Triple Negative Breast cancer - 1260161

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Triple Negative Breast cancer - 1260161

My mom was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast cancer 2 years ago. She has been fighting ever since. However 6 months ago, they found out that the cancer had spread to her bones and on her liver (not in her liver). Last week she was approved for a triple negative breast cancer clinical trial which would have been a great thing. One of the requirements for this study was a brain scan. They did the scan last week and found three tumors. They immediately put her on a steriod and started radiation treatments literally the next day. My question is does radiation really work on brain tumors? Does it really help with the pain?

The doctors have put her in hospice, I know she will die but I have no idea around what time. The doctors said that if they didn't find the tumors on her brain, she would've have died by Chrismas. Now that we have found them and started doing treatments, does she have a shot at living a long time and maintaining the cancer?

She is 61 years old.

Thank you

Reply To: Triple Negative Breast cancer

bubblyash, Welcome to Grace. I'm so sorry your mom has this diagnosis. Yes, it's possible to treat the brain mets with radiation and have the cancer in the brain killed. That could leave her with the cancer in the other parts of her body to contend with. As our faculty doctors are known to repeat, the goals of treating incurable cancer is a balance between longevity and quality of life.

There's no telling how one person will fare with cancer but hospice has a remarkably good record for finding the balance for the people in their care. Enough so that many people do better after entering hospice. These are 2 blog posts the first on palliative care the second on hospice care.

Yes palliative radiation is regularly used to treat pain metastases.

I hope your mom does well for a long time. Don't hesitate to ask follow up questions.

Dr West
Reply To: Triple Negative Breast cancer

Yes, brain lesions often respond well to radiation, both in terms of prolonging survival and reducing symptoms from them.

It's hard to judge how someone will do in terms of survival on hospice. I have some patients who live for a few years after effective treatment of brain metastases. However, if someone has a poor performance status and extensive metastases, survival may be limited to weeks to months. Triple negative breast cancer can often be aggressive when it becomes resistant to treatment. Her doctors are in a better position to try to provide a good range as a prediction.

Good luck.

-Dr. West

Dr. Howard (Jack) West
Associate Clinical Professor
Medical Oncology
City of Hope Cancer Center
Duarte, CA

Founder & President
Global Resource for Advancing
Cancer Education

Negative Breast cancer means

Negative Breast cancer means that the growth of the cancer is not supported by the hormones estrogen and progesteroneTherefore, triple-negative breast cancer does not respond to hormonal therapy.Triple-negative breast cancer is typically treated with a combination of therapies.Based on other features of the cancer, such as stage and grade, your doctor will work with you to determine the best treatment approach. Sierra nevada cancer center will help you with facilities and treatments that will encourage healing in your mom's battle against cancer.