My Mom is diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer

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cujlm
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Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 4/13/2008 6:44 AM (GMT -7)   
Good to find this forum.
I am from Hong Kong.

My mom is diagnosed with recurring Stage IV Breast Cancer in her first Biopsy. She has just completed her second biopsy because her doctor is not sure whether it is really a recurrence or new cancer. The report will be ready tomorrow.

Can you all give my some advice on this? I am now desperate about what treatments should be adopted. On one hand, chemotherapy is too expensive and aggressive, and on the other hand, I am not sure if we can just depend upon Chinese Medicine. I am thinking a combination of both but learning about the meagre 10% 5-year survival rate, it brings out my tears...

MNlady13
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Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2044
   Posted 4/13/2008 7:39 AM (GMT -7)   

Welcome to the board. So sorry about your mother's diagnosis. I  know nothing about the health care system in Hong  Kong. But, I do understand that stage IV cancer needs agressive treatment. I am sure doctors will advise chemotherapy. This is the time to bring out the "big guns."  I hope there is some way you can find to go this route. It will offer your mother the best chance of survival. Lauri


"Go confidently into the direction of your dreams. Live the life you always imagined" Thoreau
 
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.


barkyboys
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Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1564
   Posted 4/13/2008 1:04 PM (GMT -7)   
How old is your Mom? And how are they determining this is stage IV? Usually this means the cancer has metasticized to distant sites, such as the bones, liver, or lungs. When was your mother's first cancer diagnosis? And how was the first cancer treated? This info would help us give you advice.

We are always glad when people find this forum. There are a lot of great ladies here, all ages and stages of treatment. While we don't replace the advice of medical professionals, we are always willing to share our experience and understanding of this disease.

Good luck to you and your Mom.

Hugs...
BEV
"There's a difference between a philosophy and a bumper sticker."  --Charles Schulz


cujlm
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Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 4/13/2008 6:11 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks all your advice.
My mon was first diagnosed with breast cancer back in 1991/92. She had her right breast removed surgically and underwent sessions of chemotherapy later. A year and a half ago, she found her right arm go limp and suspected a recurrence. So she consulted a few doctors who said it was probably related to the bones and nerves and operated on her joint areas. they also said there were a black spot on my mom's lung but they said it was okay.
but her arm got worse after surgery, and right now she can hardly grasp or hold a thing. It goes limp and numb. And she found some lumps in her right breast a month ago. We saw another doctor, and after all these X-ray, MIR, biopsy and PET Scan, he suspected it was either a stage IV recurrence or even a new type of cancer. We will be getting the core needle biopsy report this morning. Also he said only hormonal therapy or chemo is suitable, for the cancer is inoperable, already spread to lung, ribs and lymph. Early signs of metastasis in the lung.
I am not sure if chemo is okay with mom (whether it is too expensive with no clear improvement guaranteed I am not sure) and I am thinking about chinese medicine. Too many questions and too many options. I am just despearate.
Please kindly give me any advice. Thank you all.

babyseeester
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Date Joined Oct 2004
Total Posts : 826
   Posted 4/14/2008 1:28 PM (GMT -7)   
I am so sorry you and your mom are going through this.  I was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer and since I was only 44, the treatment was aggressive - chemo and radiation, following a mastectomy.  My philosophy is, do whatever you can to knock it down.  Be as aggressive as necessary.  I believe Chinese medicine is fine in some circumstances, but when it comes to cancer, that's a different story.  But, only she and her doctors can make the final decision.  Hopefully, after the biopsy, the news will be encouraging.  We are here for you.
L & H,
Kathy


MNlady13
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Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2044
   Posted 4/14/2008 2:48 PM (GMT -7)   
A black spot on the lung and the doctors say it is OK?!?! I'm no medical person, but a black spot on the lung does not sound OK to me. Limp arm and inability to grasp? Has anyone considered the possiblity of a stroke? If she had her right breast removed, are the lumps she has found on the chest wall? Can't be in the breast if it is gone. Lots of questions that leave me wondering. Lauri (dxed 04/11/1996
"Go confidently into the direction of your dreams. Live the life you always imagined" Thoreau
 
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.


cujlm
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 4/14/2008 4:11 PM (GMT -7)   
Dear all,

The report came out yesterday. It is a poorly differentiated invasive ductal carcinoma. Signs of early metastasis are found in the lung. It said it is almost consistent with the signs of a recurrence. We are still waiting for the hormone report to see which drugs should be used.

I have reservation with Chemo is because I wish no further pain will be inflicted on my mom, and also it guarantees no improvement even after series of excruciating treatments. Anyway, I will accept my doctor's recommendations and start with whatever he suggests at whatever the cost. I am just concerned whether we should use Chinese medicine as complementary treatment for rejuvenation during chemo. Worried about possible complications with Western and Chinese combination. I feel inclined to Chinese Medicine after reading all those report on the web and the experiences of my friends, though they may not be verifiable.

Please kindly give me any advice on these. Also what should I ask the doctor whenever I consult him? I am afraid of asking the wrong questions and waste our time. I just feel disoriented.

A million Thanks

barkyboys
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Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1564
   Posted 4/14/2008 5:39 PM (GMT -7)   
First, you need to find out if this is what is called a "local recurrence," which is where the cancer is limited to the same breast (even with a mastectomy, microscopic breast tissue is left behind, so cancers can recur at a mastectomy site), or whether the cancer has, indeed, spread to the lung.

I see some good news here. If this is a recurrence, it has taken a LONG TIME to come back. That would make it a slow growing cancer, which is typically easier to fight with chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy. Your mom may have many good years left in her, sweetie!

Chemotherapy affects different people in different ways. Chemotherapy is not painful. I had 6 months of chemo and worked every day, without interruption, for the entire 6 months. I wasn't always 100%, but then I'm not always 100% now, either! They have some very good drugs to fight the side effects of chemotherapy, especially the nausea and fatigue.

Hormonal therapies can also be very effective, and the side effects are minimal

A close friend of mine had an oncologist who was Chinese. He treated her with both Western and Chinese methods, including herbs and acupuncture. The Western medicine was to fight the cancer, the Chinese medicine to help with side effects. She thought the Chinese herbs and acupuncture were beneficial.

Again, your mother may have many good years left! Please don't lose hope yet.

Hugs...
BEV
"There's a difference between a philosophy and a bumper sticker."  --Charles Schulz


cujlm
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 4/14/2008 7:46 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks all your advice.
The report said there are spots on my mon's lung that indicate early metastasis, actually I don't what that means.
 

MNlady13
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2044
   Posted 4/14/2008 8:44 PM (GMT -7)   
Metastasis means the cancer has spread to another part of the body. If she has a metastisis to the lung, it means she has breast cancer in the lung. Lauri (dxed 04/11/1996)
"Go confidently into the direction of your dreams. Live the life you always imagined" Thoreau
 
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.


cujlm
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 4/15/2008 9:54 PM (GMT -7)   
A Chinese Medicine Practitioner suggested photodynamic therapy from my mom and said it is definitely a cure. It cost about HK$ 90000-120000 per session and usually involve 3 sessions. Can anyone comment on this and give me some suggestions?
 
A million thanks!
 
John

barkyboys
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Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1564
   Posted 4/18/2008 2:48 PM (GMT -7)   
I don't think any doctor can guarantee a "cure" for metatstatic breast cancer.  To date, there is no known "cure."  Most of us, even those of us who have gone a long time without evidence of disease, know that the proverbial "other shoe" could drop at any time, as it has with your mother. 
 
I haven't heard of photodynamic therapy as a breast cancer met treatment, but I am by no means an expert on the subject.  I would think that most doctors would talk about treatment in terms of expected months or years that could be gained by a treatment.
 
We have many women who come here who have survived with mets for many years, and some doctors prefer to talk about metatstatic disease in terms of a "chronic illness," rather than a life-ending illness; and while I do say that your mom could have many good years left, I think you should be aware that there IS no cure. 
 
My hope for my friends with mets is that current treatments give them the time it takes to FIND that cure.
 
Perhaps someone with more knowledge will be able to answer your question about the success with that particular treatment.  But beware of anyone who promises a cure.
 
BEV
"There's a difference between a philosophy and a bumper sticker."  --Charles Schulz


cujlm
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 4/19/2008 7:04 AM (GMT -7)   
Dear all,
thanks for all your advice.
My mom will start FAC chemo on the coming Mon. Doc siad her hormone report is pretty encouraging and it may go well with just chemo. If chemo fails, he thinks Femara (Not sure about the spelling) can work well. I am still looking for Chinese medicine practitioner to seek further opinion on her treatment. Hope all go well. and please keep me updated. Thanks.

cadilac-slc
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 5/18/2008 5:10 AM (GMT -7)   
cujlm said...
Good to find this forum.
I am from Hong Kong.

My mom is diagnosed with recurring Stage IV Breast Cancer in her first Biopsy. She has just completed her second biopsy because her doctor is not sure whether it is really a recurrence or new cancer. The report will be ready tomorrow.

Can you all give my some advice on this? I am now desperate about what treatments should be adopted. On one hand, chemotherapy is too expensive and aggressive, and on the other hand, I am not sure if we can just depend upon Chinese Medicine. I am thinking a combination of both but learning about the meagre 10% 5-year survival rate, it brings out my tears...
hi sorry to hear what your dad is going through. just exactry what my mum went through untill untill somone gave us an info somewhere in africa where cancer is treated withouth any operation or surgery. they cure with roots. as we heard about that, we quickly rush to nigerian embercy in berlin and secure a visa and flown my mum down there. she spent nearly 1 month and got the treatment untill everything got disappered. so try there and i promise you that the cancer will be vanished. up till today my mum is helthier than before and we all are so happy about the result.i wish all the best
cychi

Sheynne
New Member


Date Joined May 2008
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 5/30/2008 10:38 AM (GMT -7)   
Your mothers situation sounds so similar to my mothers. Mine had invasive breast cancer in 94, lumpectomy, radiation and cemo then a non invasive in the other breast in 05 with radiation only. Her right arm went numb two weeks ago went to ER CAT scan showed 2 spots on her brain then an MRI confirmed over 30 and spot on her lung. She has just now began whole brain radiation for 10 treatments then we will do cemo again.
 
Has your mother had CAT scan and or MRI to check the brain? The dr's said it was a spot on her brain pressing on a motor skill nerve that made the right arm go numb.

cadilac-slc
New Member


Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 4
   Posted 6/3/2008 10:42 AM (GMT -7)   
well is been quite long now that we went through these processes. to be updated on the whole information i need to contact my mum once more. but anyway i think what yoou mama need is to be healthy again. the procedure might be uninteresting to her i guess. just try there and see with your eye. life has no duplicate and i know how worried we were during this hard time of ours. cancer is a deadly sickness as we all know and is not advisable to delay.
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