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Recurrence 12 years later ?

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my mother was diagnosed in 2011 @age 79

IDC stage 1 -grade 2/3 - HER2 negative-

ER PR positive

See underwent partial mastectomy, refused radiation and chemo , started Arimidex but stopped after 2 years .

A lump was found last month , she just went through a double biopsy

What are the chance her biopsy coming out positive for cancer ?
She is now 92 and showing signs of dementia, can’t remember she had cancer !

Comments

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,929
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    Hi @lealiv, and welcome to Breastcancer.org.

    We are so sorry for the reasons that bring you here, but really glad you've found us! You're sure to find our Community a wonderful source of advice, information, encouragement, and support — we're all here for you and your mom!

    We feel terrible for your poor mom. Of course, there's always the chance your mom has either a recurrence of the original cancer or a new cancer. Considering her age and mental status, have you talked to her doctors about what the suggested treatment might be (if any) if the biopsy comes out as positive?

    We're thinking of you both! Please keep us posted.

    —The Mods

  • mandy23
    mandy23 Member Posts: 104
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    Hi @lealiv -

    I had a recurrence with a new primary bc after 19 years, so it certainly is possible.

    However, at 92 and with other health conditions, I'm not sure they will be recommending much further treatment for your mom if it is bc (which maybe it is and maybe it isn't), though they certainly could offer it. Whether she (or you) decide to have more treatment is a decision, not a requirement. There are always choices to be made. Often treatments are so it doesn't recur which might be years from now. The risk vs the reward would need to be considered.

    Sorry you and she have to go through this and best of luck to you as you get the results and make your decisions.

  • lealiv
    lealiv Member Posts: 6
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    the result came back positive for cancer !

    92 years and a cancer recurrence , don’t have the details yet ..

    But know she will most probably not want to undergo treatments .. what will that do ?what are the prognosis of a cancer recurring at age 92 ?

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,929
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    Oh no, @lealiv, we're so sorry to hear this unwelcome news. Please, keep us posted on what you learn from subsequent appointments. For now, here is a forum dedicated to other family members coping with a loved one's diagnosis. Hopefully, you will find it helpful:

    Caring for Someone with Breast cancer

    Sending you and your mom our best wishes!

    The Mods

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 863
    edited July 2023
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    Hi @lealiv , I'm sorry that the biopsy was positive. Having been my mother's POA when she was elderly with dementia and other comorbidities, I empathize with the situation you now find yourself in.

    If your mom's tumor is ER+ like her previous one, taking an aromatase inhibitor (there are two others besides Arimidex) or tamoxifen is an option that may slow/prevent its growth. These meds all have side effects so you would need to consult with her doctor to see if any of them would be recommended in her situation. There is also the option of letting nature take its course. Surgery, chemo or radiation would probably not be recommended since she would most likely be very upset by these treatments and may not have the physical constitution to recover.

    Making the decision that she not undergo treatment for the cancer is hard. The toughest thing I ever did is tell a an ER doctor not to intubate my mother as he glared at me and told me she would probably die within hours because of my decision. She did last the night but passed away a week later. Also, while three of my siblings were very supportive, one brother who lived far away and hadn't seen how she had deteriorated over the past couple of years was very critical of me. I was confident that I was following her wishes and still feel that I took the best possible care of her as she left this earth.

    All the best for you and your mom. I wish strength and peace for you as you help her navigate this.

  • moderators
    moderators Posts: 7,929
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    @lealiv Just thinking of you — have you and your mom's doctors come to any decisions? Sending hugs!

    —The Mods

  • edwards750
    edwards750 Member Posts: 1,568
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    I was DX in 2011 as well but I did have radiation(33 treatments) as well as a lumpectomy and took tamoxifen for 5 years.
    I'm just wondering if skipping any kind of treatment the first time has caused the recurrence. Scary thinking after all this time the beast has come back. Regardless it was her choice and if I were in her place now and her age I would not have treatments. Quality of life has to be paramount.
    Best of luck to your mother and you.

  • lealiv
    lealiv Member Posts: 6
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    Sorry , it took a long time to see the oncologist , he said the cancer is agressive because of the size, could not get the biopsy result in the lymp node because the node kept moving …. ?
    Surgery is not an option and she refused chemo, he is trying to convince her to take Letrozole , if not he said that within 6 month the tumour will pierce her skin and create a painful ulcer …

    Not sure she will handle the side effects of Letrozole

    He recommend a full body scan to see if tumor has spread

    Any insight?

    Anyone had the ulcering tumor ?

    What do you think about the benefit of Letrozole ?

  • kaynotrealname
    kaynotrealname Member Posts: 374
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    The benefits of letrozole can be great. She may or may not have side effects. Everyone is different. I'm not even 50 yet but I don't have any bad side effects. But you don't want an ulcer. It would be an awful thing to try and take care of and manage so that her life would be comfortable. As far as a full body scan if it showed spread it would at least give you an idea of time frame. And if it doesn't show spread then you know it's just localized and that would be a relief also. So if you can convince her to do it, I would. Having as many answers as possible even if she were to choose no treatment would at least give you an idea of what to expect.

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 863
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    Hi @lealiv , Letrozole can be very effective for ER+/PR+ cancer and the side effects, if any, would be less bothersome than dealing with an ulcerating tumor that wouldn't heal. These fungating tumors leak, have a bad odor, are painful and require wound dressing management. There are also two other aromatase inhibitors which could be used if letrozole disagreed with your mom. The whole body scan, while informative, would probably not change the recommended treatment. Following the doctor's recommendation of letrozole would improve your mom's quality of life.

  • bennybear
    bennybear Member Posts: 245
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    first let me say how sorry I am. My mother had her first breast cancer at 94 and I was very upset. My son said to me, mom she lived 94 years without it. That helped how we looked at things. She had a lumpectomy but no other treatment and the tumour board agreed. It did return at 96 but that’s not what took her life. Wishing you peace and strength as you make these decisions.

  • mandy23
    mandy23 Member Posts: 104
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    Hi @lealiv -

    I would suggest that she at least try the Letrozole. She can always stop taking it if the side effects are harsh. It is a really really good drug. I just started on it again in June and have not had any real noticeable side effects yet. The first time I was diagnosed I was on it for 8 years. I think then the side effects were most noticeable since since I had just had an oophorectomy to put me into menopause, so some symptoms were related to that. It does seem to build up over time, so made me really tired by the 8th year. This time (age 66) as I said, so far, side effects are minimal.

    You just don't know how you are going to react to a drug until you try it.