Do Not Be Scared To Ask Your Healthcare Team Questions
Last updated: September 2023
Recently I have been having an increased amount of pain in my knee, and it's been weighing on my mind. I would ask myself, "Can cancer go to the knee?" I have never heard of or met anyone who had their breast cancer move to a place that wasn't a significant organ.
Most of the time, breast cancer moves to the lung, liver, or brain but can also move to other places. With advanced breast cancer, every little pain, cramp, pulled muscle, or even heartburn can make us think the worst. Has cancer returned? Is my cancer progressing?
My anxiety got the best of me
So, even though I've never heard of cancer in the knee, I was worried when I experienced increased pain in my right knee. I soon realized I would have to mention it to my oncologist at the next appointment, but I was kind of nervous.
I felt like my question was silly and was a little embarrassed. Afraid that my doctor might laugh at the question and even think I was stupid. Of course, deep down, I knew he would not think it was stupid, but my anxiety got the better of me.
Getting my concerns addressed
During my next appointment with my doctor, I came in with my list of problems, symptoms, and complaints. Guess what the last question on my list was? Yep, my knee question.
After the doctor addressed all my concerns, I asked for the final one. "Can cancer move to the knee?" My fantastic oncologist looked right at me and said, yes, it can, but it is rare. He explained that he had never seen it happen but had seen it moved to a toe, which I thought was a little strange.
So there was my answer, it can but is rare. The oncologist reassured me that it was likely arthritis or maybe even a torn meniscus and that he would order some scans to make sure.
There are no silly questions
You might wonder why the pet scans do not cover the whole body. Some of them do, but because it is so rare to move below the thigh, doctors often order pet scans of the thigh to the base of the skull. It seems silly, right? Your doctor can order a full body pet scan if you ask and demand if you need to.
What are some unusual places you have heard of breast cancer moving to? Have you personally experienced your cancer setting up shop in a unique place on your body?
There are no silly or stupid questions regarding your health, body, treatment, and cancer. Ask the questions and get the answers. Demand them if you have to. If the doctor tries to ignore the questions or makes you feel "silly," then get another doctor. Your questions are important and so are you.
Advanced breast cancer is an isolating and lonely disease.