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How Long Do People With Breast Cancer Live

Cold Feet Hands Arms And Legs

How long can you expect to live with metastatic breast cancer?

The dying persons face, hands, arms, feet and legs often become very cool to touch. Their skin might also become pale and look blotchy or mottled.

This happens because there is less blood circulation to these parts of the body. Keep them warm with blankets, but dont use an electric blanket as this could become too uncomfortable.

Thick socks can help to keep their feet warm. Dont overheat the room, as this can make it stuffy. Just keep it at a comfortable temperature.

Outcomes Of Breast Cancer In Patients Who Use Alternative Therapies As Primary Treatment

This was a medical chart review by Chang et al, published in the American Journal of Surgery in 2006. It examined breast cancer patients who refused conventional chemotherapy, or delay its initiation, in order to use CAM. The authors calculated each patients prognosis at the time of diagnosis. In total, 33 women were included. The results were grim:

  • Eleven patients initially refused surgery. Ten of these patients experienced progressive disease. Five ultimately had surgery. In the six others, the cancer had already metastasized, so surgery would have offered no benefit.
  • Three patients refused to allow sampling of lymph nodes to evaluate disease spread. One of these patients developed recurrent disease in the lymph nodes.
  • Ten patients refused local control of the tumor site. Two patients developed recurrences in the same location, and two developed metastatic disease.
  • Nine patients refused chemotherapy, raising their estimated 10-year mortality from 17% to 25%

Consistent with the study above, the vast majority of breast cancer patients who refuse surgical intervention developed progressive disease. Even delaying surgery increased risks and overall mortality. Outcomes were better for patients that accepted surgery, but refused adjuvant treatments, like chemotherapy. However, even this strategy significantly raised 10-year mortality estimates.

Outlook Once Cancer Has Spread To The Bones

The research on cancer metastasis is rapidly growing. As researchers better understand the mechanisms of bone metastasis, new drugs and other treatments are being developed. These target particular processes in cells involved in how the cancer cells invade and grow in bones.

The use of nanoparticles to deliver drugs is very encouraging. These tiny particles are able to deliver drugs to the bone with minimal toxicity to the person with cancer.

Rapidly treating bone metastasis can lead to a

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Other Ways To Help Cancer Pain

With certain types of pain, doctors can do special procedures such as nerve blocks, targeted radiation treatments, or even surgical procedures to control pain. Sometimes physical therapy may help. If your pain isnt well controlled, your doctor might also refer you to an expert in pain management. The pain specialist might have some different options to help you.

Medicines and medical procedures are not the only ways to help lessen your pain. There are other things you can do. Some people find distractions like music, movies, conversation, or games help. Using heat, cold, or massage on a painful area can help. Relaxation exercises and meditation can help lessen the pain and lower anxiety for some people. Keep in mind that for most people with cancer pain these measures alone are not enough to control pain. But, they may help improve comfort when used along with pain medicines.

You can learn more in Cancer Pain.

What Are The Survival Rates For Stage 3 Breast Cancer By Stage

How Long Does Someone Live With Stage 4 Breast Cancer ...

Survival rates can be confusing. Remember that they dont reflect your individual circumstances.

The relative 5-year survival rate for stage 3 breast cancer is 86 percent, according to the American Cancer Society. This means that out of 100 people with stage 3 breast cancer, 86 will survive for 5 years.

But this figure doesnt consider breast cancer characteristics, like grade or subtype. It also doesnt distinguish between people with stage 3A, 3B, and 3C.

In comparison, the relative 5-year relative survival rate for stage 0 breast cancer is 100 percent. For stages 1 and 2, its 99 percent. For stage 4, the survival rate drops to 27 percent.

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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.

Survival Rates By Disease Extent

A second method estimates survival rates based on the extent of cancer in the body. This is the approach used by the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program. The SEER system classifies cancer in one of three broader categories:

  • Localized: Cancer limited to the lungs
  • Regional: Cancer that has spread to nearby lymph nodes or structures
  • Distant: Metastatic cancer

Under the SEER classification system, distant disease and stage 4 cancer are synonymous.

The one drawback to the SEER approach is that stage 4a and 4b lung cancer are melded into one category. This generalized approach not only returns a much lower five-year survival estimate but fails to reflect the wide variability in stage 4 survival rates, particularly in people with limited metastases.

SEER Stage at Diagnosis

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Understanding What Happens Immediately After Death

When death occurs, the person’s muscles will relax, breathing will stop, the heart will stop beating, and there will be no pulse.

Even when death is expected, it is commonand normalfor caregivers to feel a sense of shock and disbelief. Although home health or hospice staff and the person’s doctor should be notified, a natural death is not an emergency. There is usually no need to call medical personnel immediately. Many people find it comforting to take some time to sit with their loved one, perhaps talking quietly, holding hands, or watching their loved one at peace.

Treatment Of Stage 4 Liver Cancer

Stage 4 Breast Cancer — Memorial Breast Cancer Center

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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How Do I Know If I Should Keep Getting Treatment

How much is treatment helping?

For some people, getting cancer treatment helps them feel better and stronger. It also helps control the cancer so they can live longer. But for others, being in treatment works the opposite way they may reach a point where it only makes them feel worse. Side effects might keep you from enjoying the life you have left. Only you can decide how you want to live your life. Of course, youll want to know how your family feels about it, too. Their feelings are important since they are living through the cancer with you. But keep in mind, the final decision is yours.

Do the benefits outweigh the side effects?

When a person has had many different treatments that didnt help stop the cancer, it may mean that its become resistant to all treatment. At this time you might want to weigh the possible limited benefit of a new treatment against the possible downsides, including the stress of getting treatment and the side effects that go with it. Everyone has a different way of looking at this. Talk to your cancer care team about what you can expect from treatment. They can help you make the best decision for yourself and your family.

You May Not Know Im Sick By Looking At Me

I may look perfectly healthy, but Im sick, says Silberman. Treatment is hard. I sleep a lot. I still travel, but its difficult. I just visited a friend in Utah for four days, and it wore me out for two weeks.

Just because someone doesnt look like she has advanced-stage cancer, she can be very sick. It can be an invisible illness, says Silberman. You tell somebody you have cancer, but if you have hair, sometimes they dont believe you.

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When Do Signs And Symptoms First Appear

Typically, cancer signs and symptoms first appear when the cancerous tumor or mass has grown large enough that it begins to push against nearby organs and tissue, blood vessels, and nerves.

This can lead to pain, a change in how the nearby organs function, or both. A brain tumor pressing against the optic nerve will affect vision, for example.

Some cancers are fast moving, such as liver and pancreatic cancers. Prostate cancer, however, is usually slow moving. This is why many older men with prostate cancer forego treatment theyre more likely to die with prostate cancer than because of it.

Screenings for certain cancers should be part of your normal preventive healthcare. These include cancers of the:

  • prostate
  • cervix
  • skin

Your age, sex, family history, and your own medical history will dictate when routine screenings should begin and how often they should be done.

If youre concerned about symptoms associated with various cancers, then you shouldnt hesitate to see your doctor. You can connect to a physician in your area using the Healthline FindCare tool.

Being Your Own Advocate

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While there aren’t currently any studies looking at self-advocacy and survival, being your own advocate can’t hurt in maximizing your survival. Oncology is changing rapidly and it’s difficult for any oncologisteven those who specialize in breast cancerto stay aware of all of the latest research and clinical trials taking place.

It can be helpful to research your cancer yourself. Becoming involved via social media such as Twitter is also an excellent way to learn about the latest research, using the hashtag #bcsm, which stands for breast cancer social media.

Getting a second opinion can be helpful as well, especially from one of the larger cancer centers such as a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center.

There are ways to learn about opportunities, however, that don’t require traveling for opinions. There are now clinical trial matching services in which a nurse navigator can help to match your particular tumor and characteristics with clinical trials in progress all over the world.

Several of the larger cancer centers are now also offering remote second opinions, in which an oncology team can review your medical information and talk to you on the phone about whether there are any opportunities for treatment for you that may not be available elsewhere.

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The Importance Of Screening

If youve been diagnosed with breast cancer, and especially if you have higher risk due to a hereditary gene mutation or other factors, screening can mean earlier detection of a recurrence or new breast cancer. Regular breast cancer screenings have been shown to reduce the risk of dying from breast cancer and increase survival rates.

Talk with your healthcare team about the type of screening plan thats best for you.

Below you can find articles, personal stories, and downloadable resources with more information about diagnosis, talking with family, and finding emotional support.

The Cycle Of Recurrence And Remission

Most chronic cancers cannot be cured, but some can be controlled for months or even years. In fact, theres always a chance that cancer will go into remission. There are different kinds of remission.

  • When a treatment completely gets rid of all tumors that could be measured or seen on a test, its called a complete response or complete remission.
  • A partial response or partial remission means the cancer partly responded to treatment, but still did not go away. A partial response is most often defined as at least a 50% reduction in measurable tumor. Here, when we refer to a remission it will generally mean a partial remission.

To qualify as either type of remission, the absence of tumor or reduction in the size of the tumor must last for at least one month. Theres no way to tell how long a remission will last, so remission does not mean the cancer definitely has been cured.

Some cancers , have a natural tendency of recurrence and remission. Often, this repeating cycle of growing, shrinking, and stabilizing can mean survival for many years during which the cancer can be managed as a chronic illness. Treatment can be used to control the cancer, help relieve symptoms, and help you live longer.

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Can Other Drugs Interfere With Hormone Therapy

Certain drugs, including several commonly prescribed antidepressants , inhibit an enzyme called CYP2D6. This enzyme plays a critical role in the body’s use of tamoxifen because CYP2D6 metabolizes, or breaks down, tamoxifen into molecules, or metabolites, that are much more active than tamoxifen itself.

The possibility that SSRIs might, by inhibiting CYP2D6, slow the metabolism of tamoxifen and reduce its effectiveness is a concern given that as many as one-fourth of breast cancer patients experience clinical depression and may be treated with SSRIs. In addition, SSRIs are sometimes used to treat hot flashes caused by hormone therapy.

Many experts suggest that patients who are taking antidepressants along with tamoxifen should discuss treatment options with their doctors, such as switching from an SSRI that is a potent inhibitor of CYP2D6, such as paroxetine hydrochloride , to one that is a weaker inhibitor, such as sertraline or citalopram , or to an antidepressant that does not inhibit CYP2D6, such as venlafaxine . Or doctors may suggest that their postmenopausal patients take an aromatase inhibitor instead of tamoxifen.

Other medications that inhibit CYP2D6 include the following:

  • Quinidine, which is used to treat abnormal heart rhythms

Whats The Outlook For Metastatic Breast Cancer

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The right treatment plan can improve survival for people with metastatic breast cancer. However, survival rates vary and are dependent on a number of factors including type/biology of the breast cancer, parts of the body involved and individual characteristics. About 1 in 3 women live at least five years after diagnosis. Some live 10 years or longer. Your care team will discuss your prognosis with you in more detail.

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Breast Cancer Survival Rates

The overall 5-year relative survival rate for breast cancer is 90%. This means 90 out of 100 women are alive 5 years after theyve been diagnosed with breast cancer.

The 10-year breast cancer relative survival rate is 84% . The invasive 15-year breast cancer relative survival rate is 80% .

Continued

Survival Rate By Stage

Breast cancer stage describes how far cancer has spread in your body. Different stages of breast cancer have different survival rates.

The SEER database does not use the American Joint Committee on Cancer TNM system for cancer stages that you may see on your pathology report. Instead, the SEER database uses stages known as localized, regional, and distant:

  • Localized means there is no evidence that cancer has spread beyond the breast.
  • Regional means that cancer was found in nearby lymph nodes or structures outside the breast.
  • Distant means the cancer has traveled to remote parts of the body such as bones, liver, or lungs.

Here are the SEER relative 5-year breast cancer survival rates, from the American Cancer Society website:

SEER stage

*These rates are based on women who were diagnosed between 2009 and 2015.

Its important to know that the survival rate for your type of breast cancer may be different than whats represented in this chart. Here are some reasons why:

  • The numbers in this chart represent women diagnosed and treated at least 5 years ago. As treatments improve, survival rate numbers can change.
  • The numbers you see here do not factor in certain cancer characteristics such as grade, hormone-receptor status, or HER2 status.
  • These numbers also dont consider how well a cancer treatment may be working in your body.

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Things Doctors Wish You Knew About Metastatic Breast Cancer

For starters, dont read about survival rates on the internet.

Breast and cancer are never two words you want to hear together, but discovering you have metastatic, or stage IV, breast cancer can make a bad situation feel impossibly worse. A lot of this fear stems from some common misunderstanding about what metastatic breast cancer is, how it spreads, what the prognosis is, and available treatments.

The word metastatic simply means that the cancer has spread to other parts of the body beyond the original location of the tumor. The cancer originates in the breast, but the cells can travel to any other part of your body, leading to tumors in your lymph nodes, lungs, liver, bones, brain, or other places. Nearly 30 percent of women who are diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer will ultimately develop metastatic disease, according to The National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Each year about 255,000 people are diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer. While the majority are women, men can get the disease too. Approximately 41,000 people die of breast cancer each year and metastatic breast cancer is responsible in the majority of the cases, according to NBCF. The five-year survival rate is about 25 percent for women and 20 percent for men.

1. Metastatic breast cancer is not a death sentence

2. Metastatic breast cancer isnt necessarily like other metastatic cancers

3. Metastatic breast cancer cant turn into another cancer

4. A lot of factors go into cancer survival rates

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