TNBC & brain mets

Portal Forums Radiation Oncology Brain Metastases / PCI TNBC & brain mets

This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by JimC Forum Moderator JimC Forum Moderator 2 years, 1 month ago.

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May 10, 2016 at 8:55 am  #1273994    


Age 36 March March 2014 Triple Negative Breast cancer Stage III, Grade III.BRCA+. 4 months chemo/double breast mastectomy/hysterectomy. July 2015 Stage IV metastasized to liver and bones. 6 months chemo. Stable with 6 month chemo break.

Now in May 2016, blurred vision, brain fog, concentration issues, right leg weak. Diagnosed with 7 brain mets. Was told only option is WBRT. Approved for 14 treatments. Started steroids last week.

I guess my question is, the Dr.s say this is treatable, if it responds to the radiation. I read on support pages and forums that people can live for years. YET, every study I read online say as little as 2 months survival or an average of 4-6 months and that WBRT does NOT improve survival rates with more then 3 mets to the brain in TNBC patients. It’s hard to make decisions when you see and hear so much conflicting advice.

  • This topic was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by  booyaggs. Reason: to add steroids
  • This topic was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by  booyaggs. Reason: to add steroids
May 10, 2016 at 2:09 pm  #1274001    
JimC Forum Moderator
JimC Forum Moderator


Welcome to GRACE. I am sorry hear of the discovery of the brain mets and the symptoms they are causing. Although it is true that statistics on the whole are not favorable for this cancer once it has metastasized to the brain, those are historical medians based on large groups of patients in clinical trials. The experience of a single patient today will not necessarily mirror the median, since by definition half of the patients will better those numbers.

In addition, the question is what to do other than WBRT. Brain mets, left untreated, cause all kinds of very difficult symptoms. My wife’s lung cancer eventually spread to her cerebrospinal fluid, a condition for which there is not usually an effective treatment, and I can tell you from personal experience that if you can avoid such symptoms it is worth the side effects of the treatment. In the case of more than a few brain mets, WBRT is often quite effective in clearing up brain mets and helping the patient remain symptom-free. This can be especially important if the remainder of the cancer is under control.

There are some cancer centers, for instance the University of Pittsburgh, which have experimented with focused radiation (such as GammaKnife) for multiple brain mets, but this is not the standard practice.

Good thoughts to you in the process of decision-making.

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:

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