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Thread: How long can someone live with breast cancer untreated?

  1. #1
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    How long can someone live with breast cancer untreated?

    My 70 year old grandmother was diagnosed with lung and breast cancer a couple of months ago. She does not want any treatment and she was given 3 months to live which she has surpassed. But, still my mom and I really worried about her condition, so we contacted one of the staff of the placidway and they already set an appointment to our doctor.

    She had upped her pain meds quite a bit since she has been in palliative care, but we have not seen a physical decline in her health. Obviously it is specific to the individual, but how long can someone live in this condition? I have never had a relative get cancer before, so I do not know what to expect.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Top User po18guy's Avatar
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    Sorry to hear of this. A co-worker of about the same age, and who chose not to treat her breast cancer, lived over one year.
    07/08 Age 56 DX 1) Peripheral T-Cell Lymphoma-Not Otherwise Specified. Stage IV-B, >50 ("innumerable") tumors, bone marrow involvement.
    08/08-12/08 Four cycles CHOEP14 + four cycles GND (Cyclofosfamide, Doxorubicin, Vincristine, Etoposide, Prednisone & Gemcitabine, Navelbine, Doxil)
    02/09 2) Relapse.
    03/09-06/13 Clinical trial of Romidepsin > long-term study. NED for 64 twenty-eight day cycles, dose tapered.
    07/13 3) Relapse, 4) Suspected Mutation.
    08/13-02/14 Romidepsin increased, stopped for lack of response. Watch & Wait.
    09/14 Relapse/Progression. Visible cervical nodes appear within 4 days of being checked clear.
    10/06/14 One cycle Belinostat. Discontinued to enter second clinical trial.
    10/25/14 Clinical trial of Alisertib/Failed - Progression.
    01/12/15 Belinostat resumed/Failed - Progression. 02/23/15
    02/24/15 Pralatrexate/Failed - Progression. 04/17/15
    04/15 Genomic profiling reveals mutation into PTCL-NOS + AngioImmunoblastic T-Cell Lymphoma. Stage IV-B a second time. Two dozen tumors + small intestine (Ileum) involvement.
    04/22/15 TREC (Bendamustine, Etoposide, Carboplatin). Full response in two cycles. PET/CT both clear. Third cycle followed.
    06/15-07/15 Transplant preparation (X-rays, spinal taps, BMB, blood test, MUGA scan, lung function, CMV screening, C-Diff testing etc. etc. etc.) Intrathecal Methotrexate during spinal tap.
    BMB reveals 5) 26% blast cells of 20q Deletion Myelodysplastic Syndrome MDS), a bone marrow cancer.
    07/11-12/15 Cyclofosfamide + Fludarabine conditioning regimen.
    07/16/15 Total Body Irradiation.
    07/17/15 Moderate intensity Haploidentical Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant receiving my son's peripheral blood stem cells.
    07/21-22/15 Triple dose Cyclofosfamide + Mesna, followed by immunosuppressants Tacrolimus and Mycophenolate Mofetil.
    07/23-08/03/15 Marrow producing zero blood cells. Fever. Hospitalized two weeks.
    08/04/15 Engraftment occurs, and blood cells are measureable - released from hospital.
    08/13/15 Day 26 - Marrow is 100% donor cells. Platelets climbing steadily, red cells follow.
    09/21/15 Acute skin Graft versus Host Disease arrives.
    DEXA scan reveals Osteoporosis.
    09/26/-11/03/15 Prednisone to control skin GvHD.
    11/2015 Acute GvHD re-classified to Chronic Graft versus Host Disease.
    05/2016 Tacrolimus stopped. Prednisone from 30-90mg daily tried. Sirolimus begun.
    09/16/16 Three skin punch biopsies.
    11/04/16 GvHD clinical trial of Ofatumumab (Arzerra) + Prednisone + Methylprednisolone begun.
    12/16 Type II Diabetes, Hypertension - both treatment-related.
    05/17 Extracorporeal Photopheresis (ECP) begun in attempt to control chronic Graft-versus-Host-Disease (cGvHD.
    06/17 Trying various antibiotics in a search for tolerable prophylaxis.
    08/17 Bone marrow biopsy reveals the presence of 2% cells with 20q Deletion Myelodysplastic Syndrome, considered to be Minimum Residual Disease. Active surveillance is the course of choice.
    To date: 18 chemotherapeutic drugs in 9 regimens (4 of them at least twice), 5 salvage regimens, 3 clinical trials, 4 post-transplant immuno-suppressant drugs, the equivalent of 1,000 years of background radiation from scanning from 45+ CT series scans and about 24 PET scans. Two lymphoid malignancies plus a myeloid malignancy lend a certain symmetry to the journey.

    Believing in the redemptive value of suffering makes all the difference.

  3. #3
    Regular User Donroy's Avatar
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    cindimorgan, cancer is so incredibly different for every person that trying to predict it's future course is all but impossible. It primarily depends upon how fast it renders major organs inoperable. It sounds like her lungs in this case. Is she on supplemental oxygen, or get winded and short of breath easily? Does she have a lot of secretions in her lungs, and if so can she clear her secretions? If indeed her lungs are the big bully in her case, you may notice difficulty breathing, maybe fluid in her lungs, inability to oxygenate her blood which in turn will not properly oxygenate her organs and thus the cascade begins. This doesn't directly answer your question, but may give you signals to notice that mark major trouble in the near future. If she does have great difficulty breathing, I know that morphine helps the work of breathing a great deal and may provide some relief for her when the going gets rough. Hang in there and cherish your time with her and make a few memories before she leaves. Best of luck to you.

 

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