How long can one survive with stageIV breast cancer

Hello, hello! I have stage IV breast cancer that has spread to the bone and scalp. My DR. told me in 2007 when I was diagnosed that I had probable 2 months to live, this is at MD Anderson. Well, I am still around and I am wondering if anyone has beaten this cancer or has survived 5 plus years with advanced BC? Kind of down in the dumps. Julieanne

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I brought that whole prognosis thing up with my doctor again just yesterday. He said the median for MBC is about 2 yrs. You're already 2 yrs in...and I see people living past 10 yrs! even close to 20!

So thanks a lot effin' doctor, for that cheery 2 month prognosis, eh?

Beat it? With a stick maybe, but we have to accept "treatable, but not curable". But, whether we want it or not, a lot of us have a lot of years. Many MANY people going past the five year mark.

BTW...I'm not quite a year into the Stage IV Dx, so I have yet to pass that ominous pronouncement from last August. We'll see.

Sometimes I just scan through the titles of the posts and look for something that sounds funny, or sounds like someone going off on something...those are the only ones I read.

I read yours because I was curious. So you're stuck with me as your first answer. ;-)

Sounds like you're off to a good start if you've kept it contained thus far!

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I was diagnosed with stage II B in 1993 at the age of 36. I went through extensive chemo, radiation and participated in a 5 year clinical trial. At 10 years out we assumed that I was out of the woods but in 2008, after 15 years, I was diagnosed with stage iV breast cancer that had spread to my omentum and uterus. I have been on three different chemo protocols and my PET scans are currently showing no visible cancer. I agree with Shelly G that we need to accept treatable but not curable, at least for now. I think we just have to keep living the best life we can and hope that medical technology will hurry and catch up with us. By the way, what treatments are you both on?

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My original dx was July 1999. I finished treatment march 2000 and wastold I had a 98% of never seeing it again. In April 2001 I was dx stage 4. I currently am on chemo #8. I may be at a low point emotionally and physically, but I am far, far from being down for the count. I have multiple bone mets, and am soon to have a hip replacement thanks to cancer. I have some very small liver and lung mets. Life has had its ups and downs
Long ago I said that I would not listen to statistics. In the time that it takes to do a study, get it published, and become the number docs refered to there have been so many new drugs released that the study numbers are obsolete.
Good luck, keep coming here
Lisa

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I'm only 6mths into my stage 4 dx .. I think I'm concidered to fall into the catagory of short survival .. though no-one's actually said that!! I have loads of tumors in my liver (too many to count) and various ones dotted round the place ... BUT DAMN IT!!!!!! I can be a stubborn old cow and I plan to be the traditional rebel that I am and be around for a loooonnnngggg time!!! I've got too many people to pester before I go anywheres :-) woo hoo!!! And way to much to do!!!

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Hi Julieann,

I was first diagnosed IIa in 2000, then stage IV the end of 2007. My onc did not give me a time he just said I would die of this disease. I am triple Negative which means it very aggressive and I have been on 4 different chemos the most current being Ixempra. I have mets to bones, liver and lungs and my last scans with this treatment showing great reduction and some spots not even visible anymore.

I think the best thing we can do for ourselves(and my husband would not believe I'm saying this) and easier said the done but is to stay as positive as we could. Try to laugh a lot, go out with friends, fun relatives, watch funny thing on T.V.

Don't get me wrong I can't do this all the time and yes I cry ore then I would like, but when I feel good I figure this stuff can't hurt and YES it makes e feel better. I don't think anyone can give us a time so I am going on 3 yrs. and trying to laugh as much as I could.

I also went to my sons H.S. graduation on Sunday and my daughters 8th Grade Grad. this morning and I really didn't cry like I thought and what I did it was like a good cry.

GO OUT, LAUGH, LAUGH, LAUGH AND MY THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE COMING YOUR WAY.

pat

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When I was rediagnosed three years ago (I was originally diagnosed Stage II four years ago) my onc said DON'T READ the STATS. They are based on numbers at least 5-7 years ago by the time they get published, this is a different world than it was then.

I have been NED (no evidence of disease) for three years and we know I was really stage IV when originally diagnosed so that is four years. At least two years past my expiration date by stats and I am doing great.

Each situation is different but don't by that 2 month nonsense.

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Dear Julianne,

There is a video of Rita Arditti, who passed away this past Christmas on the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network page. Here is the link: http://www.mbcnetwork.org/video/RitaArdittiChapter10MPEG4LAN.html

She passed away this past Christmas, but survived for over 20 years (27 I believe) with metastatic BC, not only in her bones. When I watched this video, I gained hope that I, too, could live longer than the statistics say. The medicines we have now weren't even available when she began her battle!

Becky

BTW, I go to MD Anderson for care also, even though I live in MS.

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Hang in there!!!!!!There will be many ups and downs, but there is a lot of support on this site.

It's been 6 years for me, living with stage 4 breast cancer. The first five years I was on hormones, the last year I have been on monthly chemo.Not fun, but doable.

Good luck to you!

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Over on the breastcancer.org board there is a wonderful sister that comes back at least once a year to let everyone know she has another year under her belt, God bless her. It is now 17 years and she is going strong. I hope she makes 100!!!! She posts under the Stage IV topic. I found this board by mistake actually, as I am not yet Stage IV, but being triple negative, could be in the time span of one doctor's appointment or one scan. None of you even know how many a bad night you have helped me through. All I can offer in return is that you know I stand in awe of each of you and your strength. I only hope I can muster the same, should the day come that I need to.

Linda

Linda

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I was originally diagnosed with Stage I in 10/2001. At that time, I opted for a mastectomy. Following the mastectomy, removal of nine nodes, tests upon tests upon tests, I opted to forego any chemo. Radiation was not an option in my case due to a past history with Hodgkin's.

So, I rolled the dice. Fast forward 6 years to 2007 and I was diagnosed with a very, very small lesion on my sternum. It took almost 7 mos to get a concrete diagnosis that my BC had returned, was Stage IV, Triple Negative, etc. I experienced pretty rapid progression with this disease and have been on 5 different chemos. Fortunately for me, the Doxil I've been on since Sept. 09 has beaten it back.

It's been three years now since my Stage IV diagnosis. As of today, I feel better than I have in the last three years. So....technically, I've been dealing with this breast cancer for almost NINE years.

I never ONCE asked about survival time. I didn't want to know, didn't want anyone placing an expiration date on my life. I'm not a gallon of milk. At Sloan Kettering in NYC, one (rather smug) oncologist started to throw statistics at me, and I just shut him down immediately.

Believe me, I'm not living in denial. There's enough info on internet to give everyone a baseline idea of what statistics show regarding this disease. Its downright scary and has led to more then one bouts of depression for me.

I really love my oncologist, his demeanor and professionalism....instead of quoting statistics with me...knowing I was averse to this info....he simply told me "the only thing predictable about cancer is its unpredictability". He said with my case we focus on stability, prolonging life and ensuring a good quality of life". We hope for a cure and keeping doing all we can to fight this disease.

Just try to hang in there. Your cancer is as unique to you as mine is to me. What works for some, may not work for others and vice versa. Just stay in tune with your body. Take pleasure in life and sorround yourself with loving, supportive friends, families and even strangers (like all of us on this board).

Keep the faith. Don't cloud your head with too many 'statistics' about survival times. Stay strong and keep on fighting!

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I received the same response at MDA 12 years ago...was told I might have 2 years. The oncs just don't know. Everyone responds differently to different treatments. At this point my onc doesn't know what to think because, although I have had a few new tumors pop up here and there, I am basically stable. I have lots of aches and pains from the estrogen removing treatment but I'm still here!

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I was originally diagnosed Stage IV and that was almost 10 years ago (will be in Nov.) Don't take everything the DR says to heart, just keep looking forward and taking care of yourself.

Scowl back at the DR and say I am not a statistic!

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I am almost at my two year mark for Stage IV diagnosis, although I had it before that I'm sure. Original bc diagnosis May 2008 and they found the mets in August. Since my lymph nodes didn't show, they didn't know until I complained of back pain, had a PET and voila! - there they were. Bones and liver. I had a PET yesterday so will find out my current status soon. I feel pretty good, try to stay active, but have lots of aches and pains like texasdj stated.

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I have been living with mets to the bones since April 2007. My doctor has never given me an "expiration date" and I haven't asked either. I see no point of knowing; after all, I could get hit by a bus tomorrow instead of dying from breast cancer, so I live with the attitude for now that my cancer is chronic disease that can be managed, and I've accepted that treatment is going to be a regular part of my life too.

I just try to enjoy and make the most of the good days that I have. Started chemo again last month, and after that chemo is done, I'll have a PET scan and see if it's spread beyond the bones yet.

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I am triple negative and went from stage IIA to IV within the first year of mastectomy and 6 mos of ACT. April Mets to lung. 2 different chemo's and some lung surgery and I have been NED since really NOV 08. My statistic is 9% survival rate for 5 years. Its been 2 and I plan on many more!!! We are not statistics and nobody has an expiration dated stamped on their forehead!! Hang in there. I met Rita Adretti and she was just precious. I was at a mets conference in Boston and there were MANY survivors that were 10 years out, especially those with bone mets only. But there were also several with multiple organ and bone mets that were 8-10 years out so I was VERY encouraged. Christi

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Was originally diagnosed in 1980 with bc had a mastectomy, chemo every week for l year, tomaxafin for 5 yrs. Clear had reconstruction, then in 2008 was dx with Stage IV to sternum, had 12 treatments of radiation, no chemo, take zomenta now every 8 weeks, femara every day and here I am 20 months into the treatment. So remember where there is life there is hope, so hang in there girl. Every day brings a new treatment. Emily we are in it to win it!!! TOGETHER

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I am triple positive and my prognosis is 7-8-9 years. I realize this is only a baseline. I figure, I may be one of the ones who live longer, but I live like I may be one of the ones who live shorter - I just do not want to waste any of my time - which is hard to do, considering I don't feel well or am tired so much of the time, but hey!
I don notice that I am keeping track of time passing. I mean, even knowing I have so many years left, I am well aware that six months have passed of that time. I'm not as afraid as I was at the beginning of stage IV-ness. But, I am certainly aware.
Happy day to all.
Laura W

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I agree with everything these women have said. Nix the statistics - they are old, every case is different and it must also include those who never dealt with the disease until it was way too late. I was diagnosed stage III in 1996 and stage IV in 2009. Both my local onc and MSK onc said I should do well for quite a long time since it took this long to return. Sometimes I don't feel like I will survive very long with the aches and pains I have plus all the stress and worry I bring on myself, but today is a good day so I will be optimistic. So, Julianne, forget the statistics, (BTW my husband was given at the most 21 months to live with kidney cancer recurrence, well we've reached that and he is still well and thriving) I have seen such a big difference in treatment since first dx and plan to live to see more and better ones to come.

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Hello, Hello, Hello! To everyone who replied to my question about survial time with stage IV BC THANKYOU from the bottom of my heart, each and everyone of you have given me new hope and yes, you brought tears to my eyes, but good tears. God bless and keep you, maybe together we can beat this beast. Happy days are ahead for us!!!!! Julieanne

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Hi Shelli, I just want to tell you that your dry wit and humor are so refreshing, you bring a smile and spring to my step! Thanks you!!!!
Julieanne

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