Breast Cancer: Stage 3 & 4 Community
Stage IV Question
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Stage IV Question

I am a 51 year young woman who found a lump for the first time in July 2007.  Needle core biopsy showed Lobular Invasive.  Had a lumpectomy in Aug 2007 where they removed the lump & checked a few other sites.  The upper part of my left breast is DCIS and the small lump in my right turned out to be benign.  They removed 28 lymph nodes and 24 were positive.  Had a Pet scan and multiple MRI's when they decided it was stage IV with Mets in the Spine, Right Femur & right Pelvis.  I also have had a Pleural effusion (spelling?) but that has decreased in size since the initial pet scan in Sept 2007.   I am ER+PR + and Her2 Neg.   In March this year, I attempted to have my ovaries removed.  They were only able to get the right one out (because of scar tissue by the left) and both the right ovary & the scar tisue around the left indicated Breast cancer cells there as well.

My doctor has me on Tamoxifin (tamoxifen) and Zometa.

I have no real pain to speak of and no symptoms of anything being wrong.  I have been told I am the healthiest looking Stage IV cancer patient most people have seen.

I am trying to get an idea of what to expect in the future.  I am working full time and have a reasonably good quality of life at this point in time.  The only problem I have is that the Zometa causes flu like symptoms every time I have it - but only for one day.
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Hi,

It is difficult to say how any given case progresses. However, patients with bone metastases from Breast cancer tend to remain active. The problem in general would be a risk of fractures which you are reducing with Zometa.

Problems would generally be the involvement of other parts of your body. Hence, some of the things to watch out would be headaches, blurred or double vision, persistent nausea (should brain be involved), difficult breathing, perennial cough (lung involvement), abdominal pain, yellowing of skin or the whites of the eyes (liver involvement).

You could also discuss with your doctor about monitoring these problem sites. Monitoring lung and liver is usual practice, not so for brain (as the brain is usually involved later in the course of illness).

Stay positive.  
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