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Topic: Question about Metastasis

Forum: Not Diagnosed With a Recurrence or Metastases but Concerned —

Meet others concerned about developing a recurrence or metastases.

Posted on: Nov 27, 2019 03:07PM - edited Nov 27, 2019 03:30PM by FineGina

FineGina wrote:

Hi everyone. My mom is three years cancer free from stage 1B. Now we are all good there but I do have a question that I cannot find an answer to anywhere else. My mom has been dealing with COPD for a long time as well as fibromyalgia pain that has settled in her back. She's now on Femara and which she was warned that the Femara would make her disability symptoms much worse. Anyway, she has been having a lot of trouble breathing recently and she's going in for pulmonary tests next month. The nurse she talked to who scheduled the appointment asked her if she was in remission with her cancer because they would suspect a spread to her lungs. My question is (apologies for the wordiness) can breast cancer spread to another part of the body and out of the breasts themselves? Wouldn't her mammograms have been coming back positive if the cancer had spread to other parts of the body? Thanks so much. Gina.

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Nov 27, 2019 03:14PM goldie0827 wrote:

Breast cancer can spread to many parts of the body. Typically to the bones, brain, liver and lungs. That being said, lets say it went to her lungs. It would not be lung cancer, but breast cancer that spread to her lungs.

AKA - Sugar Lusty Heat! Hair pictures on my profile. DON'T LOOK DOWN ON ANYBODY, UNLESS YOU'RE PICKING THEM UP! Dx 3/27/2008, DCIS, Right, 5cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 2/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 7/2014, ILC, Right, Stage IV, 2/2 nodes, ER+, HER2- Chemotherapy AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Nov 27, 2019 03:28PM FineGina wrote:

Hi! My apologies, I was not clear. What I meant was, if the cancer had spread, wouldn't it still be in her breasts though? Like would she keep getting back negative breast scans? Thanks!

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Nov 27, 2019 03:41PM Beaverntx wrote:

FineGina, her mammograms could well be clear so that is no absolute reassurance. Hope she has those pulmonary tests as soon as possible, if for no other reason than to have information about what is going on.

Diagnosed at age 77-- Oncotype 17, dealing with this bump in the road of life!!🎆 Dx 1/24/2018, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IB, Grade 3, 0/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- (IHC) Dx 1/30/2018, DCIS, Right, <1cm, Stage 0 Surgery 1/30/2018 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Radiation Therapy 3/11/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Surgery 6/15/2018 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Nov 27, 2019 04:50PM Spookiesmom wrote:

I had bmx 7 years ago. Both are gone. I had reoccurrence in my armpit on the non cancer side this year. It’s still considered breast cancer. I have scans twice a year to make sure it’s not spread someplace else. If I did light up somewhere there would be tests to see if it is breast cancer or a new primary. That makes a difference for treatment. I am currently on an oral chemo pill

Reoccurrence 3-19. Dx IDC, Stage IIIA, Grade 3
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Nov 27, 2019 04:59PM JoE777 wrote:

I have metastatic breast cancer to the lower back and both lungs. My breast are clear. I don't even have mammograms anymore because I have pet/Ct scans every 4-6 months now that my disease is inactive after treatments, kisqali and letrozole

Dx 2/2012, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIA, metastasized to bone, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 4/4/2012 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Hormonal Therapy 1/8/2018 Femara (letrozole) Dx 2/2018, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to bone/lungs, Grade 1, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane), Femara (letrozole) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes Chemotherapy Other Radiation Therapy External: Bone Targeted Therapy Kisqali
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Nov 27, 2019 05:08PM djmammo wrote:

FineGina

"Can breast cancer spread to another part of the body and out of the breasts themselves?"

Yes. That is the definition of metastatic breast cancer.

"Wouldn't her mammograms have been coming back positive if the cancer had spread to other parts of the body?"

No. If it had already exited the breast prior to her definitive surgery, either by blood or lymphatics, it would show up elsewhere in the body and not show up in that breast so a normal mammogram does not exclude metastatic disease. If the mammogram shows a cancer at this point in time, it would more likely be a second primary.

"Anyway, she has been having a lot of trouble breathing recently and she's going in for pulmonary tests next month"

Shortness of breath secondary to metastatic breast cancer is usually from pleural effusions (fluid around the lungs) and this should be visible on a routine chest x-ray. CT would be better for detecting nodules in the lungs themselves. The fact that she has COPD makes it more likely that the SOB is from that. Let us know what those tests show.

Board Certified Diagnostic Radiologist specializing in Breast Imaging. Contact me at DJMammo@gmail.com
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Nov 27, 2019 05:25PM goldie0827 wrote:

Great reply DJ. I hope that answers her questions.

AKA - Sugar Lusty Heat! Hair pictures on my profile. DON'T LOOK DOWN ON ANYBODY, UNLESS YOU'RE PICKING THEM UP! Dx 3/27/2008, DCIS, Right, 5cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 2/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 7/2014, ILC, Right, Stage IV, 2/2 nodes, ER+, HER2- Chemotherapy AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy Breast, Lymph nodes Surgery Lumpectomy; Lymph node removal Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole)
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Nov 27, 2019 05:46PM FineGina wrote:

Hi everyone, thank you so much for all the information. This helps a lot.

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