Doctor oversight? Metastatic breast cancer in brain

Portal Forums Breast Cancer General Breast Cancer Doctor oversight? Metastatic breast cancer in brain

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October 21, 2017 at 4:28 pm  #1293372    

mgroven

My mother just finished treatment for stage II breast cancer – 6 months of chemo, surgery and radiation. After her last radiation session, she started having symptoms and a CT scan revealed four metastatic tumors in her brain, one quite large (we will get the figure this week). At the time of her diagnosis 9 months ago, they did a scan for potential spread of cancer cells – her liver, lungs, bones, lymphatic system, but not her brain. Why wouldn’t they have scanned her brain? And how likely is it that these tumors were present at the time?

October 21, 2017 at 6:09 pm  #1293373    
catdander forum moderator
catdander forum moderator

Hi mgroven,

Welcome to Grace. I’m very sorry to know your mom has mets to brain. It’s unlikely these mets were detectable 9 months ago though no one can say for sure. It’s possible that cancer cells went from the primary tumor only to the brain and are still the only cancer that remain. Brain scans are more common today in staging of cancers that often metastasize to the brain but not all oncologists do this as a standard of care. You would need to speak with her onc to know why that decision was made. Since she had curative treatment to the rest of her body it’s possible the only cancer that remains is in the brain so radiation to the brain still may be a cure.

A question I would have for the radiation oncologist is whether stereotactic radio surgery (SRS) treatments for each of the 4 mets or WBR (whole brain radiation) should be used. With people living so much longer with cancer long term problems from WBR are showing up more often which gives rise the giving the more pin pointed stereotactic radiation to each spot.

I hope she does well moving forward.
All best,
Janine

October 21, 2017 at 7:26 pm  #1293374    

mgroven

Thanks Janine. I appreciate your insight.
Cheers,
Marielle

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