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No mastectomy after Stage IV diagnosis
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No mastectomy after Stage IV diagnosis

Hello-

I am just trying to get a little more solid answer about my mother's prognosis. Unfortunately, we don't live in the same state and she is clearly having a difficult time so I don't want to press her for information.

She is 54 years old and was diagnosed with breast cancer about 2 weeks ago. We just found out two days ago that it has spread to her lungs and lymphnodes but not her bone. She hasn't had the scan, yet, to find out about her brain.

The doctor's will not be doing a mastectomy and will just do chemo every 3 weeks. They have told her it is not recoverable.

I am just uncertain because I see many people on these boards who have lived with Stage IV for many years but they all seem to have had a mastectomy.

Does this mean it is just too late to do much for her? Any thoughts on whether she could have years or just months?

I don't have a pathology report or much other information beyond it being poorly differentiated and that is has spread.

Thank you for any advice.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi, I am 51 & have Stage IV as well but in my case it has spread to the bones and my ovaries as well as the lymph nodes.  

In my case they took the lymph nodes out when they did a lumpectomy.  That is when they decided it was stage IV.  
I am not getting chemo but rather Tamoxifin (tamoxifen) & Zometa (to build the bones)
What they do for your mother will depend upon what type of cancer it is - in my case lobular invasive and DCIS-  and whether they got clear margins when they removed the lump.  I haver been advised by my breast surgeon that I should plan on a mastectomy after they get my bone mets under control.  

I don't know what they mean by "recoverable" but I know many women who have lived with Stage IV for many years (one 14)  With Stage IV they cannot "cure" the disease but are working on pallative care to give your mother the best quality of life she can have.  

If the oncologist is basically giving her a "death sentence" I would get a second opinion.  My doc has told me I could live many years with this with a good quality of life.   When one treatment stops working they will simply try another.  

I wish you luck.  
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for your response.

Honestly, I don't think they even did a lumpectomy. Her breast was so swollen that they had to do surgery to drain the breast. After that they determined it was cancer and she had surgery to install a pump (I think) for the chemo.

That was about 2 weeks ago and they just did the cat scans two days ago and found it in her lungs.

As far as I know, they haven't even done a lumpectomy. They are not doing any surgery period. I know she had two tumors in her breast.

Her breast surgeon told her that she would live a normal life but that was before we found out it spread. The oncologist told her "no recovery" and that she would be on chemo for the rest of her life.

It is a little difficult for me because I lost my father to brain cancer and he passed away less than a month after being diagnosed. I know that if that was the case my mother would tell me but I just don't want to push her to tell me what the doctor told her. I am going to be with her next week so maybe I will be able to get more info from her doctor then.

Good luck on your treatment and I wish you the best.
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Avatar_f_tn
"Her breast surgeon told her that she would live a normal life but that was before we found out it spread. The oncologist told her "no recovery" and that she would be on chemo for the rest of her life

Well now by his use of "no recovery" in this context, the Oncologist may mean no cure.  I know there is no cure but I will be on one treatment or another for the balance of my life.  I have just started the 2nd different drug for me.   By being on chemo the rest of her life, they mean that when one combo of drugs stop working, and the remission she gets for that drug (if there is one) ends, they will try a new or different combo of chemo.  I was told there were at least 10 different ones they could use on me.  

I hope this helps.  Try not to let your mother go to the dctor alone.  There are too many things they tell you and you cannot comprehend all of them at once.  I make a list of my questions and give them to whomever has gone with me for that visit.  In this way at leat one other member of my family is aware of what was said so when I forget, they can remind me.  

I wish you luck.  
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