The fact that they are SOOO negative is enough that I would drop them in a second. A hot second. The recurrance is too hard to predict and shame on them for not considering soooo many variances. A recurrance can be local to the breast area, in which case technically it does not change your life expectancy. A recurrance can show up at just one little spot and be easily treated and remain cancer free for years and years. Or a recurrance can be very responsive to chemo or other meds, holding stable for a long time. Also, if, big IF you got a recurrance say in 3 years, who the heck can predict what new treatments may be available that radically change the face of breast cancer?
Cathi has been stage IV with bone mets for over 5 years (or almost 5, not sure the exact date). Connie lived with bone mets for about
12 years before it began to spread to soft tissue. Becky lived for about
6 years with mets before it took her. And Deb has been about
20 or more years with mets to the sternum that was treated successfully and she has been cancer free since then.
Stage IV is serious, but can be managed as a chronic illness and not a death sentence. And years from now, who knows what will be available.
SHAME on your doctors for talking to you that way and for assuming every case will be the same. It also depends on other variables, such as the tumor pathology and histology.
What do you hope to gain by a 2nd opinion at Anderson? Would you travel there for aftercare and followup? Sue did that, traveling from Florida. Are you looking for a doc to tell you if there is more you can do now? If it were me, I would first contact another onc in your local area. Just make it a regular consult/eval, and see what he/she has to say. if you like the surveillance plan, stick with it. Before going through the hassle of going to ANderson I would encourage you to think about
what it is you are looking for there.....Usually people go for another opinion like that when they are at a crossroads in terms of chemo or other treatment options. If you are done, I am not sure it pays.
But in a hearbeat, I would drop those negative doctors, and find someone who will fight for you.