I was shocked to see that 72% of people think that advanced breast cancer (by definition, that’s stage IV or metastatic disease) could be cured, and that half of those surveyed thought that it was basically a woman’s own fault if she ended up with metastatic disease. For the record, once breast cancer is considered advanced, it’s not curable. Current treatments aim to control quality of life issues, and are considered successful if the cancer doesn’t get any worse. Maintenance without progression is the goal. While many women can live years in this “maintenance without progression” zone, they will likely die as a result of their metastatic breast cancer.
You arrive home from the doctor’s office overwhelmed with the news that you have breast cancer. The surgeon’s nurse has set up more tests and said she will call tomorrow with an appointment for you to meet with an oncologist.
Clicking on the television, you see a woman talking about how wonderful her cancer hospital is. She stands with her husband in front of a large building saying it is worth traveling any distance to find a hospital that offers hope and options. You start wondering if you should just take your surgeon’s recommendation for an oncologist or if you should check out the hospital in the advertisement.
Learn to navigate the uncertain waters of metastatic breast cancer.
Breast cancer is a difficult battle long fought and not easily won. When it comes back, it can be just as difficult, if not more so, than the original case of cancer. But the more you know about the recurring forms of breast cancer, the better prepared you will be to continue your fight against it.
When breast cancer comes back,
One of the tougher decisions many women make around cancer treatment is whether to pursue breast reconstruction after surgery – either a major lumpectomy, or mastectomy. Here’s some guidance on how to make that decision.
Q. I’m about to have a lumpectomy, but they’re warning me I might ultimately need a mastectomy. Either way, I’ve been advised to look into reconstruction. That sounds pretty major, and I don’t know if I want to do it…
A. Breast reconstruction, either after a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, can indeed be major surgery.