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Brain mets from breast cancer

12 Jan 2018 22:26

I wonder if anyone can share their experiences. My mum has recently been diagnosed with multiple brain mets - she had breast cancer in 2014 for which she had a radical bilateral mastectomies and chemo and radiotherapy - she then had a recurrence in March 17 and we found out it had spread to her adrenal gland and nodes in her chest - she had just finished chemo and is having 3 weekly herceptin injections when she was rushed to hospital and we found out that it had spread to her brain. I am absolutely devastated and feel so hopeless / they have offered her 5 sessions of radiotherapy to control her symptoms but told her prognosis is poor. If anyone has experienced anything similar and would be prepared to share that experience I would so grateful as I feel so hopeless xx

Brain mets from breast cancer

13 Jan 2018 00:44 in response to Tillyh

Hello, 

I'm extremely sorry to be reading about your poor Mum and the hard time you're going through right now. 

Whether I'm of any help to you or not I don't know. All I can do is share my experience with complete honesty. My dad was diagnosed with bowel cancer back in April 2015 it had also spread to his lungs and liver. We was told from the start there was no cure but with chemotherapy it could hopefully stabilise the cancer to stop it growing and spreading and hopefully prolong his life. He was doing reasonably well with frequent check ups with his oncologist. When in March last year he started behaving out of character. My mum knowing full well something wasn't right took him straight to hospital. They performed a brain scan and found lesions on his brain. The lesions were situated in the pineal gland which is supposed to be very rare. Anyways there was a build up of fluid pressing down causing him to become confused and behave oddly. So they had to take him into surgery and drain the fluid from his brain. Initually we thought this may be all that was needed and he would get better. We was wrong. Things went from bad to worse. Prognosis was very poor due to it going to his brain. He went from being my Dad one moment to barely being able to hold a conversation. Every one is different but with my Dad he would hullicinate, became scared of everyone, would cry a lot and would wee himself etc this is all to do with the signals in the brain. He deteoriated rapidly. We was told in May that he was terminal because of it spreading to his brain and he died at the end of August (nearly 5 months ago now). Lets just say cancer going to the brain is one of the hardest things to watch and it is very cruel. I'm sorry if I have caused any upset but I can't and won't sugarcoat it. I'm only 28 and I feel like I've witnessed and experienced too much in such a short space of time. From brain ops, sepsis, strokes, hospice, syringe driver, death all in the space of 4 months. So if you do want to ask further questions please feel free to ask. 

I can't advise you on what to do because truthfully there is nothing you can do apart from support your Mum and family as best as you can. Spend what time she has left together and let her know you'll be holding her hand along the way. As for you, be kind to yourself and don't be afraid to ask others for help if you feel you need it. 

Big hugs x 

Brain mets from breast cancer

15 Jan 2018 23:31 in response to Tillyh
I don't have the experience yet but I know what your going through and the uncertainty of what's to come is the most frightening, my mum was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer nearly 7 years ago it had spread to the lymph and bones, and during this time various other areas she has had several chemos hormonal drugs but just before Xmas she had back pain took them 2 weeks to do a thorough MRI and over 4 weeks to tell us it was now in the back and brain she has been having radiotherapy on back and brain this last week and has 2 more sessions left what treatment is available after, not a lot, all I have been told is prognosis not good, im 38 my son is 8 and the thought of her deteriorating before our eyes losing her that way is what's keeping me awake at night, no-one can tell you what to expect just what might, will she have seizures, will she lose her memory her mobility, her ability to speak, eat, and how long will they be like this for, my mum has no husband, no partner so it's difficult that there's few people around to help, u feel helpless and everything is totally out of our control, it's like a nightmare your waiting to wake up from, I keep telling myself she is alive today and hopefully will be tomoz, I've booked a couple nights away by the seaside in February and just pray she will.still be well enough, I've never wrote anything on a forum like this before but I just wanted you to know your not alone in this, there's many of us struggling at the moment xxx

Brain mets from breast cancer

18 Jan 2018 10:53 in response to Tillyh
Been through something similar. My Mum went to hospital on in Feb with severe headache, she was diagnosed with brain mets and we later found the primary was bowel and adrenal gland. She had surgery for bowel blockage and recovered from that quickly. She had got the all clear from breast cancer in June 2016 so it was a new primary. They controlled it with steroids and she started the radio therapy but deteriorated very quickly, she went from managing fine to passing away in less than a week; she was only in hospital one night. I am thankful for no pain, no confusion, no suffering; right up until the end she was determined. I miss her more every day - my advice - spend as much time as possible with her and be there, take pictures and never forget to tell her how much you love her.

Brain mets from breast cancer

3 Feb 2019 21:21 in response to nwe

Hi, I am in almost exactly the same situation my mum has headaches for two weeks, after lots of hospital and go visits had ct scans and she has lung and brain Mets. She’s on steroids to shrink swelling and her symptoms nearly gone, now two weeks down the line she’s acting a bit odd again, and tremors in hands. She was in so much pain before diagnosis and delirious I’m just wanting advice. We have had mri and pet scan and biopsy these past two weeks and waiting on results. I’m so sorry for your loss of your mum xxx

Brain mets from breast cancer

17 Mar 2019 17:25 in response to Tillyh

Hi there. My friend had breast cancer some years ago, was treated and given the “all clear” it has now metasized to her liver, lungs, lymph nodes and chest. Regular scans and bloods were the norm and chemo was successfully stopping growth. Recently she had a massive seizure and was told after a scan that it has gone to her brain. The scan didn’t pick it up as, incredulously, they only scan the torso not the full body even though breast cancer is known to metasize in the brain. At present we don’t know the treatment that will be offered. My point is that if people can afford it then please pay for a full body scan if the NHS refuse. It is not expensive. Therefore, treatment can start before the tumours start causing the seizures which is something I never want to see again.

Brain mets from breast cancer

17 Mar 2019 18:11 in response to jukeboxjulie

I could not agree more with what you say. Sadly since my last post my mum passed away - it’s been just over a year since she died and there is not a single day that I haven’t cried and not a second of any day that I don’t miss her and my heart breaks. I feel so angry with the people who claimed to be helping her- it is very wrong that a ct head scan is not performed when investigating metastatic disease. Even more frustrating is the fact that her2 positive cancers are known to metastise to the brain.  I am an advanced practitioner with 20 years nursing experience and I did not know that heads were not scanned- despite us being told that my mother was having a full body scan- she also underwent a PET scan and still this wasn’t picked up. In the October before my mum died I asked her oncologist could she have brain mets as her mood and behaviour had altered, she had gone from being a happy go lucky lady full of fun and spirit to someone who was withdrawn and lacked motivation. I was told NO and that my mum was depressed. When we found out the true extent of her disease my mum lost all faith in those that claimed to care for her. My mum had been a district nurse for 53 years and had worked right up until her second diagnosis. I asked her one day why she didn’t tell the oncologist the things we had discussed prior to her appointment- to which she replied “what’s the point they don’t listen”. To hear someone of my mums constitution say something like this broke my heart. To get to the point (I’m sorry for rambling) my mums brain mets had been there a long time - they were extensive , had she been we been made aware that a ct head was not routine I would have insisted it be done. Despite being told that my mums behaviour had changed this still did not raise any red flags:  had my mum known that she had brain mets I know categorically that she would not have put herself through chemotherapy- she would have opted for radiotherapy to her brain and would have tried to enjoy ehayntime she had left. I feel so very angry and feel that oncology services are letting patients down- the term full body scan implies head as well when this is not the case. I have spoken about to this many of my colleagues including GPS and they all believed that head ct scans were routine for cancers known to metastasis to the brain. My beautiful mum endured unnecessary chemotherapy because she was not fully informed of what wasn’t being done. I would urge anyone in this or a similar situation to ask for a CT head scan, it’s too late for my beautiful mum but I hope that if just one person who reads this does ask for a scan then all of the pain and suffering both my mum and I am going through now won’t have been in vain. It is absolutely appalling that they are not done and oncology services are failing their most vulnerable patients .

Brain mets from breast cancer

4 Aug 2019 10:05 in response to Tillyh

I’m so sorry, I’ve only just seen your response. For some reason I’ve not been able to sign in.

I absolutely concur with everything you have said. 

Sadly my friend died exactly a month after her seizure surrounded by everyone who loved her. 

We still haven’t really reached acceptance of her death even though it was expected. It made us realise that even if you know death is imminent it is no easier to bear.

I don’t know what your position is at the moment but send much love to you and your family x

Brain mets from breast cancer

6 Dec 2019 22:15 in response to Tillyh

How can you help someone with bad headaches after brain radiotherapy? Thank you

Brain mets from breast cancer

11 Sep 2020 14:00 in response to Tillyh

Hi Tillyh,

 

I am sorry to hear about your mum's passing. I am in a similar situation with my mum having been diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year to learning in the last few weeks that she had brain mets and that even though she had what we thought was a full body scan there were no scans from the neck up hence the brain mets was missed. I learnt today that she has multiple tumours in her brain all of which were not picked up on until recently. We keep getting hit with news of how the cancer has spread and it's heartbreaking each time it feels like mum can't catch a break! I am having sleepless nights wondering what her quality of life will be following all this treatment for cancer that is incurable and seems to keep spreading. 
 

I felt compelled to reply to you and I hope you see my reply because you mention your mum went through chemo for nothing, why do you say that it was for nothing? I mean would radiotherapy have targeted/ worked for the cancers that the chemo was working on? I hope you don't find my questions insensitive, I would just like to know as we are now in a very similar situation, mum has just completed 6 courses of chemotherapy and now after discovery of the brain mets we are being told she will start radiotherapy.

 

Take care of yourself and thank you for sharing. 

Brain mets from breast cancer

17 Oct 2020 18:51 in response to jukeboxjulie

Hi I know this thread is quite old but this has just happened to my friend the exact metastasise..I wondered what her life expectancy was from this diagnosis..we are very upset! Sorry you had to go through this too! X

Brain mets from breast cancer

19 Oct 2020 18:44 in response to idnef

 

Hi Idnef,

I am so sorry that you now find yourself in this unenviable position. Unfortunately, there is no way of telling what your friend's life expectancy is likely to be, as all cancers are individual to the person. There are many other factors that govern this too. Things such as patient's age, general health and co-morbidities. Your friend's consultant is the person who is in the best position to answer this question.

Does your friend hae family who can ask this difficult question, or does your friend want to know? If not, perhaps she would be willing to give her consultant permission to discuss this for her?

I hope that they can help you and that her end is as comfortable as it can be.

We are always here for you both.
Kind regards,

Jolamine xx