Kristen Hartland
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Is there hope for friend with breast cancer?

May 7th, 2011 . by admin

My best friend has breast cancer. Doctors recently told her that it has created lesions in her bones throughout her body. I’ve heard that when this happens, it’s pretty much a death sentence. Is this true?

The sort of a cancer you’re describing is known as Stage IV breast cancer and there is no known cure for this. However, in some cases it can be controlled for months or even years through hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, and palliative radiation.

Like any disease without a cure, some cancers can be controlled through various medical treatments. Certainly, there’s no reason to give your friend a “death sentence” over this. It is not our lot in life, nor her doctors’, to say when your friend will die. The best we can do is to examine the statistics and provide the more likely treatment options.

Meanwhile, like all of us, your friend should continue living her life to the fullest and making the most of each day.

7 Responses to “Is there hope for friend with breast cancer?”

  1. comment number 1 by: Lynda

    You’d need to ask doctor for prognosis. Most likely the end is near. This is a time when people help each other, I’ve learned. If she’s at home, someone should always be there in case she needs transportation or someone around the house if she needs daily assistance or needs to put her affairs in order or needs to be taken to the hospital.
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  2. comment number 2 by: Elizabeth

    where there is life there is hope, but you are right when it has spread it is a matter of time. mine has spread to my uterus and liver, i was given 3 to 4 months 6 months later i am still here, i was told because i asked i know someone whose husband knows but she doesn`t. were not doctors and don`t know the full story. is she an older family,good luck to her x
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  3. comment number 3 by: mcb930

    Breast cancer that has spread to the bone is not curable and can be quite painful to live with, but it is not an immediate death sentence now because of new treatments that are available.

    Folks in the USA might recall that John Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth, is currently living with bone metastisis from breast cancer.
    References :

  4. comment number 4 by: Spreedog

    The "level 1 tumor" makes no sense. If there is breast cancer metastatic to bones, it is a stage IV breast cancer. We do not have a cure for this, but sometimes this disease can be controlled for many months or even a few years with hormonal therapy, chemotherapy, and palliative radiation therapy.

    We do not cure diabetes or high blood pressure, but we can control these diseases for a time with medical treatments.

    There is no reason for her doctors to "give her a death sentence" -especially since we don’t know whether she will respond to simple oral hormonal agents. Is this an estrogen receptor positive or negative breast cancer? We don’t have this information, but her doctors do.

    I always say this – we doctors do not "give " people amounts of time to live. It is not for us to decide that. We can only quote statistics based on the experiences of other people in similar situation – none of which will be exactly like the person concerned. Each person is special and different, and doctors cannot predict the future of anyone perfectly. I preferred not to make these guesses, but people usually push for some kind of guess.

    Interesting question – If you had an envelope containing the information about when exactly you were going to die, would you open it – - knowing you could do nothing to change it? I would tear it up and throw it away. Most of us don’t want to give up all hope. There is hope for a good response in this situation and some good quality time.
    References :
    MD medical oncologist with 20 years experience. One of every six patients I saw were women with breast cancer – hundreds of cases – and each one was different.

  5. comment number 5 by: ~*BCA*~ FIND THE CURE!

    My mom has stage IIIa breast cancer… so I have (like I am sure you have) done TONS of research on this type of cancer… and from what I have read… once the cancer spreads to another location it is then stage 4 cancer… Stage 1 breast cancer would mean that the cancer was VERY small in size and localized only in her breast and NOT in her lymphnodes…

    If cancer goes to the lymphnodes (located under the armpit) it will allow the cancer to spread. Lymphnodes try to filter the blood. My mom had 8 lymphnodes infected w/ cancer so that means little cancer cells are traveling all through her body… the cancer looks for somewhere else to settle and grow. In your friends case it looks like they traveled through the lymphnodes and have had time to settle and grow in her bones. Now I say time because for most people it takes a couple years just for the little lump to form and then a year or two for it to get in the lymphnodes etc…

    PLEASE talk to her doctor… or to her and ask about the lymphnodes…

    A friend of mines father has bone cancer and has been living for about 8 years now. He is in some pain but they have given him some meds and it helps w/ the pain. Cancer is a long hard battle. No doctor can tell you if it is a "death sentence" Chemo makes people weak and everyone has different reactions to it. Here is a website that shows you HOW they stage breast cancer
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  6. comment number 6 by: Angus R

    Once the cancer has reached the bones it is ususally incurable, maybe they are trying chemo or radiation first..
    References :

  7. comment number 7 by: hpenlife

    Breast cancer with bone mets is liveable… my mom’s doctor told us that it is painful but it will not kill her. Your mom will have to have many scans done though to make sure it isn’t going elsewhere. As long as it stays in her bones she is good .
    References :

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