Breast Cancer: The Story of Two Sisters

On 20 May 2012, RO (B-696) came to our centre. It has been some years since we last saw her.  Anyway, we were glad that RO is still doing fine.  RO came with her blood test results (see table) and we read RO’s meridian using the AcuGraph. Basically the results were alright. RO also felt that she was doing fine without any complaints whatsoever.

We told RO, “There is nothing much to worry about. Do what you are doing and keep it that way!” She had “won” the battle against her breast cancer – without chemotherapy or radiotherapy of course!

The Story of RO

Sometime in 2001, RO felt a lump in her right breast.  The lump was mobile and it came on and off. There was no pain. RO was only 36 years old then. A year later, on 9 October 2002, she went to consult a doctor in a private hospital. An ultrasound indicated an irregular mass with an approximate size of 1.7 x 1.4 x 1.1 cm. Multiple small microcalcification are noted in this lesion, very suspicious of a primary malignancy. A tru-cut biopsy was performed and confirmed an invasive mammary ductual carcinoma, Grade 3.

RO subsequently underwent a right mastectomy. The pathology report dated 16 October 2002 indicated an infiltrating ductal carcinoma with presence of tumour cells close to the deep surgical margin. All six right axillary lymph nodes are free of tumour. The tumour cells are moderately positive for estrogen and progesterone receptors. There is an over expression of P53 in about 40% of the tumour cells. There is focal membrane positivity for c-ErbB2 oncoprotein in the tumour cells.

Comment by Consultant Pathologist:  An ER and PR positive tumour is likely to respond to hormone therapy and is associated with a greater probability of a disease-free survival. ErbB2 (neu/HER-2) is an independent prognostic marker, and overexpression is correlated with a poor prognosis. It is generally associated with a shorter disease-free interval and lower overall survival rate. In some studies, p-53 has been shown to be an independent marker of adverse prognosis.

An ultrasound on 17 October 2002 indicated presence of a 3.4 x 2.5 cm uterine fibroid. There was no evidence of metastatic disease.

RO was referred to an oncologist for further management. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy were suggested. She refused further medical treatment and came to seek our help on 1 November 2002. She was prescribed Capsule A, C-tea and Breast M. In addition she was asked to take GY 5 and GY 6 for her uterine fibroid which she continued to take for a while and then stopped.

Since October 2002 until 2012, we got to see RO once a while. Her blood test results over the years (from November 2002 to May 2012) are as follows:

11 Nov02 12 Nov03 29May04 26Aug06 4Jun08 10 Oct10 8Jun 11 16May12
ESR 22  H 10 4 24 H 2 33 H 22 H 20
RBC 4.6 4.4 L 4.5 4.4 4.6 4.8 5.0 4.0
Haemoglobin 9.4 L 9.9 L 10.4 L 8.9 L 9.6 L 8.9 9.6 L 7.3 L
Platelet 390 332 394 359 385 469 H 487 H 397
WBC

6.1

6.0 8.6 7.2 5.4 4.7 5.2 5.0
CEA 0.1 1.3 0.8 0.2 <0.5 1.1 1.5 1.4
CA 15.3 14.0 11.2 12.1 10.5 7.7 10.9 13.5 11.7
CA 125 n/a 49.1 H 65.3 H 108.4 H 99.9 H 53.5 H 74.3 H 156.6 H

 

The Story of RA (sister of RO)

In mid-July 2004, we received a fax from RO requesting us to help her sister, RA (T-20), who had just discovered a lump in her right breast. RA was 41 years old then. A biopsy was performed followed by a right mastectomy.  According to the pathology report of 6 July 2004, the tumour was about 4.0 x 30 x 25 mm in size. It was an infiltrating ductal as well as intraductal and comedo type carcinoma. There was lymphatic vascular embolization of tumour with metastases to four out of thirteen right axillary lymph nodes. There was also Paget’s disease of the right nipple.

RA was asked to undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy. She refused and came to seek our help on 17 July 2004. She was prescribed Capsule A, Breast M and C-tea.  RA took our herbs for more than a year and was doing alright.

1 Oct 04

24 Jan 05

24 Dec05

ESR

6

2

5

RBC

4.4

4.3

4.5

Platelet

193

192

232

WBC

5.9

5.7

7.3

Alkaline phosphatase

65

78

59

AST

21

26

21

ALT

28

27

36

GGT

9

11

11

CEA

20

2.4

1.8

CA 15.3

6.9

4.1

7.1

In 2004 (from July to December) we got to see RA only three times. In 2005 RA came to see us five times. We suspected from then on she defaulted taking the herbs and also did not take care of her diet. Her first visit to us in the year 2006 was in July.  She told us that she felt like there was a “hard bone” in her right breast. We suggested that she go and check it out with her doctor. She was reluctant. We got to see RA again three months later, in October 2006. After that she disappeared from our “radar.”

On 10 June 2007, RA came back to see us again. She told us of what had happened the past one year. The “hard bone” which she told us earlier was actually a recurrence and this occurred at the previous operation scar. But there was also a lump under her right armpit. Since she ignored it for a while, the lump “burst” and left a hole in her breast. She went back to her surgeon and was referred to an oncologist. So from January to May 2007. RA underwent six cycles of chemotherapy. On completion of the treatment RA was awarded a “Certificate of Achievement” below.

The chemo treatment cost  RM 18,000. After the chemo, the lump in the armpit shrunk.  She was then referred to the government hospital for further management. The doctor at the government hospital told her that radiation was not necessary in her case. A bone scan showed that the cancer had spread to her bones. She was put on Tamoxifen and had been taking it when she came to see us.

On 2 December 2007, RA came back to see us again with her CT scan report done on 21 November 2007. The study showed presence of 0.5 and 0.7 cm nodules in the apex of her right lung and a 0.3 cm nodule in the apex of her left lung.  There is a 0.9 cm node seen at the right side of her chest wall which could represent recurrence. There is a 1 cm hypodense cyst in Segment 2 of her liver and multiple hypodense lesions in Segments 3, 4, 5 and 8. These represent liver secondaries. 

RA was told that her cancer was a Stage 4. She had to undergo more chemotherapy. We did not get to see RA again. We came to know from her sister that RA went for more chemotherapy and died after that.

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