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Breast Cancer

Spots on bones

02/01/2000

Question:

My sister had breast cancer about 5 years ago and had to have a mascectomy. She is now experiencing trouble with her ribs. Three of them broke just from coughing and now the doctor has found 3 spots on her bones. She is 40 years old and a very heavy smoker (about 4 to 5 packs a day) and a heavy drinker. My question, is there any cure for bone cancer if this is what it is? I don`t want to lose her and I`ll do anything I can to help her. Any info you can give me will be so greatly appreciated. A bone scan is how they found the 3 spots. They have now referred her to a cancer doctor. I`m scared so I know she must be terrified. Thank you

Answer:

If in fact, the spots on her bones are cancer cells that have metastasized(spread) from the original breast cancer three years ago, the cancer cells on the bone are still breast cancer and still have all the characteristics of breast cancer. The treatment the oncologist(cancer doctor) will use will be breast cancer treatments.

You may offer to accompany your sister to the oncologist as a comfort and support. You can write down everything the doctor tells her. Or, consider taking a tape recorder as it is difficult to remember everything the doctor has to say about the future treatment. Feel free to ask the doctor any questions you or your sister may have. Encourage your sister to think about questions and write them down before the visit.

You are correct that this is a time of strong emotional feelings for the entire family. It is a time to talk about it, share your feelings and time for your sister to receive a lot of support. It may help you both to attend a breast cancer support group. These women who are going through or have been through the same thing will be a tremendous help and a great consolation. The oncologist will have the names of such support groups in your area. Thank you for writing. I hope this is of help during this difficult time.

For more information:

Go to the Breast Cancer health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Janet   Trigg, RN, MSN, EdD Janet Trigg, RN, MSN, EdD
Formerly:
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati