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Topic: Stage 4 diagnosed - what's the life expectancy?

Forum: Stage IV and Metastatic Breast Cancer ONLY — A place for those managing the ups & downs of a Stage IV/metastatic breast cancer diagnosis. Please respect that this forum is for Stage IV members only or those posting on behalf of a Stage IV patient. There is a separate forum for Stage IV Caregivers/Family in "Support and Community Connections".

Posted on: Feb 9, 2010 05:36PM

Lemongrove wrote:

I was diagnosed with an Oestrogen receptive Invasive Ductal Carcinoma of the breast, and Lymph Nodes on the 11th December 09. Had Masectomy on the 15th January 2010, and 14 of 24 Lymph nodes was cancerous. At first they thought it was stage 3, but had a whole body bone scan yesterday, which showed hot spot in skull. Saw Oncologist today, and he said the hot spot was seconday bone cancer. Consequently, they have now started me on a drug called Letrizole, which is an aromomatase inhibiter (because I am post menopausal), and will be started on a monthly infusion of  bisphosphonates. So far Ultrasound has not found anything in my organs, but the Oncologist wants me to have a CT scan, just to make sure. He say's that they want to keep things like surgery, and chemo in reserve, should the cancer progress. Basically, I am so afraid and wonder how long I have. The Oncologist said the average is 2-3 years but could be as much as 10 years. What should I expect? 

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Posts 31 - 38 (38 total)

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Feb 10, 2010 11:05PM ibcmets wrote:

How I love you Stage IV survivors.  I bet we all will be here past the 2-3 years we were told by most of our doctors.  Infact, I totally expect it.

Terri

6/2009: ibc,stage IV bone mets, ER/PR+, Her2-, 1/2011: BMX/Recon, Femara & Zometa;10/13 Aromasin/Afinitor
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Feb 11, 2010 10:58AM mthomp2020 wrote:

Always remember - we are NOT statistics or numbers, each one of us is different.  Until you start tx, you won't know what treatments are going to work for you.  Plus, you only have one bone lesion - Hey the fewer the better, I always say! 

If I went by the statistics, I should be dead by now according to your doc!  The type of bc I have is quite aggressive, but with the targeted therapy, it can be controlled.  My liver had too many lesions to count, and I had 5-6 bone lesions.  My liver was NED, and the bone lesions healed after my initial chemo.  A year later I had it show up in my hip, but I've been stable with tx for 9 months.

I'm with everyone else.  Find a doc who is more positive.  You could very easily live for many years, especially if the anti-hormonals work for you. 

Marsha Dx 5/21/2007, IDC, Stage IV, Grade 3, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2+
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Feb 11, 2010 09:01PM blondiex46 wrote:

You guys are the best, maye that it is the beginning of  me thinking positive, thanks

Sandy

Original 8/96 - 1cm, chemo, rads. Recurr..9/09...Mets to lungs, chest wall, lymph nodes under arm & chest, cervical & lumbar spine, ribs, hip. Femera, Falsodex, Zometa, Xeloda, Gemzar,Taxotere, Adriamycin,Havalen.WENT OFF CHEMO 7/20/14 Dx 9/1/2009, 3cm, Stage IV, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Feb 11, 2010 11:55PM Mazy1959 wrote:

Blondie Hugs.

Bone marrow mets in 90% of bone marrow. Dx 3/6/2003, ILC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 2/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 12/19/2006, ILC, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2- Dx 4/25/2012, ILC, Stage IV, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 8/4/2012, ILC, Stage IV, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 08/09/2012 Abraxane (chemical name: albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel)
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Feb 12, 2010 10:43AM 4everhopeful wrote:

Lemongrove, first of all....get yourself another oncologist!  If he/she can't give you hope....he's not the dr. for you.  When I was diagnosed back in Sept/05 with Stage 4 w bone mets ( spine ), my oncologist told me I would die in 1 - 2 years......I basically told her to F off, and found myself a new oncologist.  I will soon be coming up to my 5 YEAR SURVIVAL mark, and I feel fine.  2008/2009 and this week I had new bone mets.  Responding to treatment well.  I also do a bone treatment ever month called pamidtronate which is keeping my bone mets under control pretty well.  THINK POSITIVE THOUGHTS!  You are not dying with cancer....you are living with cancer.  Take care and keep you head held high.

My Exsistance is My HOPE! Dx 9/30/2005, IDC, 5cm, Stage IV, 18/22 nodes, mets, HER2+
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Feb 12, 2010 11:28PM Mazy1959 wrote:

Lemon, Just checking on you. I know how hard it is at first and it really helped me alot when people I have never met cared for me. Hugs...Mazy

Bone marrow mets in 90% of bone marrow. Dx 3/6/2003, ILC, 3cm, Stage IIB, Grade 2, 2/9 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 12/19/2006, ILC, 4cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2- Dx 4/25/2012, ILC, Stage IV, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 8/4/2012, ILC, Stage IV, Grade 2, 0/0 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Chemotherapy 08/09/2012 Abraxane (chemical name: albumin-bound or nab-paclitaxel)
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Feb 13, 2010 09:36AM LC815 wrote:

I want to thank you soft-tissue ladies for weighing in with HOPE for us all.  A lot of time, when one of us posts about our diagnosis, the answer is, "Thank goodness it's only in the bones."  I have liver mets, some weird spots on lungs that onc says aren't mets, but who knows, and another "lump" in the cul-de-sac between vagina and rectum.  I'm on Taxol and Avastin right now and plan to kick the liver mets to the curb.

Peace to us all,

Linda

Original Diagnosis 5/04, 2.5 cm. Stage IIB, 2/14 nodes. 9/09 local recurrance and liver mets. Have checked off the following: Arimidex, Tamoxifen, Taxol, Faslodex, Carbo. Now getting beaten up by Gemzar with a Neulasta chaser. Dx 9/9/2009, IDC, <1cm, Stage IV, 0/0 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Feb 19, 2010 11:41PM Fidelia wrote:

Hi lemongrove,

I wonder if your doctor was giving you the stats for the possible length of time Femara can work. 2-3 years is the average - but some women have had the full 8 years that it has been available - so 2-3 of ONE treatment and how many more years on OTHER treatments. As so many of the ladies have experienced - treatments do work and they work well and sometimes for a very long time. It is extremely hard to live with the knowledge that your life is held at the caprice of a drug or a set of drugs BUT those drugs are there and - they work. Many of us are still around after > 5 or 10 years- each living a harder life than those who get to live without constantly thinking about the BIG questions of life and death - but who still manage to worry about a lot of other things...bottom line - people with stage IV BC have more options than most any other group of cancer patients with metastatic disease. We need to be tough, resolute AND informed. As RobinWendy has indicated and as many of the people here who routinely provide the latest research on the clinical trials thread have found - this particular disease is getting attention and there are results. Also, for many of us, better nutrition, exercise, natural supplements - they all help and we live long enough to try them. There are also many of us who do succumb - but we all die of something eventually - the challenge is to make that eventually a long time off by keeping yourself as strong and as healthy as you can - femara and zometa is the combination for a woman with your presentation and if you respond - you can look forward to many more years...and if you do not respond to that - there are other hormonals preps AND chemos - several of them....there is more than hope now - there are treatments and there is this wondeful site - visit often in the coming years :)

Fidelia

Dx 12/1/1997, DCIS, 2cm, Stage IV, 0/5 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-

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