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Diagnosed with a relapse of breast cancer of stage IV. Biopsy done. What does the report says?

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Practicing since : 2002
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My mother has been diagnosed with a relapse of Breast Cancer of Stage IV. She has been undergoing Chemotherapy and Radiation sessions for 6 weeks now. The doctor recently did Chest X-Rays to find out more on how the progress is going. Attached are the results of the before (08/27) and after (09/13) of the X-Rays.
As per him, the results are good. However, in the last Chemotherapy session, the RBC and Iron count in the blood was low and hence she had to take in a bottle of blood before chemo could be started. Looking at the X-Rays, can we know whether the size and concentration of the tumor cells have gone down or not? Also attached is the Biopsy Report. Any other insights on the progress would be helpful? Thank you.
Posted Sat, 6 Oct 2012 in Cancer
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 46 minutes later
Hello and thank you for submitting your question.

I can appreciate that this is a very stressful situation for you. I will do my best to provide you with information and recommendations regarding what is going on with your mother.

It is very difficult to appreciate from the x-ray whether there has been a significant response with the treatment. a better way to assess for response is a combination of how she is feeling as well as possibly a CT scanned as well as a laboratory test which might include CA27-29 or CEA. All of these parameters together are used to distinguish how well the patient is responding.

I am sure that her doctors have told you that the goal of care at this point is to keep the cancer under control. Curer of this type of advanced cancer is very difficult to obtain but we do have good medications and chemotherapy which can keep the disease under control.

It is not uncommon for blood counts to drop during treatment. Occasionally a transfusion will be needed to maintain her blood count and energy level.

I would ask her doctor regarding laboratory testing as I mentioned above as well as how he feels she is doing clinically - which means by examining her a good response can be appreciated.

Again thank you for submitting your question. I would be happy to answer any follow-up concerns regarding this matter.


Dr. Robert

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