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How Long Can Someone Live With Breast Cancer Without Treatment

How Long Do People Live With Secondary Breast Cancer

New Treatment Helps Women Live Longer with Breast Cancer | UCLA Health Newsroom

One of the first things many people with secondary breast cancer want to know is how long theyve got to live.

Life expectancy is difficult to predict as each persons case is different and no two cancers progress in the same way. However, as treatments have improved, more and more people are living longer after a diagnosis of secondary breast cancer.

Your specialist will have an understanding of the likely progression of your secondary breast cancer and can talk to you about what you might expect. You may worry if their answers are vague but it isnt possible to accurately predict how each persons cancer will respond to treatment.

Treatment Of Stage Iii Breast Cancers

Sometimes large breast cancers invade into muscles or attach to major arteries, veins or nerve trunks, which makes them impossible to surgically remove completely.

So, for these patients, the treatment usually starts with radiation or chemo to try to shrink it first, before surgery. But even a large tumor that has not attached itself onto muscle can, sometimes, be completely removed. There is no direct relationship between tumor size and whether or not it may be treated surgically or not.

Obviously, Stage 3 breast cancers that surgeons can completely remove do tend to have a significantly better prognosis than inoperable stage 3 breast cancers. However, some breast tumors, particularly those that are ER-positive, respond very well to chemotherapy. So well, in fact, that they actually downstage.

So, it is difficult to predict the overall prognosis for stage 3 breast cancer, as it will vary from individual to individual. If the response to chemotherapy is favorable, the overall survival rate is around 72%.

Surviving Stage 4 Breast Cancer: Is It Possible

Understanding survival rates of stage 4 breast cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute , an estimated 27 percent of people in the United States live at least 5 years after being diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer.

Many factors can affect your longevity and quality of life. Different subtypes of breast cancer behave differently. Some are more aggressive than others, and some have far fewer treatment options than others. For this reason, your subtype may affect your outlook.

Higher survival rates are also associated with the extent and location of metastasis. In other words, your long-term outlook may be better if your cancer has only spread to your bones than if its found in your bones and lungs.

Immediately seeking treatment, like chemotherapy, surgery, or hormone therapy, can help improve your outlook. Making healthy lifestyle choices might also improve your chances of survival.

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What Is A 5

A relative survival rate compares women with the same type and stage of breast cancer to women in the overall population.For example, if the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific stage of breast cancer is 90%, it means that women who have that cancer are, on average, about 90% as likely as women who dont have that cancer to live for at least 5 years after being diagnosed.

Dilemmas Of Stage Iv Breast Cancer

How long can you live with mouth cancer without treatment ...

Indeed, there are many serious and personal questions involving stage IV breast cancer. So, overall survival is less likely, and gains from intensive breast cancer treatment are unfortunately rather modest. A serious consideration is, therefore, quality of life during the course of treatment.

These decisions tend to be a dynamic process, based on individual cases, between patients and physicians. Respect needs to be given to the expectations for treatment, the status of the disease and the patient wishes.

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Probability Of Cancer Progression

How long the remission period can last is one of the most frequently asked questions by patients with stage 4 breast cancer. The answer to this question depends on a number of factors that come in.

First, tumors may have a different tendency to grow. Slowly growing tumors mean longer remission and longer life expectancy. Second, age is important. In young patients, cancer tends to be more aggressive and resistant to treatment. Third, the localization of metastases plays an important role. Metastasis to bone or lymphatic tissue is a more prognostic option for treatment than lung, liver, and especially brain damage.

Another very important factor is the tumors responsiveness to the therapy. In women with hormone-positive breast cancer, in which the tumor reacts well to hormone therapy, life expectancy can be 10-15 years, even taking into account the 4th stage of the disease. For comparison, the life expectancy of patients with metastatic triple-negative breast cancer is only one year.

Clinical Trials Are A Promising Treatment Option

For people with advanced stages of cancer, clinical trials can be considered the gold standard of treatment. I recommend clinical trials highly, says Rosen. You get access to medication and treatment that you normally wouldnt have.

A clinical trial could even have positive results on your cancer. We are living in an exciting time for cancer treatment, says Kimmick. There are myriad new drugs coming out that will improve the lives of all women with breast cancer, both metastatic and early stage.

However, its important to be realistic about the potential outcome of your trial. Rosen was recently enrolled in a clinical trial in which the medication proved toxic for her. But she has no regrets about participating. It feels like Im helping researchers who are working on cures for cancer, she says. When I had a bad reaction to the drug, they were able to put my side effects in their study. I feel like I did help, and that makes me happy.

People interested in joining a clinical trial for treatment should talk to their doctor about options that might be good for them.

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Treatment Of Stage 4 Liver Cancer

Treatment of the Liver Cancer Stage 4 depends upon the age, health and the complexities of the patient. Surgery is the most effective treatment for Stage 4 Liver Cancer. However, considering the size, and the position of the tumour, operation is not always possible. However, Radiofrequency Ablation is an option for treatment. The hepatic artery is blocked in the procedure so that cancerous cell cannot take nutrition from it due to blockage. After that chemotherapy or drugs are used on the blockage. However, the success of the treatment at this stage is very less. The Liver Transplantation is another option for the Stage 4 however, the success rate is very less again. If the tumour is small enough and has not spread outside the liver then, the liver transplantation can be considered very helpful treatment. Treatment from early stages may show betterment in the condition.

Lung Cancer Stages And Prognosis

Breast Cancer: Alternative treatment without surgery

Lung cancer stages are as under:

Stage I: The cancer is located only in the lungs and has not spread to any lymph nodes.Stage II: The cancer is in the lung and nearby lymph nodes.Stage III: Cancer is found in the lung and in the lymph nodes in the middle of the chest, also described as locally advanced disease. Stage III has two subtypes:

If the cancer has spread only to lymph nodes on the same side of the chest where the cancer started, it is called stage IIIA. If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes on the opposite side of the chest, or above the collar bone, it is called stage IIIB.

Stage IV: This is the most advanced stage of lung cancer, and is also described as advanced disease. This is when the cancer has spread to both lungs, to fluid in the area around the lungs, or to another part of the body, such as the liver or other organs.

The prognosis for lung cancer is an estimate based on the course of the disease taken from studying hundreds or thousands of people who have been diagnosed.

Survival rate is the percentage of people with a type and stage of cancer who survive a specific period of time after diagnosis. It is a common way in which prognosis is discussed. In cancer, five year survival rates are often used. While statistics can tell us many things about prognosis and survival, it is not possible to predict how long someone in treatment for the disease will live.

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Can Cancer Go Away By Itself

Of course, cancers do not routinely go away, and no one is suggesting that patients avoid treatment because of such occasional occurrences. Biologically, it is a rare phenomenon to have an advanced cancer go into remission, said Dr.

What Caregivers Can Do

  • Help the patient turn and change positions every 1 to 2 hours. It’s best to time any position changes to be about 30 minutes after pain medicine is given.
  • Speak in a calm, quiet voice and avoid sudden noises or movements to reduce the chances of startling the patient.
  • If the patient has trouble swallowing pain pills, ask about getting liquid pain medicines or a pain patch.
  • If the patient is having trouble swallowing, do not give them solid foods. Try ice chips or sips of liquid.
  • Do not force fluids. Near the end of life, some dehydration is normal.
  • Apply cool, moist washcloths to head, face, and body for comfort.

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My Mom Has End Stages Liver Cancer

I hate to ask but I’m so worried and I don’t know what’s going to happen next.

My mom is 55 her tummy is swollen really big, she is always tired and sleeps a lot.

Today I noticed she is very yellow and so are her eyes.

What happens next?

Does the severe jaundice mean death is near?

Is it a horrible death?

I’m so scared.

What Treatments May I Be Offered

No Chemotherapy: Latest in Breast Cancer Treatment

Treatment for secondary breast cancer in the lung aims to relieve symptoms and slow down the growth of the cancer.

Treatments can be given on their own or in combination.

When making decisions about how best to treat you, your treatment team will consider factors such as:

  • How extensive the cancer is within the lung
  • Whether the cancer has spread to other organs
  • Any symptoms you have
  • What treatment youve had in the past
  • The features of the cancer
  • Whether youve been through the menopause
  • Your general health

Your specialist should discuss any recommendations for treatment with you and take into account your wishes. They will talk with you about your options, explain what the aim of your treatment will be and help you weigh up the potential benefits against the possible side effects you may have.

You may also be referred to the respiratory team, which specialises in treating people with breathing difficulties. They can help plan your treatment or manage your symptoms. Your care will continue under your usual breast oncologist, but with involvement or advice from the other team.

Hormone therapy is used to treat breast cancers that are oestrogen receptor positive.

If you had a biopsy or surgery for primary breast cancer, the tissue removed will have been tested to see if it is ER+. However, in some people the oestrogen receptors change during the development of secondary breast cancer. Because of this, your doctor may discuss having a biopsy to retest for hormone receptors.

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Clinical Data And Tumor Characteristics

The surgeon identifying the cases and constructing the database also collected data regarding date of diagnosis, menopausal status, height, weight, parity, laterality, tumor location, and distant metastases through medical records and the Swedish Cancer Registry. Information concerning tumor size, histological type, and ALNI was retrieved from histopathological examinations. Tumor type was classified using a modification of the World Health Organization classification as proposed by Linell et al. . ALNI was divided into positive, negative, or unknown if no axillary dissection had been performed.

A Disease No One Gets

Sadly, people donât âgetâ mets. In fact, a recent survey sponsored by Pfizer Oncology shows just how misunderstood it is. Sixty percent of the 2,000 people surveyed knew little to nothing about MBC while 72 percent believed advanced breast cancer was curable as long as it was diagnosed early. Even more disheartening, a full 50 percent thought breast cancer progressed because patients either didnât take the right treatment or the right preventive measures.

âTheyâve built an industry built on four words â early detection equals cure â and that doesnât even begin to define breast cancer,â said Schoger, who helped found Breast Cancer Social Media, a virtual community for breast cancer patients, caregivers, surgeons, oncologists and others. âWomen are blamed for the fate of bad biology.â

The MBC Alliance, a consortium of 29 cancer organizations including the biggest names in breast cancer , addressed this lack of understanding and support as well as what many patient advocates term the underfunding of MBC research in a recently published landmark report.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Breast Cancer Recurrence

You may experience different signs of breast cancer recurrence depending on where the cancer forms.

Local breast cancer recurrence may cause:

  • Breast lump or bumps on or under the chest.
  • Nipple changes, such as flattening or nipple discharge.
  • Swollen skin or skin that pulls near the lumpectomy site.
  • Thickening on or near the surgical scar.
  • Unusually firm breast tissue.
  • Biopsy of the site of suspected recurrence.

Where Does Breast Cancer Spread To

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Breast cancer cells seem to prefer to settle into:-

  • long bones in the arms and legs
  • ribs
  • skull

With an osteolytic metastasis, the cancer kind of eats away at the bone, creating holes.

With an osteoblastic bone metastasis, the bone mineral density actually increases, but this can cause the bones to fracture more easily. This requires a little more explanation. Breast cancer metastases tend to be lytic when they are untreated, and then they become densely sclerotic as they respond to treatment.

Even if no treatment is given yet, an osteoblastic metastasis from breast cancer generally indicates that the persons own body is trying to fight cancer with some success.

A CT scan may also be used to check for metastasis to the lungs or liver. A CT scan is essentially an X-ray linked to a computer. The breast cancer doctor injects a contrast dye agent into the bloodstream and this makes any cancer cells in the liver and chest easier to see.

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What Is The Chance I Could Die In The Next 5 Years

The average 5-year survival rate for all people with breast cancer is 89%. The 10-year rate is 83%, and the 15-year rate is 78%. If the cancer is located only in the breast , the 5-year survival rate is 99%. More than 70% of breast cancers are diagnosed at an Early Stage.

All survival statistics are primarily based on the stage of breast cancer when diagnosed. Some of the other important factors are also listed below that affect survival.

Stage 0 breast cancer can be also described as a pre-cancer. If you have DCIS you can be quite confident you will do well. DCIS does not spread to other organs. What can be concerning is when an invasive cancer grows back in the area of a prior lumpectomy for DCIS. This type of local recurrence does carry a risk to your life. Luckily, this does not happen frequently. Also, be aware that those who have had DCIS in the past are at a higher risk for developing an entirely new, invasive breast cancer. Take our video lesson on Non-Invasive DCIS to learn more.

Stage I invasive breast cancer has an excellent survival rate. The chance of dying of Stage I breast cancer within five years of diagnosis is 1 to 5% if you pursue recommended treatments.

Stage II breast cancer is also considered an early stage of breast cancer. There is a slightly increased risk to your life versus a Stage I breast cancer. Altogether, the risk of Stage II breast cancer threatening your life in the next 5 years is about 15%.

Triple Negative Breast Cancer

With this type of breast cancer, the breast cancer cells dont have ER+ or PR+ receptors. They dont overproduce the HER2 protein, so hormone therapy isnt very effective.

Instead, triple negative stage 4 breast cancer is usually treated with chemotherapy. Radiation therapy may also be an option, depending on the site of metastasis.

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The Stages Of Breast Cancer

NOTE: Although a lot of this information is still valid, The American Joint Committee on Cancer has recently updated their classifications for staging breast tumors.

We will be updating all our articles on staging in the near future. In the meantime, please click HERE for a brief summary of the major changes in January 2018.

If a breast biopsy confirms that breast cancer is indeed the diagnosis, the staging process begins.

The stages of breast cancer are really the extent of breast cancer. So, in order to choose and begin the best treatment, it is necessary to stage breast cancer. The staging process shows the progression of breast cancer.

Breast cancer progresses in relatively predictable and consistent ways, so it is possible to categorize breast cancer in terms of stages.

There are basically five stages of breast cancer, with some subcategories .

What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider

Surviving Stage 4 Breast Cancer: Is It Possible?

You may want to ask your provider:

  • What type of breast cancer recurrence do I have?
  • Has the cancer spread outside the breast?
  • What stage is the breast cancer?
  • What is the best treatment for this type of breast cancer?
  • What are the treatment risks and side effects?
  • Should I look out for signs of complications?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Most breast cancer recurrences respond well to treatments. You may be able to try new drugs or combination therapies in development in clinical trials. Your healthcare provider can discuss the best treatment option based on your unique situation.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/24/2021.

References

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