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Metastasized breast cancer discussion *very frank*


I.Dup.
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My MIL has a recurrent breast tumor and had a PET scan and it was found in her neck bones and right hip as well. :( I am wondering if anyone knows what the survival rates typically are? I have no idea where to find reliable information about survival rates. Are they usually accurate? Anyone have experience with this? Such a terrible, terrible disease. We are so upset. Prayers would be appreciated. :(

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My MIL has a recurrent breast tumor and had a PET scan and it was found in her neck bones and right hip as well. :( I am wondering if anyone knows what the survival rates typically are? I have no idea where to find reliable information about survival rates. Are they usually accurate? Anyone have experience with this? Such a terrible, terrible disease. We are so upset. Prayers would be appreciated. :(

 

http://www.breast-ca...-metastasis.htm

 

It is important to be realistic about survival of metastatic breast cancer. Approximately 90% of deaths due to breast cancer are from metastasis, and the overall survival rate for metastasized breast cancer is only about 16%. Still, almost 20% of women with metastatic breast cancer may still live more than five years. Above all one should remember that the situation for each woman will be unique, and ultimately statistics are meaningless. No one can predict with any degree of certainty whether or not the body will either experience or be able to recover from metastatic breast cancer.

 

 

Keep in mind, though, women are not statistics. My baby sister has outlived her prognosis. Nobody can predict which women will survive or for how long they will survive. I'm sorry about your MIL. Try to stay positive for her sake. :grouphug:

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I am sorry to hear this. But, my best friend had BC. She was in remission for 6 years. It came back and went to her bones. Her DIL worked at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. She had her go there. They put her in a trial, and she has been cancer free now for over 10 years. Have her look into the major hospitals that specialize in cancer and have the most up to date technology. The hospitals in Boston are rated the best in the country. Praying that she can beat this.

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[/left]

 

 

Keep in mind, though, women are not statistics. My baby sister has outlived her prognosis. Nobody can predict which women will survive or for how long they will survive. I'm sorry about your MIL. Try to stay positive for her sake. :grouphug:

 

 

This is so encouraging!

 

OP, I'm sorry your family facing this.

 

:grouphug:

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Thank you all. Any ideas on what to do for her? We are across the country at this point, but we are actively trying to move there. What can I send? How often should I call? I know it's difficult for her to talk about it with everyone over and over again, I just don't know what to do.

 

On Parenthood last week someone gave the lady struggling through chemo a comfortable jacket that other ladies had worn. My MIL does get cold often, would a jacket or robe of some sort be a good gift? I'm terrible at knowing what to do for people! :(

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Thank you all. Any ideas on what to do for her? We are across the country at this point, but we are actively trying to move there. What can I send? How often should I call? I know it's difficult for her to talk about it with everyone over and over again, I just don't know what to do.

 

On Parenthood last week someone gave the lady struggling through chemo a comfortable jacket that other ladies had worn. My MIL does get cold often, would a jacket or robe of some sort be a good gift? I'm terrible at knowing what to do for people! :(

 

Are they putting her on chemo that causes her hair to fall out? It doesn't happen with all of them. I would ask her about scarves, or something you could knit (if you can knit) If it won't be very long she may not want to invest in a wig. It just depends on the person I am sure.

 

Very nice lotion for her hands or face. My younger sister bought this for my sister that is going through treatment. http://www.lushusa.c...id=body-lotions It's expensive but she likes it. You can also find more natural skin care at natural food stores. I would try for unscented if possible.

 

Maybe a pretty wrap. I would knit something or check etsy.

 

I think another thing would be good would be getting a flu shot a month or two before planning any visits. (not right before)

 

Some side effects don't happen with everyone or every drug. So I would talk to her about what is going on so you know.

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I spent today at one of my best friends funerals. There have been a lot of ups and downs since the original diagnosis. She beat the odds several times and lived everyday to the fullest. The most important thing is to remain positive and be there for her. Try to treat her like normal. Have normal conversations with her. We only talked about the cancer when we had to. We were two home ed moms talking curriculum and what to do with our kids. She told me how much my continuing to treat her as normally as possible meant to her.

 

If you knit there are some lovely patterns for prayer shawls. My friend also had problems sleeping because of the meds. She had nothing to do in the middle of the night while her husband and children were sleeping. Dvds were very welcome.

 

 

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Thank you all. Any ideas on what to do for her? We are across the country at this point, but we are actively trying to move there. What can I send? How often should I call? I know it's difficult for her to talk about it with everyone over and over again, I just don't know what to do.

 

On Parenthood last week someone gave the lady struggling through chemo a comfortable jacket that other ladies had worn. My MIL does get cold often, would a jacket or robe of some sort be a good gift? I'm terrible at knowing what to do for people! :(

 

Bed jackets are easy to get on and off. Amazon has one with slightly shortened sleeves, so food doesn't slop on them, and pockets for remotes and portable phones, etc.. The pillows that are shaped like the upper half of an easy chair you put on your bed are also VERY comfy in a regular chair to make getting up easier and finding a comfy spot easier. I got one off Amazon which we all fight over.

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Thank you for the ideas! She actually lost her hair due to alopecia 30 years ago, so that is not a side effect she has had to worry about.

 

Does she have her eyelashes? If so does she wear glasses? Sunglasses might help protect her eyes a bit. My sister complained about stuff getting in her eyes when her lashes fell out. Maybe ask her about it later.

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Thank you all so much. This really helps! I am going to be putting a package together for her, and we will try to treat her like normal. It's a hard balance, obviously we want to spend as much time together as possible (we live across the country right now) and we want to make her feel extra special and comfortable, but I don't want to go overboard. Not sure how to find that balance.

 

And no, she has no hair anywhere on her body.

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I wish I could reassure you, but when this happened to my sister she did not survive the year. :sad: She recovered from the origional diagnosis & treatment, living 8 years cancer-free. Then the doctor found a spot on her rib. It was a steady decline, with her passing less than a year later. It is a real nasty disease.

 

:grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug: for your family.

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I wish I could reassure you, but when this happened to my sister she did not survive the year. :sad: She recovered from the origional diagnosis & treatment, living 8 years cancer-free. Then the doctor found a spot on her rib. It was a steady decline, with her passing less than a year later. It is a real nasty disease.

 

:grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug: for your family.

 

Oh no!! :( That's terrible. How did she die so quickly? Was she going through chemo? I don't understand how death happens with cancer, is it always so painful and terrible? What is it that causes the death? Ugh!!!!

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Oh no!! :( That's terrible. How did she die so quickly? Was she going through chemo? I don't understand how death happens with cancer, is it always so painful and terrible? What is it that causes the death? Ugh!!!!

 

My MIL was in her last months of cancer and unfortunately, the pain alone was unbearable. The cancer had spread throughout her body and bones. She was in hospice and even Morphine could not take away the pain. It was horrible to see her final days like this. Sorry to hear your story.

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Oh no!! :( That's terrible. How did she die so quickly? Was she going through chemo? I don't understand how death happens with cancer, is it always so painful and terrible? What is it that causes the death? Ugh!!!!

 

When the (breast) cancer reappeared in her bones, my sister went through another course of chemo. This wasn't effective as once the cancer is in the bones it is very hard to fight. She had rods put into her back to help strenghten her spine & was left with an open wound in her back for the final 9 months of her life. During that time she was bedridden as well. He bones continued to weaken & one day her arm snapped simply by her moving from the wheelchair into the car to go to an appointment. Three months before she passed on the doctors stopped all treatment & put her into Hospice Care. She rebounded for a bit as she no longer had to deal with the effects of chemo. She died New Year's evening at the age of 38 :crying: . It wasn't a quick or painfree. I don't let my children know if I get callbacks on my mammograms as they always think of what my sister went through. We were blessed to be able to share her final 7 months, but it has left a lasting mark on us all.

 

Blessings on you all. :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:

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I spent today at one of my best friends funerals. There have been a lot of ups and downs since the original diagnosis. She beat the odds several times and lived everyday to the fullest. The most important thing is to remain positive and be there for her. Try to treat her like normal. Have normal conversations with her. We only talked about the cancer when we had to. We were two home ed moms talking curriculum and what to do with our kids. She told me how much my continuing to treat her as normally as possible meant to her.

 

If you knit there are some lovely patterns for prayer shawls. My friend also had problems sleeping because of the meds. She had nothing to do in the middle of the night while her husband and children were sleeping. Dvds were very welcome.

 

The bolded sentence is so important. I spent many late nights just talking with my sister. She found visitors very hard towards the end as everyone was saying their "goodbyes" to her & already grieving. I told my sister I would grieve when she was gone, but while I had her with me I was going to cherish our times together.

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Oh no!! :( That's terrible. How did she die so quickly? Was she going through chemo? I don't understand how death happens with cancer, is it always so painful and terrible? What is it that causes the death? Ugh!!!!

 

 

Location can matter quite a bit. When Elizabeth Edward's cancer came back, it was in her rib.

 

It can be a number of factors. When one is going through treatment their immune system is suppressed so that can make them more susceptible to illness. The treatment itself takes a grave toll on someone's health. If someone is not already robust it can be very hard on them.

 

It can depend on the location, but essentially if it attacks an organ that organ's ability to function will be lessened and may eventually cease. There are no permanent treatments that can mimic any organ's function. Eventually any treatment to make up for the organ not working will stop working.

Edited by Sis
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My friend stopped her chemo after the last diagnosis also. It allowed her to finish planning and planting an absolutely fabulous garden which will be used for charity events in the future. I am looking forward to helping in her garden for years to come. I am not a gardener but will learn. It was her last gift to her family and friends. Knowing that the work needs to be done is really comforting. Her last weeks were really bad. Not sure of the medical details because we really did not talk about it.

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I have a friend who got a metastasis of breast cancer in her bones over 10 years ago. She still has it; it is stable. She lives an active life.

 

However, her initial oncologist pretty much gave up on her. A friend connected her with an oncologist at a major cancer center who just doesn't give up---but apparently there was a whole lot that could be tried that her original onc had not.

 

Moral of story: get your mil to a major cancer center and to a doctor who she likes who has a plan.

 

Metastasis to the bone can be a chronic disease, like diabetes, that is maintained by chemo. It is NOT an automatic death sentence.

 

Do you know what type of cancer she had? If it was her2+, there was a very successful clinical trial (with Stage IV patients) that you could find if you google "Smart bomb" and breast cancer. It essentially attached a very nasty chemo agent to a biological agent that attaches to the cancer cells only. The chemo is so nasty that they can't even give it systemically. (BTW, my friend who is living fully 10 years later does not have her2+; she has an estrogen + cancer. So there is not just one kind of bc that responds to treatment at Stage IV)

 

Every person with cancer is different. Don't assume that your mil does or does not want to talk about it. Ask. Asking is always appropriate. "Mil, we're sorry to hear your news. You don't have to go into any details you don't feel like talking about, but dh and I are all ears for whatever you want to share."

 

If she doesn't like repeating the same story over and over, you could offer to set up a Care Calendar for her (where she or you can post updates) or offer to make an email distribution list and send it out to others, as she wants to update.

 

What I've never heard a cancer patient say they enjoyed was listening to other people share their stories of loved ones who have died of cancer. You'd think this was a no brainer not to do this, but it's very common. I don't know if people process it like, "The topic of conversation is cancer. Hmm. So-and-so had cancer. I'll talk about that." or if it is just that cancer is so powerful a topic that it brings up people's griefs and they (without really thinking about it) relive that grief with the person with cancer. Yikes.

 

A Kindle or Nook is great for chemo or just for times when someone is tired and in bed a lot. Chemo centers usually offer warm blankets. Chemo can cause neuropathy of the toes (depending on the kind of chemo) so warm fuzzy socks/slippers are very nice. Probably in your situation, a visit would be the gift most appreciated. Since you live far away, can you visit and install Skype for her and show her how to use it? Staying socially connected contributes to longevity, including for people with cancer.

 

I'm sure photos of your family would be much appreciated. And make an effort when you visit to get photos of her with your family.

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Oh no!! :( That's terrible. How did she die so quickly? Was she going through chemo? I don't understand how death happens with cancer, is it always so painful and terrible? What is it that causes the death? Ugh!!!!

 

 

This may not be valid for your mil but my mil died of colon cancer. Like your mil she lived for over 7 years after her first bout, but then it came back. By then she was older and the chemo was too much for her, plus the second batch had spread which meant they couldn't get it all out like the first time.

 

 

She lived about 10 months or so after the second diagnosis.

 

She had always claimed to have a low pain threshold so I think I would have known if she if she was in pain, and she never did appear to be. She did have some inconvenient issues with over that time period but they were not continuous. She really seemed to be doing fairly good until close to the end when she collapsed.

 

She was fortunate to get into a home hospice program for most of her last six months and I think that helped quite a bit.

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***Please, if anyone with cancer is reading, please do not read any further. I hate to think that what I share triggers pain or fear in anyone else. ******

 

 

Thank you all for sharing. This helps me understand...cancer has been a lifelong fear for me. I know it shouldn't be, but it is.

 

I would never tell her of other people's experiences, ever, unless they were completely encouraging and even then probably not. I will ask her if she wants to talk about it so I know, that is a good suggestion.

 

It is good to know there are some people who do not die painful deaths with cancer. That seems to be the exception though. ? Is it chemo that mainly causes these horrible deaths? What if someone just stopped all treatment, it seems they would go more peacefully? This just seems so inhumane to me!! We would not let animals die in such a way, why do we let humans? My boss just told me of her aunt's cancer death, it was terrible.

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***Please, if anyone with cancer is reading, please do not read any further. I hate to think that what I share triggers pain or fear in anyone else. ******

 

 

Thank you all for sharing. This helps me understand...cancer has been a lifelong fear for me. I know it shouldn't be, but it is.

 

I would never tell her of other people's experiences, ever, unless they were completely encouraging and even then probably not. I will ask her if she wants to talk about it so I know, that is a good suggestion.

 

It is good to know there are some people who do not die painful deaths with cancer. That seems to be the exception though. ? Is it chemo that mainly causes these horrible deaths? What if someone just stopped all treatment, it seems they would go more peacefully? This just seems so inhumane to me!! We would not let animals die in such a way, why do we let humans? My boss just told me of her aunt's cancer death, it was terrible.

 

 

I have not heard of chemo being related to painful deaths.

 

No one we've known who has had cancer has died in pain. My dh has been at the bedside of many people with cancer when they actually died and many more around the time of death. That doesn't mean some people don't die in pain, but anecdotal evidence on a message board could be skewed. http://www.cancer.or...ctus/index��The The link didn't work. Just go to cancer.org and look for the phone number. American Cancer Society has people online you can call 24 hours a day. They are information specialists, not medical professionals, but they can probably answer your questions about pain and its link to chemo and the likelihood of a painful death.

 

It sounds like getting info is important for you to wrap your mind around it. Get your info, but then do what you can to keep your mind at peace. None of us knows our own end or the end of loved ones. Each day is too precious to worry about what might happen--that actually might never happen.

 

FWIW, my grandmother had stage IV colon cancer, and the doctor had given her 3 months to live without treatment and 6 months with treatment. (She chose not to believe him. I was young and thinking she was in denial and needed to talk about it. She told me he was just giving her an example comparing treatment and lack of treatment. Ha! A year later, she played golf with some friends one day and died in her sleep that night. Denial actually worked pretty well for her and I should have stayed out of it! )

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***Please, if anyone with cancer is reading, please do not read any further. I hate to think that what I share triggers pain or fear in anyone else. ******

 

 

Thank you all for sharing. This helps me understand...cancer has been a lifelong fear for me. I know it shouldn't be, but it is.

 

I would never tell her of other people's experiences, ever, unless they were completely encouraging and even then probably not. I will ask her if she wants to talk about it so I know, that is a good suggestion.

 

It is good to know there are some people who do not die painful deaths with cancer. That seems to be the exception though. ? Is it chemo that mainly causes these horrible deaths? What if someone just stopped all treatment, it seems they would go more peacefully? This just seems so inhumane to me!! We would not let animals die in such a way, why do we let humans? My boss just told me of her aunt's cancer death, it was terrible.

 

Hospice care includes pain treatment and good hospice care should work with each patient in terms of pain management.

 

I think, if I might, suggest that being worried at this point about her final outcome might be premature. I'm sorry if my story set you off in that direction. I am well aware from personal experience that when you first get news like this you can tend to get bounced about a bit in terms of the myriad amount of information.

 

For now, I would let her continue to give you news. If she does, eventually, get referred to hospice or get given an amount of time left, then I can suggest a very helpful book written by two hospice nurses: http://www.amazon.co...ds=final gifts

 

The good news is you will not be her nurse, but her dil. Love her, listen to her, and care for as you can. Be at peace with your decisions and don't worry about others. I was fortunate to draw closer to my mil during her final months; if possible, look for that.

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I have not heard of chemo being related to painful deaths.

 

No one we've known who has had cancer has died in pain. My dh has been at the bedside of many people with cancer when they actually died and many more around the time of death. That doesn't mean some people don't die in pain, but anecdotal evidence on a message board could be skewed. http://www.cancer.or...ctus/index��The The link didn't work. Just go to cancer.org and look for the phone number. American Cancer Society has people online you can call 24 hours a day. They are information specialists, not medical professionals, but they can probably answer your questions about pain and its link to chemo and the likelihood of a painful death.

 

It sounds like getting info is important for you to wrap your mind around it. Get your info, but then do what you can to keep your mind at peace. None of us knows our own end or the end of loved ones. Each day is too precious to worry about what might happen--that actually might never happen.

 

FWIW, my grandmother had stage IV colon cancer, and the doctor had given her 3 months to live without treatment and 6 months with treatment. (She chose not to believe him. I was young and thinking she was in denial and needed to talk about it. She told me he was just giving her an example comparing treatment and lack of treatment. Ha! A year later, she played golf with some friends one day and died in her sleep that night. Denial actually worked pretty well for her and I should have stayed out of it! )

Hospice care includes pain treatment and good hospice care should work with each patient in terms of pain management.

 

I think, if I might, suggest that being worried at this point about her final outcome might be premature. I'm sorry if my story set you off in that direction. I am well aware from personal experience that when you first get news like this you can tend to get bounced about a bit in terms of the myriad amount of information.

 

For now, I would let her continue to give you news. If she does, eventually, get referred to hospice or get given an amount of time left, then I can suggest a very helpful book written by two hospice nurses: http://www.amazon.co...ds=final gifts

 

The good news is you will not be her nurse, but her dil. Love her, listen to her, and care for as you can. Be at peace with your decisions and don't worry about others. I was fortunate to draw closer to my mil during her final months; if possible, look for that.

 

This is encouraging, thank you.

 

My grandmother was told she had lung cancer, she refused to get a biopsy or do anything else about it. It would make sense if she had it because she smoked much of her life, and everyone in her household smoked. Well she lived another 8 years and didn't have any major lung issues at all. I don't think her death was related to her lungs anyway (just old age).

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My grandfather died of lung cancer due to over 60 years of smoking. He was kept on morphine to keep the pain away. I don't believe he ever had chemo, he was pretty far gone when they found it. He was told he had a year, and that is what happened. His death wasn't peaceful, he hemmorraged, but the hospice nurses kept him comfortable.

 

 

On the other hand my 86yo FIL has colon cancer and is doing great.

 

Every person is different it is a very scary thing.

 

Huge hugs

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***Please, if anyone with cancer is reading, please do not read any further. I hate to think that what I share triggers pain or fear in anyone else. ******

 

 

Thank you all for sharing. This helps me understand...cancer has been a lifelong fear for me. I know it shouldn't be, but it is.

 

I would never tell her of other people's experiences, ever, unless they were completely encouraging and even then probably not. I will ask her if she wants to talk about it so I know, that is a good suggestion.

 

It is good to know there are some people who do not die painful deaths with cancer. That seems to be the exception though. ? Is it chemo that mainly causes these horrible deaths? What if someone just stopped all treatment, it seems they would go more peacefully? This just seems so inhumane to me!! We would not let animals die in such a way, why do we let humans? My boss just told me of her aunt's cancer death, it was terrible.

 

I think pain is going to be just like everything else, it depends on the location.

 

If the cancer is in her bones she is already in pain.

 

They will treat her pain aggressively at this point forward. She is not in a situation where they are going to waffle about pain meds.

:grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:

 

If people are being "triggered" maybe change the title to reflect that the thread has some very frank discussion? These things are all hard to say/read. My own sister is fighting breastcancer and I know that there were many things I wasn't aware of. I think it is good to have very forthright discussion so you have a good understanding of what is happening.

Edited by Sis
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I think pain is going to be just like everything else, it depends on the location.

 

If the cancer is in her bones she is already in pain.

 

They will treat her pain aggressively at this point forward. She is not in a situation where they are going to waffle about pain meds.

:grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:

 

If people are being "triggered" maybe change the title to reflect that the thread has some very frank discussion? These things are all hard to say/read. My own sister is fighting breastcancer and I know that there were many things I wasn't aware of. I think it is good to have very forthright discussion so you have a good understanding of what is happening.

 

I will change the title, I think it's important to have somewhere to talk honestly and openly too, but I certainly do not want to trigger anyone else. :(

 

Thank you for your help, thank you all for sharing.

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Oh no!! :( That's terrible. How did she die so quickly? Was she going through chemo? I don't understand how death happens with cancer, is it always so painful and terrible? What is it that causes the death? Ugh!!!!

 

My father's death from cancer was not that horrible. His pain was well controlled by a dedicated hospice nurse at home and in the hospice facility.

 

Laura

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She was told she has breast cancer in (on?) her bone, but NOT bone cancer. Anyone know the difference? She has it on/in? 3 different bones.

 

It just developed in another location. My stepmom had breast cancer but it came back in her brain/spinal column and she died quickly when she finally went to the dr. Her back had been hurting. They told her 6 months but she died in 3 days. It was awful.

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It just developed in another location. My stepmom had breast cancer but it came back in her brain/spinal column and she died quickly when she finally went to the dr. Her back had been hurting. They told her 6 months but she died in 3 days. It was awful.

 

 

:crying:

 

Thankfully, she is not in any pain at this point and feels fine. I hate for her to have to start chemo when she is feeling so well right now. I have very mixed feelings about chemo, but obviously this is not my choice and I will support her whatever she decides to do.

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My mom had metastasized breast cancer at 33, radical mastectomy, chemo. She was fine for 22years then she got cancer in the other breast. Mastectomy and chemo. A year later they found she had ovarian cancer. Surgery and chemo, chemo, and more chemo. Finally it came down to quality of life for her. She died 2yrs after diagnosis, at home with hospice. They were wonderful. There was only so much help I could give with a 2yr old and a newborn.

 

I think everyone's cancer story is different.

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Oh no!! :( That's terrible. How did she die so quickly? Was she going through chemo? I don't understand how death happens with cancer, is it always so painful and terrible? What is it that causes the death? Ugh!!!!

 

 

If you have a library pick up _The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer_ I am in the middle of reading it now and it has given me a LOT more insight into what, exactly, cancer is. By Siddhartha Mukherjee

 

Its VERY readable. Easy to process though it goes into some technical details as well.

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She was told she has breast cancer in (on?) her bone, but NOT bone cancer. Anyone know the difference? She has it on/in? 3 different bones.

 

Bone cancer is cancer that originates in the bones. WHat she has is breast cancer that has migrated to the bones, via stem cells. That's what metastasized cancer is--cancer that has traveled from the original site to a new site. Breast cancer also often metastasizes to the liver, lung, or brain. It's still breast cancer, but it's taken up residence elsewhere. It will act like breast cancer, not bone cancer, and will respond to breast cancer treatment, not bone cancer treatment.

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:crying:

 

Thankfully, she is not in any pain at this point and feels fine. I hate for her to have to start chemo when she is feeling so well right now. I have very mixed feelings about chemo, but obviously this is not my choice and I will support her whatever she decides to do.

 

That is not a good idea, they are going to be moving fast.

 

They need to start treatment to slow things down.

 

:grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:

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Bone cancer is cancer that originates in the bones. WHat she has is breast cancer that has migrated to the bones, via stem cells. That's what metastasized cancer is--cancer that has traveled from the original site to a new site. Breast cancer also often metastasizes to the liver, lung, or brain. It's still breast cancer, but it's taken up residence elsewhere. It will act like breast cancer, not bone cancer, and will respond to breast cancer treatment, not bone cancer treatment.

 

So when you hear about "bone cancer" being especially dangerous, this isn't really the same thing?

 

She sent me this link yesterday http://mbcn.org/ and I read many of the stories. It seems that many of these women are living with stage 4 breast cancer for many years...5, 10 or even more... is that common?

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If you have a library pick up _The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer_ I am in the middle of reading it now and it has given me a LOT more insight into what, exactly, cancer is. By Siddhartha Mukherjee

 

Its VERY readable. Easy to process though it goes into some technical details as well.

 

I just ordered this book from the library, thank you.

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It seems that many of these women are living with stage 4 breast cancer for many years...5, 10 or even more... is that common?

 

 

As I understand it, if breast cancer metastasizes to the bones, surviving multiple years is possible, maybe even common, with treatment. However, it is very painful. If it metastasizes to the liver, on the other hand, that kills you pretty quickly. (As the stage 4 women on the message board I frequented said, don't buy green bananas.)

 

Chemo isn't always just to treat the cancer. Chemo can also be palliative. As cancer progresses, the tumor itself causes pain, and chemo or radiation can shrink the tumor so it causes less pain.

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So when you hear about "bone cancer" being especially dangerous, this isn't really the same thing?

 

She sent me this link yesterday http://mbcn.org/ and I read many of the stories. It seems that many of these women are living with stage 4 breast cancer for many years...5, 10 or even more... is that common?

 

 

No, breast cancer metastasized to the bone is BREAST cancer that is in the bone. It is not bone cancer. Bone cancer STARTS in the bone. It is the origin of the cancer that determines what type of cancer it is.

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As I understand it, if breast cancer metastasizes to the bones, surviving multiple years is possible, maybe even common, with treatment. However, it is very painful.

 

If it metastasizes to the liver, on the other hand, that kills you pretty quickly. (As the stage 4 women on the message board I frequented said, don't buy green bananas.)

 

Chemo isn't always just to treat the cancer. Chemo can also be palliative. As cancer progresses, the tumor itself causes pain, and chemo or radiation can shrink the tumor so it causes less pain.

 

My friend who has in metastasized to her bones has never complained of bone pain; she does mention side-effects of the chemo being bothersome though, so it's not like she's stoic. I don't think she's in pain.

 

A friend of mine had colon cancer metastasized to the liver. The surgeon believes she got all of it and had a clear margin. The liver can regenerate and there is a chance that her cancer may never come back.

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