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Topic: Early signs of Brain Mets???

Forum: Stage IV and Metastatic Breast Cancer ONLY — A place for those managing the ups & downs of a Stage IV/metastatic breast cancer diagnosis. Please respect that this forum is for Stage IV members only or those posting on behalf of a Stage IV patient. There is a separate forum for Stage IV Caregivers/Family in "Support and Community Connections".

Posted on: Mar 22, 2011 12:58PM

Ready2Win wrote:

I hope I am worrying over nothing but wanted to see what the early signs are that the cancer has spread to the brain.  I feel like I have a sinus headache for the past 5 days.  No other symptoms of a sinus infections.  Unfortunately I think that every new pain is the cancer.  The headache goes away with extra strength Tylenol but it comes back shortly after the 4 hours.  I had recent PET scan of the chest ab,and pelvic but there was no mention of new disease.  Would Brain mets show up or should I ask for a BRAIN MRI?

What are the early symptoms?

Thanks for your continued support and knowledge.

Laura

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Posts 1 - 16 (16 total)

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Mar 22, 2011 01:19PM Leah_S wrote:

Laura, I have been wondering about the same thing. I don't have headaches or pain but I've been getting dizzy lately - not lightheaded dizzy but room-spinning feeling. Do you feel anything like that? I see  the onc Sunday so I'll ask then.

I hope we're both dealing with something else.

All the best.

Leah

Dx 11/3/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 22, 2011 01:22PM Ready2Win wrote:

No I dont get dizzy or light headed at all.  The only other issues that I have had recently is that my eyes are soooo dry and vision was alittle screwed up but I blamed that on the Chemo.

Dx 12/20/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, 0/0 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Mar 22, 2011 01:22PM windy2011 wrote:

Hey Laura,

This screams allergies/hay fever to me.  I live in the DC area and I've noticed my allergies for about a week now.  It is very much the time of year and it often manifests itself with sinus headache.  Are you feeling sneezy at all? Even if you've never had hay fever before, I think it can hit at any time. 

Good luck

Dx 12/27/2010, IDC, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, 3/6 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 22, 2011 01:45PM Lynn1 wrote:

I don't have any information on the symptoms, but the PET scan does not scan your brain...it scans from the bottom of your skull down to your thighs.  When we were concerned about possible brain mets, I had a brain MRI.  I hope you feel better soon and it's just the allergy season in full swing already -- our pollen count today is over 2,000!  :-0

~Lynn ER+, HER2- Bone mets: sternum, pelvis, spine, ribs....it's everywhere. Started Afinitor/Femara 10/15/12

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Mar 22, 2011 01:51PM Marybetz wrote:

I had complained of severe headaches a while back and my oncologist immediately ordered a brain scan.  The PET or CT does not scan the brain, that is a totally seperate test that Dr. must order.

Mary Betz

Dx 5/17/2010, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Mar 22, 2011 01:53PM chainsawz wrote:

I had brain mets without any symptoms....each person is different and brain mets can show up different ways.  IMHO, everyone who is stage IV should have a baseline brain MRI and then regular follow ups....they scan the rest of our bodies, why not this MOST important area?

Before my last good scan, I was having headaches behind my eyes.  It turns out allergies was the cause of my pain.  I hope you get the same results :>

Lisa -mets to lungs & brain - clear lymph nodes.....the weakest step toward the top of the hill, toward sunrise, toward hope, is stronger than the fiercest storm.

Dx 7/21/2008, IDC, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Mar 22, 2011 01:56PM, edited Mar 22, 2011 01:58PM by leggo

This Post was deleted by leggo.
Dx IDC, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 26/35 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Mar 22, 2011 02:37PM MCTHO wrote:

The only way to know is through a scan.  If you are her2 positive, there is a stronger risk of brain mets.  It is important to have regular scans.

Dx 7/2009, IDC, Stage IV, Grade 3, 1/1 nodes, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Mar 22, 2011 02:59PM konakat wrote:

My brain mets showed no symptoms, it snuck up on me.  If you're worried, ask for a brain MRI.  Better to get it done than worry.  Funny thing is that before I got brain mets when I did get a scan for headaches the scans always came back clear.  I'm counting on you getting a clear one too.  Just get it done so you can relax.

I agree with Lisa, they scan the crap out of the rest of our body, scan our frickin' brains too!

Elizabeth's Mantra: When in doubt, eat cake. When you haven't a clue, add ice cream. Elizabeth's Mets: Liver, bones, brain (yuck), and lungs (more yuck).

Dx 5/2007, ILC, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 13/19 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+
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Mar 22, 2011 04:13PM JeninMichigan wrote:

Laura

I had issues at Christmas time with a fuzzy kind of feeling in my head and alot of pressure.  I had not had a brain MRI since my baseline at diagnosis.   I finally called and asked for one.   Turns out my issues was a very impacted sinus cavity but no brain mets.    I felt great relief.  Being Her2 positive, brain mets are more common.  Knowing this, I don't understand why I get a pet scan every year but went almost three years with no brain MRI.    If you feel concerned, I would ask for an MRI.  You have to be your own advocate.

Jennifer 

Dx 2/22/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 4/9 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Mar 22, 2011 06:09PM irish22 wrote:

I'm not trying to change the subject, but why don't they do brain MRIs as often as bone scans and PETs since that's one of the common places of spread? Is it the expense? Are brain mets more "rare"? It seems like a lot of women on the board have them so I just assumed they would be doing a brain mri every 3 months with the other scans.

Keep Calm and Carry On

Dx 1/13/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 17/34 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 22, 2011 07:08PM chainsawz wrote:

Irish - I did a bunch of research when my brain mets were found, and it seems like the old belief was that treatment for brain mets didn't extend our life span so what is the point?  In fact, my rad onc who treated my brain mets with cyberknife said he encounted that kind of opposition when he did a presentation.  I told him I'd like to meet those naysayers and kick them in the rear!

The brain mets survival for some people certainly has changed with the technologies and meds available today.  That paradigm is slowly changing, and the oncology world is starting to understand that early treatment can at times make a difference for some patients....not all, but some and if there are some that is totally worth looking!! 

It just irks me that they scan the crap out of our bodies but not our brains.  If the mets are found early they are easily treated.  If they wait until SE appear that might be too late or not be eligible for cyberknife.

Lisa -mets to lungs & brain - clear lymph nodes.....the weakest step toward the top of the hill, toward sunrise, toward hope, is stronger than the fiercest storm.

Dx 7/21/2008, IDC, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 0/2 nodes, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Mar 22, 2011 10:34PM irish22 wrote:

Thanks Chainsawz, I think I'm gonna fake symptoms every 6 months at least to get one. I agree, it should be standard for us stage IV peeps. I feel like if it could even extend or save a few of our lives thats worth paying for one on everyone. I wonder if the people that set these rules were in our circumstances how different things would be.

I know my insurance company gave me crap when I got one with all my diagnostic tests right after dx. I called and asked why they were refusing to pay since my pet/ct said they thought they saw activity at the base of my skull. They felt they should have waited on the brain MRI until they had a reason to do it. I called and asked the lady at the insurance company what they would like me to wait for, for me to start peeing my pants or having seizures? In the end they paid for it.

Keep Calm and Carry On

Dx 1/13/2011, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 17/34 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 22, 2011 10:46PM windy2011 wrote:

Yes, thanks Chainsawz.  I am new to all of this but now will demand a baseline brain MRI.  I got into the mindset of no news is good news after my final diagnosis because I kept on getting more and more and more bad news.  You make such a good point so I will pursue it!

Windy

Dx 12/27/2010, IDC, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, 3/6 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 23, 2011 08:57AM Leah_S wrote:

Chainsawz, I've been going back & forth in my mind about speaking to the onc about the dizziness issue but I think, after reading your post, that I'll talk to him Sunday. I realized that my reluctance to do so is just a part of my cruise on deNile. If I don't talk about it, if I don't bring it up, if I ignore it,  then it's nothing....

Leah

Dx 11/3/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 6/17 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 23, 2011 09:52AM Ready2Win wrote:

Thanks for all the great info and conversation about this subject. I had a baseline before I entered the TDM1 trial and it was clean. I am going to go with allergies/ hay fever for now but if it keeps up I will mention it to the onc.

Thanks everyone!

Dx 12/20/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, 0/0 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2+