Average life expectancy for secondary breast cancer that's spread to the lungs and distant lymph nodes?

FormerMember
FormerMember
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Ok so today I found out that my secondary breast cancer has not only spread to distant lymph nodes but it has also spread to my left lung.

I was so shocked that all I wanted to do was run as fast as I could from the oncology clinic, yet since leaving I have so many unanswered questions. The main one being what's the average life expectancy for someone in my position?

  • hi  

    it's the million dollar question isn't it

    nobody knows

    Believe it or not there are some people who've lasted many years with secondaries, I've heard rumours of 10 years and more.

    People who are living with cancer rather than dying from it, like diabetes and angina.

    A lot will depend on your individual profile and how well your particular cancer cells respond to the various treatments and how well you cope with the side effects. A friends wife was given 2 years over 2 years ago. At the moment all her cancer cells are under control. She'll never be cured, always undergoing some form of treatment but for now she's stable.

    I wanted to run away when I got my primary diagnosis, it seemed unbelievable, I wasn't supposed to get breast cancer, I was all scheduled to get Leukaemia, like my mum and diabetes like my dad and have a stroke like my aunt and grandmother. Where on earth did the breast cancer come from ???

    Macmillan at least do realise it's a problem, that people are actually surviving cancer for longer these days and it throws up this whole other level of uncertainty.

    It's all fine and dandy being told to live in the moment but that really doesn't help plan for the future. I'm not talking years I'm just dealing with weeks and months, uncertainty is a terrible thing to have to deal with every day.

    as Dame Maggie Smiths character said, in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

    "I don't make plans, I don't even buy green bananas"

    We Brits aren't that good at dealing with death, whether it comes in 2 years, 5 years, 10 years or 20, it is the only certainty we have, we will die at some point. Death and taxes. The only two certainties in life. And yet we're woefully unprepared.

    The first thing I did when I got my invasive breast cancer diagnosis was plan to re-do my Will, but I still haven't got around to it.

    But I'm sure being in control of those mundane things helps. I don't think I'm scared of dying I just don't want to go before I'm ready.

    Anyway I'm rambling. I'm sure you'll have 5 to 10 years. I'll put 50p on it.

    Attack the practical in the morning.

    I'm working my way through my bucket list and they haven't identified any mets yet but I think the imaging team missed them last year. They missed a 15mm tumour, chances of them seeing a few bone or lung mets were somewhere between slim and non existent.

    Carolyn

    x

     real life success stories to remind you that people do survive breast cancer

    https://community.macmillan.org.uk/cancer_types/breast-cancer/f/38/t/115457

    Dr Peter Harvey

    https://www.workingwithcancer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/After-the-treatment-finishes-then-what.pdf

     

  • FormerMember
    FormerMember

    Good evening Kelz,

    I was diagnosed with secondaries in both lungs and that was nearly three years ago and I am responding well with my treatment.

    I believe the question you are asking will have a different answer for each person you ask. It will all be dependant on how you respond to treatment and everyone responds differently. Also what the treatment is and what type of cancer you have.

    My mets in my lungs have actually shrunk with being on hormone tablets - letrezole.

    Hope that this helps.

    Sharon

  • FormerMember
    FormerMember in reply to Carolyn28

    Thanks for your reply Carolyn

    I know it sounds crazy but I'm not actually afraid of dying as such. I'm more afraid of leaving my husband and 6 young children alone. Im scared he will find it too hard to cope and I'm scared my children who are only 3, 4, 5, 7, 11 and 14 won't understand why I had to leave them. I don't want to prepare for my death I Just want to try and prepare my husband and children for after my death. But the thought alone is breaking me :(

  • FormerMember
    FormerMember in reply to FormerMember

    Hi Sharon thank you for your reply and I'm so happy to hear your responding well to treatment!

    I was initially diagnosed in July 2014 with breast cancer in my left breast. I underwent chemo, which had no effect, a full mastectomy and also radiotherapy.


    On Tuesday I got the results of a biopsy I had done on a lump found on my right shoulder which came back as being a secondary breast cancer in a distant node. Another Tumor was found above my left collarbone and now also in my left lung. I'm so scared of leaving my husband and 6 children alone. I'm worried he won't be able to cope and I'm scared my children won't understand why I had to leave them

  • morning  

    there is a charity called Winstons wish, they help bereaved children and i'm sure they'll have advice on preparing to tell children about your situation. They are very young but of my four it's actually my eldest who's 30 that I'm more sad about leaving, and that's a forever thing, whether I die in 2, 5 or 10 years, both my parents died young so it's always been on my mind but 60 seemed such a long way off before, I'm 54 next week.

    http://www.winstonswish.org.uk/

    Then there's the Macmillan helpline 0808 808 0000 who will have advice and booklets on every aspect of cancer.

    The upside of having a large family is they'll be able to support each other.

    Carolyn

    x

     real life success stories to remind you that people do survive breast cancer

    https://community.macmillan.org.uk/cancer_types/breast-cancer/f/38/t/115457

    Dr Peter Harvey

    https://www.workingwithcancer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/After-the-treatment-finishes-then-what.pdf

     

  • FormerMember
    FormerMember

    Hi kelz I was diagnosed with secondary cancer in my spine my breast cancer diagnosed In march stage 1. 4 weeks later they found it my spine had my 3 monthly scan no further spread so far. I feel like u I think all of us on this site feel the same the worry of what we r going to leave behind  I know a women 7 years living with secondary and one 5 they r still living. I am going threw a bad time just now feeling verying down but with supported I am picking myself up again I want to enjoy life. it is changing ur frame of mind that is so important that takes time. Today I hung out my sheets to dry autumn is here and I really enjoyed it I hope to see many more I am sure we all will take care xxx


  • FormerMember
    FormerMember

    As the others say 'who knows?' I asked my oncologist when diagnosed in May 2015 with breast cancer & secondarirs in lungs,liver & bones (also now have one on ovary). He gave me 6 months upto 3 or 4 years. I think any day I wake up is a bonus as i've gone past the 6months mark. I feel fine (thanks 2 all the tablets & chemo) & look good (so i'm told) & am back 2 work fulltime. Yes the family worry but I don't - could get knocked down by a bus!

    Think positive & smile :)

    Wee blonde age 44 & 8 months xx

  • hi  

    That is good to know, that you're feeling fine and looking good and working full time too.

    and smiling

    Carolyn

    x

     real life success stories to remind you that people do survive breast cancer

    https://community.macmillan.org.uk/cancer_types/breast-cancer/f/38/t/115457

    Dr Peter Harvey

    https://www.workingwithcancer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/After-the-treatment-finishes-then-what.pdf

     

  • FormerMember
    FormerMember in reply to Carolyn28

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer and secondaries in my spine in March this year, but have just been to see my oncologist today and the letrozole seems to be doing its job.  My breast tumour has reduced, my CA153 levels are dropping and the zoledronic acid infusions (zometas) seem to be stopping my bones from crumbling.  I'm a single mum with just one daughter, who's 17.  My goal is to be at her graduation and today I asked whether I was being wildly optimistic, seeing as its 4 years away, but he didn't seem to think so.  We all know this is a fickle disease and things can change at any time, but I think because I am quite well at the moment (a few aches and pains, but still working full-time), he's confident they can keep me going for quite a while yet.  So far I've only had hormone therapy (no chemo, radiotherapy or surgery), so they're all options for the future.  It's dreadful when you're first diagnosed.  You really can't think of anything else.  Please try to stay positive - I really do believe it helps.  Good luck.

    Jan xxx

  • FormerMember
    FormerMember in reply to FormerMember

    Hi everyone 

    I was diagnosed with secondary in bones in July currently having 4 weekly injections and taking anastrazole and adcal 


    Think when they first told me no cure but could contain I had very dark days and like you all it the thought of leaving my loved ones I have a beautiful kind husband 4 kids and 5 be 6 next year grandchildren, think being on this site and reading ladies who live with the cancer has helped me and even though I am still petrified of the dying I intend to enjoy every day I have with  my loved ones 


    Big hugs to everyone 


    Karen xx