 said:
Yimmers|1444964687|3938756 said:
Did she say it was a fibroid vs. a uterine sarcoma? There's a huge difference between the two. Fibroids are benign, but can cause complications in women. They are also very common (I should know, I am in the process of having one removed). Uterine sarcoma is something different. Hopefully it is not a sarcoma. They'll run path on the tumor and know quickly what it is. Fingers crossed it's not sarcoma. Bleeding is a common symptom of fibroids. If they have been around for a long time, they also calcify.

If it is a fibroid, it is very large and will take significant time to recover from, especially since they seem to be removing all of her female parts. I am surprised they are removing everything, but I get that's what many places still do. Even if your friend is no longer of child bearing age, those parts still keep other things up. However, as pointed out above, the old standard was just to remove everything, even if it was just fibroids. "You aren't using it" is a pervasive mentality.

Best wishes for your friend. Hopefully it is just a fibroid.

Thank you.
She did not mention either a fibroid vs. a uterine sarcoma.
I did not know to ask, and now I think it would be nosey for me to do so.

I asked her whether I could drive up and visit before the surgery.
She responded, No because she DID have to work (though in a lower-stress capacity) up until the day before her surgery.
Then her two friends will be living with her for weeks.

I'm happy she did say a visit in Dec would be welcome if things go okay and she feels up to it. :appl:

Kenny, I'm sorry to hear about your friend. However, she should have had an MRI which can usually tell the difference between tumors and fibroids. I know thru personal experience. I had a huge fibroid and rather complicated surgery to remove it. Yes, everything had to be removed as the fibroid had attached itself all over the place. But even with complicated surgery, I was out of the hospital in 3 days-lol. I feel hospitals are not safe places to be now. The fact that she is saying it's a tumor leads me to believe that it is not a fibroid. I just can't imagine that she wouldn't already have had an MRI. But, as many have already said, there are a significant amount of uterine tumors that are not cancerous. Try to stay positive.

Thank you for the support and the info and I'm glad you have recovered. :appl:
I don't know whether she has had an MRI or not.
I feel that's a question that would have been appropriate when she first Skyped me to give me the news.
Unless she brings up details I think it would be intrusive and not appropriate for me to make suggestions to her and make her doubt her doctors.
I can't image much that is more personal and private than this and I do want to respect boundaries.
 
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