Metastatic Breast Cancer

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Hi there,

So I believe the above is what the latest "status" of my wife's cancer is called, but in summary, she has had:

1) Stage 4 breast cancer diagnosed in October 2017. 5cm tumour right against her breast plate.

2) Chemotherapy on said breast and then a mestectomy on th right breast follwoign treatment.

3) Removal of lymph nodes in right arm.  26/29 were cancerous, but they achieved "clearance".

4) December 2020, lump found over left shoulder, biopsy confirmed it was cancer.

5) August 2021, Cancer spreads to left arm lymph nodes despite ongoing chemo.

6) January 2023, cancer foudn in location of previous right breast, various treatments attempted but nothign seems to reduce growth.

7) October 2023, cancer has spread from right breast tumour to skin,  Chemo is intravenious and is severley affecting ability to swallow and talk based on number of throat, mouth and nasal sores.  Chemotherapy is not deemed to have affected growth after one cycle.

Whats the prognosis?  Should we be focusing on makign memories with the boys whilst my wife is still active - my guess is yes, but no one will tell us!

  • Thank you for getting in touch. My name is Joanne and I am one of the Cancer Information Nurses.


    I can see that you have joined our Breast Cancer Forum

    I am sorry to hear about your wife’s diagnosis of Metastatic Breast cancer. This is sometimes referred to as Secondary breast cancer or advanced breast cancer. We also have a Secondary Breast cancer Forum which you may find useful.

    This diagnosis of secondary cancer is given when the cancer cells from the primary breast cancer spread to other parts of the body.

    On the Macmillan Support Line we don’t have access to health and care records so are unable to give any specific information about your wife’s individual situation.

    Secondary breast cancer cannot be cured but there may be options for treatment which are aimed at controlling the cancer and improving symptoms which will help to improve the quality of life of anyone who is living with secondary breast cancer.

    It sounds as if your wife is currently experiencing significant side effects from her chemotherapy.

    If you haven’t already done so, it is important to report these side effects to the Chemotherapy Unit where she had her treatment.

    Soreness and mouth ulcers should start to improve and resolve around two weeks after chemotherapy but may require assessment and treatment to ensure your wife does not have an infection and is able to eat and drink properly again.

    When you have a diagnosis of a secondary cancer, it is very important to be given the appropriate information which will allow you to make decisions about your future treatment and the impact that the cancer and any treatment you receive will have on you and your family.

    This includes being able to plan for the future, allow you to support your children and consider any issues around money and work.

    If your wife has a Breast Care Nurse you can contact them at the hospital (via Switchboard if you do not have a direct line number) and ask for an appointment with the oncologist where you and your wife can discuss the information you would like to have regarding the stage and extent of her disease.

    If you are unable to speak to a Breast Care nurse, you can ask to speak to the consultant's secretary via the hospital switchboard.

    It can be helpful to write down the questions you would like to ask and take this with you to the appointment.

    I hope this information is useful and please do not hesitate to contact us again.

    If you would like to talk things through with one of our nurses, please do ring the Macmillan Support line where we will be happy to provide further advice and support for you and your family.

    Best Wishes

    Joanne H – Cancer information Nurse Specialist.

    You can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 0000 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or send us an email


    Our Ref: HK/JH

    Joanne H - Cancer Information Nurse Specialist

    Remember you can also speak with the Macmillan Support Line team of experts. Phone free on 0808 808 00 00 (7 days a week, 8am-8pm) or by email.