Breast Cancer in Lungs + Severe COPD

Portal Forums Breast Cancer General Breast Cancer Breast Cancer in Lungs + Severe COPD

This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  margueritey 9 months, 4 weeks ago.

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March 24, 2017 at 1:48 pm  #1290438    


Hi there. I am new to this but need some honesty. I have a 70 year old aunt that was diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer in Sept. 2016. It is in her lungs, liver, breast, a spot on the spine, and in her lungs. She also has severe COPD and is on oxygen most of the day (from smoking 40+ years). Her first round of chemo seems to have improved the cancer slightly. Activity is down. I know it’s only a matter of time before the cancer becomes resistant to the chemo but her oncologist will not give me a timeframe. He just advises of the “averages” with the chemo. I just want someone with some experience to tell me a realistic time frame. I know that there isn’t a “magic ball” but some honesty would be nice. Thank you so much!

March 24, 2017 at 9:07 pm  #1290442    
JimC Forum Moderator
JimC Forum Moderator

Hi margueritey,

Welcome to GRACE. I am sorry to hear of your aunt’s cancer diagnosis, and I know exactly how you feel. When my wife was diagnosed with lung cancer, I wanted to know (but also didn’t want to know) how much time we could realistically have left together. Just as your aunt’s doctors have done, my wife’s oncologist would not make predictions, because the only real data is based on large numbers of patients and is not necessarily predictive of how an individual patient will fare. Any doctor who gives you a firm time frame is not using the data properly.

In fact, we found the medians to be not even close to what we experienced. Statistics would have told us ten or twelve months, but our cancer battle ended after three years and four months. Not enough time, but much more than we had first anticipated.

What is most predictive is how well a patient responds to treatment. Good responders tend to have success not only with their first line of therapy, but subsequent ones as well, achieving longer survival than those whose cancer progresses quickly through treatment.

I wish your aunt good and long-lasting response to her treatments.

Forum moderator

Jul 2008 Wife Liz (51/never smoker) Dx Stage IV NSCLC EGFR exon 19
4 cycles Carbo/alimta, 65% shrinkage
Tarceva maintenance
Mar 2010 progression, added Alimta, stable
Sep 2010 multiple brain mets, WBR
Oct 2010 large pericardial effusion, tamponade
Jan 2011 progression, start abraxane
Jun 2011-New liver, brain mets, add Tarceva
Oct 2011-Dx Leptomeningeal carcinomatosis; pulsed Tarceva
At rest Nov 4 2011
Since then:

March 25, 2017 at 4:45 am  #1290443    


Thank you for your response. I am so sorry about your wife. My aunt is currently taking abraxane. I think because she has two different issues going on it makes it more difficult to predict. I did notice she went from surviving without oxygen to needing it all the time within a month. I know that COPD would not have progressed that rapidly without the cancer. She is currently starting her second round of abraxane. Hoping she has another positive response. Thank you for your input. I really appreciate it.

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