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Prognostic without treatment

Hi community,

Very hard to find information on patient refusing treatment.

Mother 92 , has Recurrence IDC (first cancer 2011) she had lobectomy , axilliary node removed , she refused radiation , chemo and stopped hormone therapy after a few months…

Now she is diagnosed with IDC stage 3a , grade 3 , at least one lymp node affected and cannot be operated because of Alzheimer , old age and heart issues.

The started Femara and the tumor is stable ,but Oncologist say’s it’s a question of time, without wanting to tell us more ..

Anyone could share more information? Are we talking 2-3- 5 years ?

With the Alzheimer,at stage 4 we are trying to plan proper care


  • kotchaj
    kotchaj Member Posts: 209

    Hi @lealiv,

    I'm so sorry to hear of your mother's reoccurrence. I hope that someone can give you an answer, but I might suggest you go back to her oncologist and tell them that you are trying to plan her care and are wondering about a possible timeline for her with her current diagnosis. You can also ask what happened time wise with other patients that were similar to her and her condition. Sorry I'm not more help.

  • maggie15
    maggie15 Member Posts: 843
    edited March 8

    Hi @lealiv , Because of your mother's advanced age and her comorbidities the oncologist is being truthful by indicating that they do not know what your mother's survival timeline would be. She may succumb to heart disease, Alzheimer's, cancer or something else. My mother went from stage 4 Alzheimer's to stage 6 in just four months, way faster than the average. She had successful surgery for a spontaneous bone fracture three months before her death at 83 from sepsis due to a UTI. There is no way of knowing what the future holds.

    Inability to plan and a flexible outlook for the future come with the territory. Enjoy your mother while she is still with you. If you are unable to coordinate home care a nursing home with a memory care unit which could cover all of her possible needs would be an option. It's a tough situation to be in but in retrospect it is satisfying knowing that you did your best for your mother when she needed you.

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,726
    edited March 8

    maggie15 is spot on in her comment. Stage III breast cancer is not terminal so you can see how it would be virtually impossible to predict when or if it becomes metastatic and how long anyone survives that. FYI, stage III patients can and do survive for many years without becoming metastatic . Lack of info on patients refusing treatment? I’d venture to guess few do. Metastasis is not predictable. I also don’t know how ethical it would be to follow a group of untreated patients when treatment is available.
    I am sure this is very stressful but the prognosis you’re looking for, particularly since she is currently not stage IV , doesn’t exist. Take care

    PS: If she is on Femara, she is not refusing treatment.

  • lealiv
    lealiv Member Posts: 6

    So will wait and see …

    Was hoping to hear about patient refusing treatment and their outcome , timeline etc..

    Oncologist did say the tumor is near the skin surface and stuck to the sternum therefore could surface and cause an open sore or could invade the sternum bone , the Femara is to prevent the tumor from piercing the skin but will not prevent metastasis to occur.

    That’s how we understood it .
    We will need to move her into a broader care facility (she is living by herself in a Nursing Home) doesn’t want to move .

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,726

    I’m so sorry as this must be very stressful for you and your family. If it’s any comfort, even those of us who are stage IV are often not given any time line (unless end of life care is called in). Breast cancer does not run a predictable course and varies greatly from person to person.
    Not to argue with your doctors, but Femara, an aromatase inhibitor, is taken by a large number of patients, often post chemo or surgery, to prevent metastasis. I was taking Femara, or one of the other drugs in that class, for 12 years and I’m stage IV. It was prescribed to halt further metastasis.