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All TopicsForum: Stage IV and Metastatic Breast Cancer ONLY → Topic: what is the survival rate of stage 4 metastatic breast cancer

Topic: what is the survival rate of stage 4 metastatic breast cancer

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. There is a separate forum For Family and Caregivers of People with a STAGE IV Diagnosis.

Posted on: Mar 13, 2010 02:59AM

vinkari wrote:

Hi my Mom is having metastatic breast cancer which has spread to lungs and vertebra .This cancer came back within 8months of diagnosis .Second time it popped up in the same place of breast and also she had to undergo a surgery after which dr advised for a bone scan and pet scan and which showed that there were metastatics near the vertebra and also near the lymph nodes of lungs and so dr adviced for a 6 cycles of chemotheraphy with toxal ..and dr has declared that it is stage 4 ..i am so afraid and dont know wat to do so want to know what can be the survival rate of this type of patients

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Mar 13, 2010 06:39AM Cathy-CA wrote:

I am sorry about your mother and think it is wonderful that you are there to help her.  Each person is an individual, so statistics won't tell you what you really want to know which is how long will my mother survive.  It's really a 100% or 0% at the individual level.  I will caution you that all statistics are a bit old, so don't take into account some of the newer treatments. Some women live many, many years and some -- unfortunately -- have less time.  It's impossible to know where in that spectrum your mother will land.

If you aren't already and are able to do so, go to the oncology appointments with your mother so you can hear what the doctor is telling her and ask questions.

Dx 10/24/2007, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, mets, ER-/PR-, HER2-
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Mar 13, 2010 07:48AM JeninMichigan wrote:

I too am sorry to hear about your mom's second diagnosis.    Please try not to focus on statistics and survival rates.    My oncologist would absolutely not quote statistics.  She reminded me that breast cancer is made up of so many variations it is like 15 diseases in itself.  Comparing HER+ with ER+ can be like comparing heart disease to diabetis.  The published statistics are a combination of everything that falls under breast cancer.   And they are not current.  The treatments are advanced quicker than they can keep up with statistics.  So, my advise is not to go there.   Make sure you are and your mom are confident in your oncologist and cancer center.  make sure you understand the drugs and their side effects.   Stage IV is being seen more and more like a chronic disease and it is treatable.  No there is no cure but in my mind even the early stages of this cancer there is no cure.  The fear of it returning is forever there.   


Dx 2/22/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 4/9 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2+
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Mar 13, 2010 07:58AM heatherpalmerton wrote:

So sorry you and your mother are having to go through this but you have come to a very good place. There is a wealth of knowledge on these boards. So many wonderful Women and Men. Just remember there are so many treatments out there for stage 4 breast cancer and many more on the horizon. Jennifer stated it so well. keep asking questions "knowledge is power" Heather

HEATHER PALMERTON Dx 1/18/2008, IDC, 2cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 13, 2010 09:17AM - edited Mar 13, 2010 09:21AM by vinkari

thanks for ur replies ..they are improving my confidence..i was going through some natural diets ...which can prevent cancer from reoccurence ..like bitter mealon extract,pomogranate ,wheat grass powder ..Dr said that she can eat anything what she want.But i want to restrict her diet to complete raw food ...so that after chemotheraphy ..we can make sure that it wont return,...so my  question here is if any one tried natural food and did they survive more ?,,,can these extracts make a difference in killing cancer cells...bcoz as i read this on many science magazines..that bitter mealon is able to reduce sugar and reduce reoccurence of cancer cells and also act as natural chemo...does any one have any partcial information about this ..please do share the diet that the diet that need to be followed by a person who is suffering from stage 4th breast cancer

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Mar 13, 2010 09:44AM Iza wrote:

Hello, Vinkari,

Unfortunately, cancer in general, and stage IV breast cancer in particular, is not a disease that can be cured through diet. If taking a particular food, or staying away from other foods, really made a difference in survival, all of the women on these boards would be embracing that strategy. Of course, it makes sense for everyone (cancer or not) to follow a healthy diet of natural foods that are not highly processed, as part of a healthy lifestyle (limited exposure to chemicals, lots of fresh air, physical activity, good sleep, low stress levels). Some raw foods are wonderful, but many others are best digested and assimilated cooked. The truth is that, as long as you eat sensibly, what you eat is neither going to kill you nor is it going to keep you alive.

A substantial diet change is not going to cure your mother, and it can certainly make her life more miserable, so I wouldn't go there. I would try to steer her toward natural foods, but I would not suggest cutting off any food group, such as sugars. Sugar, particularly refined ones, are not a very healthy food and should be taken in moderation, but, for someone who is used to them, giving them up can be hard. Let your mother have her sweets (in moderation) if this makes her happy. This will give her quality of life and, again, frankly, it is not going to make a difference in how long she lives. 

Iza O.
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Mar 13, 2010 10:02AM vinkari wrote:

thanks for the reply lza ..i understand but i am very upset bcoz of all this and so i was trying to see few journals..which stated that in the recent test it was proven that bitter mealon especailly was able to kill cancer cellls...well if u want to see that site i can give u that info please look into that ...cancerres.aacrjournals.org/con... seeing this page please let me know ur view...

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Mar 13, 2010 11:26AM RobinWendy wrote:

I doubt there is any down side to having her eat this bitter melon supplement unless your mom is allergic to melons... which I am.  It may help, it may not.  However, if a natural cure was really out there... it could not be kept under wraps.  I very much agree with Iza... don't make your mother eat such a stringent diet that she is absolutely miserable... that will only succeed in minimizing her quality of life.  Moderation is truly the key... also, if she is willing to give up certain "bad" foods, do it over time, not all at once.  If she is willing to take supplements, research them very carefully first and at least get the OK from her onc that there are no bad interactions between the supplements and any mainstream treatment she receives.

I wish both of you well.


dx Stage II primary BC in Jan. 2001;dx with DCIS on other breast in Jan. 2003; dx with mets to lungs in Jan. 2004 and in May 2007, mets spread to liver. Dx ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 13, 2010 12:05PM hannah4 wrote:

RE: IZA'S CANCER and DIET post- thank you iza for your informative post. I too am helping my mom who is stage iv mets breast to bone. she feels sugar makes her bones ache more and it sounds like there's no truth to sugar doing anything or making the cancer hurt worse though Mom has been avoiding sweets thinking this. i will pass on your post info to her. Thank you!!!! xo 

Hannah Dx 8/24/2009, Stage IV, 0/0 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2- Hormonal Therapy 9/1/2009 Femara (letrozole) Hormonal Therapy 6/1/2010
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Mar 13, 2010 02:56PM Flamegirl wrote:

The median survival rate is 18-24 months. Stage 4 simply means it has spread beyond the lymph nodes into other parts of the body, btw.

The median means that half of all patients survive longer than that and half less. Which half you're in no one can say on an individual level. Also, the range of survival is huge.. between 1 month and 10 years. Where you fall on that range is impossible to say as medical science can't distinguish between different cancers very well yet, let alone how effective current treatments will be.

However, you can say that with less time between diagnosis and recurrence, and spread to a vital organ like the lung, it's unlikely your mum will live 10 years. Only about 1-2% live that long.

Your fear is understandable. I'd advise you to focus on making your mother's time the best quality she can. There's a tradeoff between living a longer time and living a comfortable time. Some of the treatments are easier to take than others, and it's very subjective. Your mum is the best guide for how she feels.

The best thing you can do is make everything as easy as you can for her.  

Dx 7/17/2009, ILC, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 3, 8/28 nodes, mets, ER+/PR-, HER2-
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Mar 13, 2010 03:04PM AnneN wrote:

Hi, Vinkari and Hannah.

Here are two excellent books by doctors about diet and cancer:

          Life Over Cancer, by Dr. Keith Block

          Anticancer: A New Way of Life, by Dr. David Servan-Schreiber

Both of these doctors have reviewed the medical literature about which foods affect cancer treatment effectiveness. They both recommend avoiding refined sugar. Dr. Servan-Schreiber is particularly emphatic about avoiding high-fructose corn syrup (used in colas, etc.).

You can probably find one or both of these books at your public library. 

Faslodex/Zometa/complementary supplements. Mastectomy with immediate DIEP at NOLA on 12/15/10. Dx 3/20/2009, IDC, 6cm+, Stage IV, Grade 2, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 13, 2010 04:03PM mbk wrote:

be careful with all raw food we cannot digest things well...my SIL gave raw veg, etc to her sister with BC in the liver it destroyed her colon, and did nothing to prolong her life she just died in Feb

hope i am not to harsh but it was horrible


Dx 10/16/2009, ILC, 3cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, 3/9 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Mar 13, 2010 05:47PM dreamwriter wrote:

Once you are Stage 4 you are always stage 4.  There is no preventing it from coming back... there is "no evidence of disease"  which means that they cant see it.  And there is "stable"  where they are controlling the disease.  Depending on where her mets are, there may be no ability to getting to NED and stable is the best you can get.  Even if you get to No Evidence of Disease (NED) and the cancer crops up it is not considered as returning, it is considered to have been there up to now just too small to show up on any test.

Laugh until it really IS funny. Dx 12/20/2005, 6cm+, Stage IV, Grade 3, 18/18 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-

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