My daughter died of breast cancer a month ago. She went through 6 months of chemo and 6 weeks of radiation. Three weeks later it was discovered that she had breast cancer in her bones and liver. She died one week later. The doctor said she had a type of cancer similar to lung cancer that was very resistant to chemo and radiation. What kind of cancer would that have been and why put her trough all that treatment if that was the fact. Would they not have known that at biopsy. I am worried about her three daughters who are in their twenties.
I'm very sorry for your loss. It's a horrifying situation to be in when your loved one is diagnosed with cancer. Doctors are usually pretty realistic about the risks associated with cancer and even in the best of circumstances they know there is a very real chance of loosing their patient. However, even if it's only a 10% chance of survival, that's still that reason to hope and they try to treat it. It sounds like your daughter was young and sometimes the young fair better. So they did have cause to hope and treated her with what I assume was an aggressive treatment. Sometimes all the doctors do is try to give someone more time. My grandma's doctor was shocked and amazed she was still kicking a year after being diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer. She may be in her final days now, but she was given an extra 4 years because of treatment.
As far as your other daughters go all they can really do is keep on their examinations. They can be tested for a specific gene to see if they have a higher risk of breast cancer, but I personally don't think that does much good. You can still get breast cancer if you don't have it and you can not get it even if you do. I would suggest they strictly follow their monthly self examinations (as do you) and maybe talk to their doctor about getting a mammogram earlier than 40. Younger women usually have less clear mammograms, but the faster something is found the better the chances are so maybe they can get one as young as mid 30's. I would also suggest for them to be well versed about ovarian and cervical cancer as there have been some suggested links between them and breast cancer.
There is no real way to prevent breast cancer but you can limit your chances. Don't smoke, keep in a healthy weight range, eat your fruits and vegetables, get your check ups. Also if any of them are on birth control maybe they should see their doctor to make sure they are on the best form of birth control for them. (One of my college friends said she wasn't allowed by her Dr. to use a type of hormonal birth control because she had one of the breast cancer genes. However that could have been bad information, so no point freaking out about Birth control until they speak to a dr. about it.)
First off I am so sorry for the loss of your daughter..my mother will, eventually, being going through the same with my sister. I don't know what kind of cancer your daughter had, only her doctor and medical records can tell you that.
However, going off your description I am guessing (and this is ONLY a guess) that she had Inflammatory Breast Cancer. My sister has it, she's stage IV. It's automatically classified as Stage IIIB, it targets younger women in their 20's-40's, but older women can get it too. It does not show up as a lump but rather like mastitis, and is often misdiagnosed as a breast infection, wasting valuable time in treatment. It's super aggressive, becoming Stage IV in a matter of weeks to months. It does not respond well to chemotherapy or radiation, and I didn't see mention of surgery for your daughter?..that's because this cancer often doesn't present in clear margins like a tumor, it is at the cellular level. Surgery has not been shown to increase life expectancy, which is 18-24months with a dim 5 year survival rate.
My sister decided to go ahead with the genetic testing, she was worried about her daughters. To her suprise..she's BRCA1 positive. IBC is not "usually" genetic, but they honestly haven't done enough research to even say that. My sister also has invasive ductal carcinoma..which is responding well to the chemo..her IBC is being stubborn. So, we all underwent testing..I am negative, my mom is waiting results. My sister has 2 little girls..it's important for them to know when they are older. Being BRCA1 positive means you have over an 80% chance of getting BC in your lifetime, it also increases your risk for ovarian cancer by 50% and some even think colon cancer. If they are BRCA1 positive they can choose to do bi-annual mammograms, MRI's or ultrasounds..or have a preventative masectomy. Or they can go on preventative drugs. Even without the testing, they will be considered at risk having a sibling who died of BC and should undergo the preventative screenings. When my testing came back negative they said my risk was now back to 1 in 8 and I could go back to regular screenings starting at age 40. Well. I don't think so! 6 month ultrasounds here I come..they can keep there statistics, I'd rather play it safe.
In the end I think an open discussion with your other daughters would be best, and they can each decide for themselves what they want to do...I hope this helped a bit....
I've got a friend in NY who is an Ashkenazi Jew who's Mother died of IBC and she tested and is BRCA 2. She took preventative measures and had bilateral prophyllactic mastectomies with immediate implant placement.
You may want to connect with a support group called FORCE at facingourriskempowered.org for all the latest information on BRCA mutations, genetics and treatment options. Because your sister is BRCA + she could possibly get into a PARP inhibitor trial which could help.
Feel free to ask questions over there and you'll get great info.
Awesome site,and wonderful service.
Hinging on the class of stage 3 breast cancer, the 5 year survival rate for women can range from 49 percent to 67 percent. Stage 3 Breast Cancer is normally bigger than 5cm in size. In addition, the cancerous cells have spread significantly to the axillary nodes.
I just want to say that I'm 70 now, almost 5 yrs from my diagnosis of inflammatory breast cancer. If you get proper treatment by a doctor who is familiar with the signs and symptoms of IBC, you stand a much better chance of being a long-time survivor. The stats you mentioned are now very outdated and do not reflect what is going on in the IBC research world. There are now IBC-specific cancer clinics around the US (Houston, Philadelphia, Duke in NC, U of Arizona in Phoenix, Dana-Farber in Boston, with more coming online in the near future). Check out some of the updated info and videos on our Inflammatory Breast Cancer Foundation website (www.eraseibc.com). We have many long-time survivors in the different support groups I'm in, both online and on Facebook.
Thanks, bluebutterfly...I do try. We hear about so many women that are having a problem getting a proper diagnosis, and some days I just want to cry for all of them. It's a shame that IBC is so little understood by most doctors. We will keep trying to educate everyone. You wouldn't believe some of the places where I'm the world's best advocate. LOL.
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