Jun 2, 2021 07:30PM Rosiecat wrote:
You don't mention whether your aunt's metaplastic breast cancer is triple negative or hormone driven. Most are triple negative. I was diagnosed in August 2018 and was never given any significant information about metaplastic cancer, only that as it was extremely rare there was very little reliable research. It's very aggressive, more so than simple triple negative cancer. Chemotherapy has mixed results as many metaplastic tumours are resistant to chemotherapy. As so little is understood about metaplastic the usual treatment is surgery followed by chemotherapy. In the UK radiotherapy is not offered to patients who have no positive nodes and have opted for mastectomy like me. However, more recent research suggests that radiotherapy is beneficial to metaplastic patients and I would have asked for it had I known at the time. My chemotherapy (FEC T) was 3 x3 weekly doses of FEC followed by 3x3 weekly doses of Docetaxol. Hard going but doable.
Metaplastic breast cancer, unlike other cancers usually bypasses the lymph nodes. Local recurrence is common, but treatable. Once distant mets are discovered treatment is extremely difficult. Your aunt would be well advised to ask for her pathology report which will tell her which particular metaplastic subtype she has. Mine is spindle cell (the most common) mixed with adenosquamous. I should warn you that looking at Dr Google is unhelpful and comes up with the frightening 'poor prognosis' label without explaining that when studies are undertaken, due to the rarity of metaplastic cancer, the participants often have other serious health conditions or are already at stage 4. So not a level playing field at all. I'm nearly three years out and there are a few posters on other threads here who are several years out with no recurrences. At least one poster was allergic to chemotherapy and had to stop, but has been cancer free for several years. There are many survivors.
Your aunt needs to push for surgery as soon as possible. As you say, knowledge is power, so she should ask her breast surgeon and oncologist as much as possible, always take notes. Never be afraid to seek a second opinion at a different hospital, no doctor worth her salt would mind your aunt double checking - I did and found it very helpful.
I'm on the triple negative thread calling patients from the UK. People from Canada, America, Australia and other places also post on the thread so your aunt would be very welcome to join us.
It's good that she has you for support. Let us know what happens.
With very best wishes,