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How Long Can You Live Stage 4 Breast Cancer

Are All Stage 4 Cancer Cases Terminal

Stage 4 Breast Cancer — Memorial Breast Cancer Center

My Father in law has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer in Lungs, Liver & bone marrow.

He is under initial diagnosis & the consulatnt has told us he can survive for a maximum of 6 months without any treatment. they’re suggesting him to under go chemotherapy so that the pain can be minised and he can prolong his life.;

just want a realistic prognosis as i want to know as much as possible to be able to prepare as best as i can, my wife doesn’t want to know the detail and is pregnant now, she just keeps asking for confirmation and reassurance that her father will be cured. we are positive and only have discussions that focus on what we will do when he’s feelling better.

I have tried to talk to the consultant and specialist nurse but both sort of make me feel like i am being negative but just mentioning prognosis.

need to understand what our options are and how we can proceed further. if you have any information regarding this;please let me know.

Hi bharanink

Hi bharanink

No not all stage 4 cancers are terminal but the % chances of surviving for five years is very low.;

The consultant can only give you an estimation of how long he will live without treatment and this is usually based on how fast and far the cancer has spread.; His reaction to chemo will also depend on various factors including his present health condition.; Many people have had treatment and are surviving others unfortunatly do not there is no guarantee.

Best wishes. River

Hi there,;

Palliative And Supportive Care

Palliative and supportive care focuses on symptom control and support. Its an extremely important part of the care and treatment for many people with secondary breast cancer and can significantly improve quality of life for them and their families.;;

People often think of palliative care as being associated with end-of-life treatment. However, many people value having it at any stage of their illness, alongside their medical treatment, to help prevent and relieve symptoms such as pain or fatigue. It can also help with the emotional, social and spiritual effects of secondary breast cancer.

You can be referred by your specialist team, GP or breast care nurse depending on your situation. Some people may be able to refer themselves.

What Is Stage 3 Breast Cancer

Also known as locally advanced breast cancer, the tumor in this stage of breast cancer is more than 2 inches in diameter across and the cancer is extensive in the underarm lymph nodes or has spread to other lymph nodes or tissues near the breast. Stage 3 breast cancer is a more advanced form of invasive breast cancer. At this stage, the cancer cells have usually not spread to more distant sites in the body, but they are present in several axillary lymph nodes. The tumor may also be quite large at this stage, possibly extending to the chest wall or the skin of the breast.

Stage 3 breast cancer is divided into three categories:

Stage 3A: One of the following is true:

  • No tumor is found in the breast, but cancer is present in axillary lymph nodes that are attached to either other or other structures, or cancer may be found in the lymph nodes near the breast bone, or
  • The tumor is 2 cm or smaller. Cancer has spread to axillary lymph nodes that are attached to each other or other structures, or cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone, or
  • The tumor is 2 cm to 4 cm in size. Cancer has spread to axillary lymph nodes that are attached to each other or to other structures, or cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breast bone, or
  • The tumor is larger than 5 cm. Cancer has spread to axillary lymph nodes that may be attached to each other or to other structures, or cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone.

Stage 3C:

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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.

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Stage 4 Breast Cancer Life Expectancy

Stage 4 Breast Cancer

Stage four of any type of cancer implies that the cancer has moved to other parts of the body and is not limited to the body part that was initially diagnosed. The cancer will have moved to the brain, lungs, liver and even the bones. Stage 4 breast cancer has usually been regarded as incurable. But recent advancements in research and medical science have resulted in the disease being treated as a chronic condition. This means more and more women are able to live longer lives when they are given better care and support and have high levels of personal motivation. When the cancer responds to the treatments, it allows its sufferers to live several years longer than expected.

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Survival Rate With Metastatic Breast Cancer

Many people wonder about the life expectancy for stage 4 breast cancer . It’s important to note that everyone is different and survival rates vary widely. There are some people who survive many years and even decades with stage 4 disease. At the same time, it’s important to understand that stage 4 breast cancer isn’t curable.

It can be helpful to look at current statistics and consider the many variables that affect life expectancy. While it’s important not to raise false hope, it may help to know the reality that there are some long-term survivors.

Some people want to know the statistics, but many don’t. If you’re living with stage 4 breast cancer, there is absolutely no requirement that you know the prognosis. The information provided here is only for those who truly wish to know what the current research iseven this research has many limitations.

Coping With Advanced Breast Cancer

Being told that you have advanced or metastatic breast cancer may be very confronting or overwhelming. Some women also find the news that their cancer has spread or come back is more devastating than their original diagnosis.

There are many resources available online to help you further understand the meaning of your diagnosis and how to manage the emotional, physical and practical issues arising from metastatic breast cancer. Below are some links where these resources can be accessed:

Connecting and speaking with others who have gone through a similar experience can also be helpful. Cancer Council runs support groups all across Australia which can provide support and information for people with cancer and their families. Groups in each state can be accessed here:

Although support groups can provide a safe place for people to express their feelings amongst others who share a similar experience, some people are more comfortable talking one-on-one, such as with a counsellor, therapist or trained volunteer . Your GP can also refer you to a psychologist, social worker or other trained therapist. Every person is different and it is important to find a healthy support system that works for you.

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Meeting The Challenges Of Stage Iv

  • To understand your situation, you may want to get a;second opinion. Many people find that it helps to get an opinion from another oncologist, and many doctors encourage it.
  • Your doctor can help you cope with cancer symptoms and treatment side effects. For example, if you have pain, your treatment might include surgery to remove a tumor in a painful area. Your doctor might also prescribe pain medication or anti-nausea medication

How Is Metastatic Breast Cancer Diagnosed

Stage 3 Breast Cancer Definition

If you have symptoms of metastatic breast cancer, your provider may recommend tests including:

  • Blood tests, including complete blood count and comprehensive metabolic panel.
  • Imaging studies, including MRI, CT, bone scan and PET.
  • Bronchoscopy, which uses a scope to look inside your lungs this can be done if there is a concerning spot in the lungs.
  • Biopsy to remove tissue from a suspicious area and analyze it.
  • A tap to remove fluid from an area with symptoms. For example, pleural tap removes fluid from the lung area. Spinal tap removes fluid from the spinal cord area.

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Treatment For Physical Symptoms

Several medications can help relieve pain. The American Cancer Society urge that a person should not have to endure pain in the final months and days of life.

Many people find relief with opioid medications, but these can cause side effects such as fatigue and constipation. A person may use opioids in combination with other pain relief medications, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Other drugs, such as antidepressants and antiseizure medications, can also treat certain types of pain.

Doctors can also prescribe medications for nausea and vomiting. Some drugs for treating nausea can make a person drowsy. However, these drugs may help people eat and drink more or simply make it easier for them to function and interact with other people.

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What Is Stage 2 Breast Cancer

Also known as invasive breast cancer, the tumor in this stage measures between 2 cm to 5 cm, or the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm on the same side as the breast cancer. Stage 2 breast cancer indicates a slightly more advanced form of the disease. At this stage, the cancer cells have spread beyond the original location and into the surrounding breast tissue, and the tumor is larger than in stage 1 disease. However, stage 2 means the cancer has not spread to a distant part of the body.

At stage 2, a tumor may be detected during a breast self-exam as a hard lump within the breast. Breast self-exams and routine screening are always important and can often lead to early diagnosis, when the cancer is most treatable.

Stage 2 breast cancer is divided into two categories:

Stage 2A: One of the following is true:

  • There is no tumor within the breast, but cancer has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, or
  • The tumor in the breast is 2 cm or smaller and cancer has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, or
  • The tumor in the breast measures 2 cm to 5 cm but cancer has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes.

Stage 2B: One of the following is true:

  • The tumor measures 2 cm to 5 cm and cancer has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, or
  • The tumor is larger than 5 cm but cancer has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes.

At stage 2, TNM designations help describe the extent of the disease. Most commonly, stage 2 breast cancer is described as:

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Research Advances And A Personalized Approach Helped One Michigan Woman Flip The Script On Stage 4 Breast Cancer

When Heather Jose was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, she set a goal: Live to see her 14-month-old daughter go to kindergarten.

That day came and went long ago; in fact, she recently saw daughter Sydney off to her sophomore year of college.

A cancer survivor for nearly 19 years, Jose wants people to know that living with advanced cancer is possible, and more women will have the chance as treatment options expand.

Jose was only 26 when she received her diagnosis in 1998 in the Grand Rapids, Michigan, area. Her breast cancer had spread into her bones. A surgeon was grim about stage 4 treatment success statistics: He told her to get her affairs in order.

She made an appointment at the University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center for another opinion.

Dr. Merajver called me the next afternoon. The conversation was completely different, Jose says. She talked to me for a very long time about my life, my husband and my daughter. At the end, she told me to drink green tea and eat vegetables, and wed start killing cancer on Monday.

The Challenges Of Living With Cancer

Surviving Stage 4 Breast Cancer: Is It Possible?

Living with stage IV cancer is challenging. The challenges are different for everyone, but they can include:

  • Feeling upset that the cancer came back. You might feel hopeless, angry, sad, or like no one understands what you are going through, even family.
  • Worrying that treatment will not help and the cancer will get worse.
  • Dealing with tests, doctors appointments, and decisions.
  • Talking with family and friends about the cancer.
  • Needing help with daily activities if you feel exhausted or have side effects from treatment.
  • Finding emotional and spiritual support.
  • Coping with the cost of more treatment. Even if you have insurance, it might not cover everything..

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What Is Stage Iv Breast Cancer

Stage IV is the most advanced stage of breast cancer. It has spread to nearby lymph nodes and to distant parts of the body beyond the breast. This means it;possibly involves;your organs such as the lungs, liver, or brain or your bones.

Breast cancer may be stage IV when it is first diagnosed, or it can be a recurrence of a previous breast cancer that has spread.;

What Is The Treatment For Metastatic Breast Cancer

Treatments include many of the same treatments as other stages of breast cancer:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Hormone therapy;; For patients diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer that is hormone receptor positive, hormonal therapy may be the first line of defense against the disease. As long as the drugs are keeping the cancer from progressing, the patient may be kept on the medication for some time. If scans show the progression of the cancer, the medical oncologist may switch to another form of hormonal therapy or possibly stop this therapy and pursue a different line of systemic treatment, such as chemotherapy or biologic targeted therapy.
  • Biologic targeted therapy
  • Breast surgery It is controversial whether surgery should be done on the breast in the presence of known metastatic disease. In most cases, however, the knowledge of metastasis is discovered after the breast cancer surgery and other treatment has been performed. The cancer returns as a distant recurrence.

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From Cured To Stage 4

Others, like Teri Pollastro, a 54-year-old stage 4 patient from Seattle, respond surprisingly well.

Diagnosed with early stage ductal carcinoma in situ in 1999, Pollastro underwent a mastectomy but did not receive chemotherapy, radiation or tamoxifen, since her cancer was ER negative.

âThey used the C-word with me, they told me I was cured,â she said. âEvery time I went back to my oncologist, he would roll his eyes at me when I had questions.â

In 2003, Pollastro switched to Seattle Cancer Care Alliance where she saw Dr. Julie Gralow, a breast cancer oncologist and clinical researcher at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Gralow discovered Pollastroâs cancer had metastasized to her liver.

âMy husband and I were in shock,â said Pollastro of her mets diagnosis. âYou donât go from being cured to stage 4.â

Pollastro went on Herceptin, a type of immunotherapy for women with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer, and did six months of chemotherapy.

âI felt better right away with the treatment,â she said. âBut the problem is, it stopped . Thatâs what you can expect with mets. And thereâs always some residual cancer. And that starts percolating.â

And along with mets, she also had to deal with many misconceptions regarding her disease.

The Mercer Island, Washington, mother of two, who often counsels newly diagnosed patients, sometimes even found it difficult to relate to early stage breast cancer survivors.

When Can Metastatic Breast Cancer Occur

Stage 4 Breast Cancer: Is It a Death Sentence?

Most often, metastatic breast cancer arises months or years after a person has completed treatment for early or locally advanced breast cancer. This is sometimes called a distant recurrence.

Some people have metastatic breast cancer when they are first diagnosed . This is called de novo metastatic breast cancer.

Komen Perspectives

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Many Women Live For Decades With Metastatic Breast Cancer

A stage 4 diagnosis is not an instant death sentence, says Renee Sendelbach, 40, from Austin, Texas, who was diagnosed seven years ago, when she learned that her breast cancer had moved into her lungs, bones, and lymph nodes.

Ive had metastatic breast cancer for five years and Im still kicking, says Susan Rosen, 53, from Franklin, Massachusetts.

According to a 2017 article in the journal;Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 34 percent of women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer have been living with the disease for five years or longer.

The goal of treatment is to keep patients on their feet as long as possible so that they can continue to do what they want to do, says;Gretchen Kimmick, MD, associate professor of medicine at the Duke Cancer Institute in Durham, North Carolina.

In recent years, treatment for breast cancer has vastly improved, largely because doctors are able to more accurately target therapy to the type of breast cancer a woman has. The discovery of the HER2 protein and medicines that block it has revolutionized treatment for women with cancers that overexpress this protein, Dr. Kimmick says. This cancer was pretty deadly two decades ago, and now we are starting to debate if weve cured it in some women.

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