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Oct 19, 2019 01:30PM
bird - you look cute in that pic - or at least as cute as possible considering the circumstances...
On the subject of finding mets as soon as possible, and the methods to do so, there is no universal methodology. For some, tumor markers such as CA15-3, CA27/29, CEA, etc. are reliable for early signs of mets. For others, they can have extensive mets and normal markers, so the science is not there for all of us to count on these particular markers for proof. Hopefully the newer CTC (circulating tumor cell) markers will be more accurate and available soon. Whether or not oncologists use the existing markers, and on which patients, is indicative of their particular philosophy and experience. I do get regular markers drawn, and have been sensitive to them in terms of registering change when inflammation has happened. Whether or not this would hold true if I had mets is currently unknown - so these markers could display a false negative, and have already shown a false positive for me as an individual. As far as finding mets early, I tend not subscribe to the idea that it does not matter when you find them - outcome is the same. The treatment guidelines predicated this concept are based on old studies that pre-date a significant number of treatments that have become available, and also studies that look at how mets occur and when that happens have been done more recently. This information may lead to a better understanding of how and when to look for mets. The very fact that some stage IV patients are living a lot longer than ever before is proof enough to me that the benefits of early detection doesn't just apply to early stage breast cancer. Some think that reducing the tumor burden surgically or with radiation at the outset and then treating systemically with chemo and/or anti-hormonals will extend the length of time to remain alive - I have seen it for myself. Others think that reducing the tumor burden can actually accelerate the aggressiveness, and starting off with aggressive treatment causes you to run out of effective treatment options sooner - and they are also correct. Therein lies the conundrum. My personal, and totally anecdotal, viewpoint - I have two friends who treated aggressively out of the gate with surgery and chemo - one stage IV de novo, while the other had "progression" several years later but our shared oncologist thinks she actually had undiscovered mets at the time of diagnosis. Both are doing well and are working, traveling, and living life and it has been almost 8 years for one, 9 for the other. My dad and brother were both diagnosed with stage IV de novo cancers of differing kinds - my 82 year old dad did two separate rounds of chemo - six months apart - and he lived six times longer than my 55 year old brother who did no treatment at all. Unfortunately, how to pursue information about progression for early stagers, and what to do with that info when you have it, is a complex issue.
BMX w/ TE 11/1/10, ALND 12/6/10. 15 additional surgeries. TCHx6 2/17-6/2/11. Herceptin until 1/19/12. Femara 8/1/11, Arimidex 6/20/12, back to Femara 6/18/13-present.
9/27/2010, IDC, Right, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 2/14 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ (IHC)
9/27/2010, DCIS, Stage 0, Grade 3