Giving hope to those affected
by secondary breast cancer

Research. Support. Education.

Diane: My Diagnosis Journey

17th September 2021 by Jack Allan SBC & Me

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On the 2nd of each month we talk about the signs and symptoms of secondary breast cancer. 


Diagnosing secondary breast cancer isn’t easy. It’s different for every patient - you may have had primary and didn’t know anything about secondary breast cancer. You may be diagnosed de novo which means there are already secondary tumours in other parts of the body at the point of diagnosis. Then the type of secondary breast cancer needs to be identified.


We’ve asked our community to share their experience of being diagnosed with secondary breast cancer to help with awareness and education. Diane Mackie from Aberdeen starts our series talking about what signs and symptoms made her do to the doctor.


When we're you diagnosed with secondary breast cancer?


I had it confirmed on July 2020 that I have secondary breast cancer after the results of my first scan following my primary diagnosis in March 2020 showed nodules on my lungs, which of my next scan in July 2020 showed that the nodules had reduced in size along with the treatment so the team decided that it is breast cancer in the nodules.


What type do you have?


I have Invasive Ductal Carcinoma ER+ in my right breast with nodules in lung.


What symptoms made you go to doctor?


I wasn't aware of secondary breast cancer and had only gone to see about the primary but now I know more about it the systems did seem to relate to me as I was struggling and kept making mistakes at work and took voluntary redundancy just before I was diagnosed with primary  and had other issues like the fatigue and forgetfulness.


How many times did you speak to a medical professional before you were diagnosed? 


I was very lucky in a way as only went to go once about lump who referred me to hospital, I then saw the surgeon and the team who do the biopsy and mammogram when my results then got passed onto oncologist who picked up the secondary cancer and I have continued to deal with him along with secondary cancer nurses.


What has your treatment been like? 


Due to being diagnosed just days before lockdown it was decided I was too high risk to attend hospital for Chemotherapy so they decided to put me onto hormone treatment so I started on letrozole and zoladex at the start of April 2020, which showed a great reduction at my first scan. Once secondary cancer was confirmed my oncologist decided to put me on palbociclib to help the letrozole work more. I had to get my teeth removed before I could start the treatment so was around October 2020 when I started the palbociclib. 10 months later I am still on this treatment plan and have had scans with either a reduction or stable results, at the moment the nodule in my lung is so small it is unmeasurable.