Diagnosed with breast and lung cancer. Lymph nodes removed from breast by mastectomy. Any ideas?

Posted on Thu, 16 Aug 2012 in Breast Cancer
Question: Hello
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer about 3 years ago and she underwent double mastectomy and her lymph nodes around her chest were also removed. the doctor adviced us against the chemo as as per him it would do more harm than benefit. She was diagnosed with lung cancer 1.5 years after her initial surgery and she underwent 12 chemotherapy ending in Dec 0000 sessions every 21 days and the outcome was very good partial. But in March 2012 the doctors again found cancer in the outer wall of the lung and then she was given Fulvestrant /Faslodex 250mg every 15 days for first 2 doses and then 2 dose each month. In between she started suffering extreme headaches and nausea and loss of appetite. Her doctors found the cancer in her brain. She will now be undergoing 30 days of radio-surgery from next tuesday not the WBRT but localized radio therapy. Her doctors will target the one in the brain first and then after her radio therapy is over they will concentrate on her lung cancer. Her doctors are not forthcoming of her prognosis and I am very far away from her. When I speak to her doctor all she says is we will try which I appreciate but because I live very far away from my parents I do not want to get into a situation which I would regret for the rest of my life of not being there in her last days, I know there is not a definitive answer to the question but if I could get some ideas I can plan my visit accordingly.

Thanks for your help.
Answered by Dr. Shanthi.E 3 hours later

Thanks for posting your query.

Your query is a bit ambiguous to me. When you mean 'the lung cancer that was detected after 1.5 years, the cancer in the outer wall of lung, the cancer in the brain', I assume you are speaking about the metastasis to these areas from the primary breast cancer.

If my presumption is wrong, please let me know so that I can correct during my reply.

I am sorry that your mother had to suffer this.

The median survival for all patients diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer is less than 3 years.

Considering your mother's first metastasis detected in the lung 1.5 years ago, she probably has 1.5 years left.

Every day of life is important and beautiful. It matters more as to how the quality of life is rather than how long we live.

I am sure your mother is leading a quality life and has understood her disease.

Planning a visit to your mother within the next 6 months would be ideal. Spending time with her will give both of you satisfaction and memories to cherish.

Please do write back in case you have follow up queries to ask and also, let me know if my assumption is wrong.

Awaiting your reply.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Follow up: Dr. Shanthi.E 6 hours later

Thats exactly what I meant. Its just that I get overwhelmed thinking about it let alone write about it. She was diagnosed with Lung Metastases and now with Brain. Her Lung Metastases has come back but the doc wants to treat her brain mets first. She had a good life until now when she started suffering the symptoms of nausea headaches loss of appetite etc due to her brain mets.She has been prescribed lots of medicine to keep her symptoms in check and as earlier mentioned she will start her localised radio therapy(its not WBRT) from Tuesday.
Thank you very much for giving me an honest answer.I have decided to visit her next month for a week and then will go after 3 months again for a week.

Thanks again Doc.
Answered by Dr. Shanthi.E 11 hours later

Thanks for writing back.

Her current symptoms may be attributed to both the brain metastasis as well as to the whole lot of medicines that she is taking.

Many clinical trials have proven that radio-surgery has better outcome than WBRT in patients with metastatic brain cancer. I am glad that she is going to start her treatment from Tuesday.

I am happy about your decision to visit your mother early next month.

I hope to have been of help to you. If you have no further queries, you may close the discussion and write a review.

Take care.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
Answered by
Dr. Shanthi.E

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2005

Answered : 2405 Questions


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