Oncology (General Cancer)/secondry breast cancer

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Question
i had b/c in 2009 had the whole works chemo rads and mastectomy AND REMOVAL OF LYMPH GLAND 5 OUT OF 14 AFFECTED  also tamoxifen  this was my  left breast    APRIL 2012 had reconstruction DIEP  and lymph glad transplant THEN  November i had to have Xray for a bad cough I WAS ALREADY TAKEN ONE COURSE OF ANTI BIOTIC  b4 my next tidy up reconstruction surgery    the results a shadow on top  right lung  i was told its either chest infection or neoplasm cancer  had blood tests fbc and liver which was clear lol had to have second course of anti biotic  anyway have to have another Xray the December but im not feeling all that good still got cough even though finished 2 courses of anti biotic  my knees  and lower back and middle back ache bad im tired also my lymph gland transplant has failed which will be removed when i have my next op which isn't helping my lymphadem my arm seems to be swelling alot more now

Answer
It sounds to me like two things need to be investigated -- why your left arm is getting more swollen (most of the time lymphedema gets better if there is nothing else going on) and what the persistent problem is in your right lung.  Both might be related to recurrent breast cancer, but other possibilities exist; the problem in the lung and the problem with the arm might be unrelated.  The fact that you don't feel well after all this time and two course of antibiotics would make me worry that your doctors are missing something.  However from what you've said, I can't tell what is going on.  I would certainly think of having a biopsy of the mass process in the lung if it looks like it can be biopsied.  The problem with the arm might need some surgery as well.  Finally, ask you doctor about a pet scan, if nothing else has helped find out what is going on.  If the pet scan shows activity in these and other sites, it might give your doctor some clues as to what to do next.  Lab tests do not always show recurrent cancer, so I wouldn't be reassured by them.  Hope this helps.  

Oncology (General Cancer)

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Donald Higby, M.D.

Expertise

I can answer almost all questions related to the treatment and natural course of most kinds of cancer, especially cancers of prostate, colon, lung and breast.

Experience

I have been a practicing medical oncologist for 36 years, and have been chief of service at a major medical center for 25 years. I've also done research in cancer treatments.

Organizations
American Society of Clinical Oncology

Publications
New England Journal of Medicine American Journal of Medicine Journal of the American Society of Clinical Oncology Hematology Transfusion Medicine

Education/Credentials
MD, Stanford University Internal Medicine residency, St. Louis University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO Medical Oncology Fellowship, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY

Awards and Honors
America's Best Physicians, last 14 years

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