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Mom joined the Stage IV now 💔

fathea Member Posts: 33

hi beautiful ladies

My mom got recurrence last June, PET scan showed tiny nodule over the lunge

due to age and other health issues the doctors did not do lung biopsy and decided to put her on letrozole and do another PET scan after 6 months to see the response so no staging since June

Last week she did another PET scan and it showed favorable response to treatment and tumors got smaller and the lung nodule disappeared

we are seeing the doctor next week to discuss the results

so now since the lung nodule responded to treatment this means it's Mets to lungs

my mom dose not have any symptoms so far

I am so worried about progression and how to control the disease from spreading more

she is 79 and my best friend I can't hold my tears 😭

Any support appreciated


  • kaynotrealname
    kaynotrealname Member Posts: 413
    edited April 2023

    I think I would look at her results as being phenomenal instead of focusing on it being a stage 4 diagnosis. MBC patients have more and more treatments coming out and many of them live for a decade or more. We have quite a few on this site after all. She's responding beautifully to endocrine therapy with no symptoms. I think I would remember that her response is exactly what most MBC patients are shooting for. She reads like she's doing great and at 79 what more could you really shoot for?

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,956
    edited April 2023

    I have a bone met, not lungs, but have survived progression free for over 11 years* . After radiation to my bone met, AI's have been my only treatment. I understand how very important your mother is to you and I hope you can embrace reality as well as hope. Here goes:

    Many stage IV patients live for a decade or more? Many is not quite accurate as we are still in the minority and considered outliers. I will say that in my decade+ experience with bc, I do see more folks with longer survival times but “many” is still a bit of a reach.

    How to control the disease from spreading? That's the million dollar question. There are quite a few treatment options when/if progression occurs but unfortunately no one treatment or procedure that can make that happen for everyone.

    It is excellent that her treatment has yielded good results! While a guarantee of nothing, focus on that right now . Although stage IV is considered incurable, treatments for extending survival have helped to do just that and newer treatments are in the pipeline. Hope is there but please understand that at this point in time there is no cure. How is your mother feeling about this? Take care

    *I am a big time outlier. I have done nothing other than conventional treatment so I think, and my oncologist agrees, that I just lucked out for unknown reasons.

  • nopink2019
    nopink2019 Member Posts: 384
    edited April 2023

    I agree with Kay, she's responding well to treatment. MBC is not curable, those of us with it live with this daily, but somehow we keep taking one step in front of the other. You might do better to be in the Forum for caregivers of stage 4. I hope her treatment continues to be tolerable and successful.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 8,202
    edited April 2023

    Hi fathea , We're sorry for what you are going through, but very happy that the cancer is responding to the treatment and that your mom is symptom-free. There are really many different, new treatments out there that can allow your mom options to manage the cancer. We hope that after the initial shock, you and your mom are able to enjoy time together, and do the things you love.

    We're all here for you.

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 1,000
    edited April 2023

    Hi Fathea,

    I'm breaking protocol by answering in this thread but am doing so since I have been communicating with you since you first posted. I'm very sorry that the response of your mom's lung nodules to letrozole has confirmed that they are mets. The possibility is worrying but the reality is more upsetting.

    The good aspect of the news is that your mom is responding well to letrozole, has no symptoms so far and no worrying side effects. An aromatase inhibitor is the first line of treatment for ER+ MBC so your mom is receiving the standard of care. There are many people who remain progression free on AIs for a good amount of time. There are other treatments available but they probably won't be recommended if the letrozole is working. Also, these drugs have harsh side effects and could cause more harm than good given your mother's comorbidities and frail condition.

    At 71 I am closer to your mother's age and while in one way I would like to live to 100 as one of my grandmothers did I now value quality of life more than quantity. I'm in the unusual position of having a rare lung disease caused by radiation and AIs are my only treatment option if I cross over into stage iv (currently watching lung nodules.) Having survived some pretty dire pulmonary side effects I have no desire to do that again. Unfortunately, nobody can direct their health progression so we have to deal with what happens and make the best medical decisions we can with no guarantees.

    Hugs to you and your mom. I hope the letrozole is effective for a long time.