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Topic: Mom diagnosed MBC - is chemo normal??

Forum: Caring for Someone with Stage IV or Mets —

A place where family members, caregivers, and loved ones of people having a Stage IV (metastatic) diagnosis can share, discuss, and support one another through the tough times unique to this diagnosis.

Posted on: Dec 5, 2020 01:54AM

SWhite52 wrote:


My mom was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in May 2020 with metastases to the pelvis (previous BC stage 1 in 2000 and 2015) and small spots on the lungs (not confirmed cancer). She was started on an estrogen suppressor and bone-strengthening infusion. This past week, scans revealed masses have spread to her liver and one on her spine that is causing a lot of pain.

She's in the process of waiting to get into radiation for the spot on her spine and will biopsy the liver in mid-january to confirm HER2 positive (previous biopsies conflicted about her2 pos or neg).

Treatment plan hasn't been confirmed yet, but will likely involve TC chemo. Is this normal? I was so surprised to hear that she'd be doing chemo infusions because much of what I had read is that stage 4 breast cancer treatments focus on quality of life rather than trying to eradicate the cancer cells.

My mom is in her 60s, I'm in my 30s and very discouraged by her scan results.

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Dec 5, 2020 02:19AM moth wrote:

hi, sorry to hear about your mom. Plenty of us are on chemo. The goal is to reduce the tumor burden and thus hopefully prolong overall survival.

I'd suggest you check out the threads for bone mets and liver mets.

Of course your mom can always refuse treatment if that's what she chooses. Usually oncologists recommend chemo only if they think the patient is strong enough to have quality of life on the treatment.

I take weekends off

Initial dx at 50. Seriously?? “Sometimes the future changes quickly and completely and we’re left with only the choice of what to do next." blog: Never Tell Me the Odds

Dx 12/2017, IDC, Left, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/5 nodes, ER-/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Surgery 12/12/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Chemotherapy 2/14/2018 AC + T (Taxol) Radiation Therapy 8/13/2018 Whole-breast: Breast Dx 2/2020, IDC, Stage IV, metastasized to liver/lungs, Grade 3, ER-/PR-, HER2- Chemotherapy 3/18/2020 Taxol (paclitaxel) Immunotherapy 3/19/2020 Tecentriq (atezolizumab) Chemotherapy 11/26/2020 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Dx 12/9/2020, IDC, Right, Stage IV, metastasized to lungs, Grade 3, ER+/PR-, HER2- (IHC) Radiation Therapy 12/9/2020 External Hormonal Therapy 12/16/2020 Femara (letrozole) Dx 1/28/2021, IDC, Left, Stage IV, metastasized to bone Radiation Therapy 3/3/2021 External: Bone
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Dec 5, 2020 02:31AM Olma61 wrote:

Agree with moth and my additional two cents - if she is HER2+, it is very normal to initiate treatment for MBC with chemo, and she would also get Herceptin and probably Perjeta. Kind regards to both of you at this difficult time.

10/30/2017 Xgeva for bone mets 5/31/2018 Taxol finished! "If one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right” - Kierkegaard Dx 8/3/2017, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC) Targeted Therapy 10/28/2017 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Targeted Therapy 10/28/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 10/30/2017 Taxol (paclitaxel) Hormonal Therapy 5/14/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 5/30/2019 External: Bone
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Dec 5, 2020 12:21PM Moderators wrote:

(((( SWhite52 )))). We're sorry to hear what you and your mom are going through.

Great advice from the others. Reading the threads for related to your mom's metastases will be helpful. You may also find it helpful to read our section on Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatment and Planning. We're all here for you. Medicating

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Dec 5, 2020 01:12PM - edited Dec 5, 2020 01:13PM by illimae

Yes, this seems normal considering there was progression on hormonal therapy and being HER2+. Standard protocol in this scenario is likely a taxane (taxotere or taxol) chemo with Herceptin and Perjeta. The taxane would typically be the usual corse of cycles for about 5 months, then continuing on Herceptin and Perjeta (H&P) every 3 weeks thereafter until it stops working or side effects become too much but H&P is well tolerated by many.

I had the same plan, chemo worked well and H&P has kept me stable in the body for 4 years now. HER2+ has a greater tendency to present in the brain, so a brain MRI should be done and symptoms of headaches, vision issues and possible new numbness should be mentioned to the doctor, if these come up. Cancer in the brain sounds scary but I've been dealing with it over 3 years and if caught early with few, small lesions, it is very treatable with many options.

Good luck to you and your mom.

Diagnosed at 41 Stage IV De Novo Dx 11/16/2016, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to bone, Grade 3, 3/13 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+ (IHC) Chemotherapy 1/2/2017 Abraxane (albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel) Targeted Therapy 1/2/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 1/2/2017 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Surgery 6/26/2017 Lumpectomy: Left; Lymph node removal: Underarm/Axillary Radiation Therapy 8/10/2017 Breast, Lymph nodes Dx 10/5/2017, IDC, Left, 5cm, Stage IV, metastasized to brain, Grade 3, 3/13 nodes, ER+, HER2+ (IHC) Radiation Therapy 10/20/2017 External: Brain Radiation Therapy 4/18/2018 External: Brain Radiation Therapy 5/23/2019 External: Brain Surgery 1/22/2020 Radiation Therapy 2/17/2020 External: Brain Radiation Therapy 7/20/2020 External: Bone Radiation Therapy 12/4/2020 External: Brain Targeted Therapy Tukysa (tucatinib) Chemotherapy Xeloda (capecitabine) Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Dec 5, 2020 01:31PM exbrnxgrl wrote:

I agree with previous comments. One thing to bear in mind is that mbc is not one single disease. There are many factors that go into creating a treatment plan. Someone with brain mets is going to receive different treatment than someone with bone mets. Wishing you and your family the best

Bilateral mx 9/7/11 with one step ns reconstruction. As of 11/21/11, 2cm met to upper left femur Dx 7/8/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Surgery 9/7/2011 Lymph node removal: Left; Mastectomy: Left, Right; Reconstruction (left); Reconstruction (right) Dx 11/2011, IDC, Left, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 1, 1/15 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 11/21/2011 Arimidex (anastrozole) Radiation Therapy 11/21/2011 Bone Hormonal Therapy 6/19/2014 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy Aromasin (exemestane)

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