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

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Posted on Tue, 19 Jul 2016
Question: my wife has iv breast ca. only brain mets since 2011 she has had whole brain and gamma eight time with multible lesions the last mri showed more. the dr. said that stopping treatment was only option due to damage treatment would cause. they want to continue chemo to keep ca. marker low I would please like to know her time left . average life expectancy at this point
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Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga (7 hours later)
Brief Answer:
Considerations

Detailed Answer:
Hello and thank you for sending the question.

It is very difficult to predict exact survival for this stage of breast cancer that she is experiencing. It does appear that she has done remarkably well considering that brain metastasis has been present for five years.

At this point since there are progressive changes in the brain, meaning that the cancer seems to be growing in this area then we would generally expect survival to be measured in terms of months.this may extend perhaps up to six months.

It appears that her oncologist wishes to continue using chemotherapy to keep her systemic disease under control which is reasonable as long as she is tolerating therapy relatively well.

The brain can only tolerate a certain amount of radiation and if you push beyond this boundary it can cause severe neurological problems which is why the radiation doctor has recommended discontinuing any for the radiation treatments to the brain.

Again I would expect survival to be measured in terms of months at this point. The priority generally is to maintain quality of life for as long as possible. If she does developed progressive neurologic decline then her physicians may recommend focusing more on comfort and possible consideration of hospice care. Otherwise I think it is reasonable to continue chemotherapy as your doctor has recommended.

Thank you again for sending the question. I can appreciate that you are dealing with quite a bit of stress and anxiety regarding making the right decisions. I wish you and your family all the best and continued good health.

Sincerely,

Dr. Galamaga


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Arnab Banerjee
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Answered by
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Dr. Robert Galamaga

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Practicing since :2002

Answered : 2636 Questions

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

Brief Answer: Considerations Detailed Answer: Hello and thank you for sending the question. It is very difficult to predict exact survival for this stage of breast cancer that she is experiencing. It does appear that she has done remarkably well considering that brain metastasis has been present for five years. At this point since there are progressive changes in the brain, meaning that the cancer seems to be growing in this area then we would generally expect survival to be measured in terms of months.this may extend perhaps up to six months. It appears that her oncologist wishes to continue using chemotherapy to keep her systemic disease under control which is reasonable as long as she is tolerating therapy relatively well. The brain can only tolerate a certain amount of radiation and if you push beyond this boundary it can cause severe neurological problems which is why the radiation doctor has recommended discontinuing any for the radiation treatments to the brain. Again I would expect survival to be measured in terms of months at this point. The priority generally is to maintain quality of life for as long as possible. If she does developed progressive neurologic decline then her physicians may recommend focusing more on comfort and possible consideration of hospice care. Otherwise I think it is reasonable to continue chemotherapy as your doctor has recommended. Thank you again for sending the question. I can appreciate that you are dealing with quite a bit of stress and anxiety regarding making the right decisions. I wish you and your family all the best and continued good health. Sincerely, Dr. Galamaga