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    What is the life expectancy of patient with metastatic breast cancer?

Posted on Tue, 31 May 2016 in Cancer
Question: My short question is how long until my wife dies of metastatic breast cancer?
The longer version is, are there clinical markers that indicate 3 months, 3 weeks, 3 days?
Background: aggressive recurrent breast cancer to liver detected symptomatically 28 months ago while on arimidex, treated heavily with various chemo and 3 clinical trial drugs, hospitalized 3 weeks ago with CT showing significant proliferation in liver and new peritoneal implants, liver function markers above range for first time, now at home on hospice care, bedridden 95% of day, on oxygen, no pain but shortness of breath, 30 pounds of ascites/edema fluid. Still eating t.i.d. DVT in left thigh.
Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Difficult to predict

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for your query.

I understand your concerns. Actually it is very difficult to predict life expectancy in an individual patient. That too without seeing the patient.

But considering what you have mentioned, it seems like around 3 months. The parameters which make me think about this are bedridden status, on oxygen, and fluid accumulation.

Hope this helps.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Deepak
Follow up: Dr. Indranil Ghosh 42 minutes later

Thanks, I understand the difficulty in predicting her endpoint especially without seeing her yourself. Your answer is consistent with her oncologist who said doubtful 6 months, XXXXXXX likely 3 months, possibly as short as a couple weeks. Indeed, it's difficult to predict.

I'm mainly asking if there are any indicators that are strong predictors of death within X period of weeks. I have no idea, but if for example she becomes too weak to rise from the bed and go to the bathroom herself, does that mean she's down to 3-4 weeks? Is there a clinical trend to track like I did with her contractions before she gave birth to our two sons? I don't want the timing of her death to be a XXXXXXX to any of us, because we have much left to do. And there's the risk of hepatic encephalopathy which could render her unable to make good decisions which are yet to come. The obvious answer it to get things done, but that's not yet happening in her mind. I'm trying to reduce my own uncertainty by drawing on your experience seeing many patients die of end stage liver disease/cancer.
Answered by Dr. Indranil Ghosh 53 minutes later
Brief Answer:
No such reliable predictors

Detailed Answer:
I understand your situation but there is hardly anything more to add. No such accurate predictors available. If she has a clot going to the lungs then it can be sudden. Or some resistant bacterial infection. These things don't give time. Or else she could pull through a few months.

Same for hepatic encephalopathy, may or may not happen at all. Not easy to predict.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Deepak
Answered by
Dr. Indranil Ghosh


Practicing since :2004

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