A different type of cancer in each breast

A different type of cancer in each breast

Hearing you have breast cancer can be one of the scariest days of your life. For one woman, she not only found out she had breast cancer in both breasts, but had a different kind of breast cancer in each.

When Diane Jandecek went in for a mammogram, doctors found something in her right breast. A biopsy revealed she had Stage 1 ductal cancer, which would require surgery.

Dr. Gale England, a breast surgeon at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove Ill., wanted to ensure the cancer had not spread elsewhere, and ordered an MRI.

To everyone’s surprise and worry, a second cancer was found in her left breast.

Even rarer, the cancers in each breast were two different kinds, with the second being a Stage 1 lobular cancer.

“It’s very rare – there’s about a 2% incidence of bilateral cancers, with separate cancers in each breast,” says Dr. England. “But we still treat them as individual cancers, so treatment doesn’t change much.”

Dr. England says that occasionally, two cancers can even form in the same breast, which often requires a mastectomy.

Between her early detection and final chemo treatment, Diane says she was dealing with her cancers for the better part of what she calls a “tough year.” She credits the medical staff at the hospital’s Bhorade Cancer Center and those in her life with keeping her positive throughout.

“That’s how you get through these times,” she says. “I think the love and support of family and friends and the hospital was great. If I wanted to call somebody, someone was always there.”

Learn more about your risk for breast cancer by taking a free online assessment here.

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About the Author

Nathan Lurz
Nathan Lurz

Nathan Lurz, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital. He has nearly a decade of professional news experience as a reporter and editor, and a lifetime of experience as an enthusiastic learner. On the side, he enjoys writing even more, tabletop games, reading, running and explaining that his dog is actually the cutest dog, not yours, sorry.