does secondary cancer mean terminal

does it? does it mean sooner or later im gonna die from this???

Kaz I think that as things stand now, with the knowledge that is available, yes it does mean terminal. How long is a piece of string comes to my mind. We live in a time when I think a lot of things are changing and many will now say that we are looking at a chronic disease in many cases with the possibility that something else might get you before cancer does. I have lived with cancer now for 21 years and secondaries for the last 9 of them. If the drugs that are available now had been available when I was first diagnosed I don’t think I would have got secondaries even, who knows! But I have certainly had my life lengthened by being able to have herceptin. I think I am a glass half full type of person and believe there are many more drugs coming along that will continue to prolong life for many of us.


Hi Kaz, I can only echo Dawn’s post. When I was diagnosed with my secondaries 8 years ago my Oncologist said my cancer was not curable but it was very treatable. And so far it has been. Being told my cancer was treatable was a great comfort to me at such a frightening time. Take Care.xx

Hi Kaz

I was reading an article recently and it was saying there are over 500 new drugs in the pipe line for cancer. These new improved drugs, will lead the way in making cancer(in the near future) a condition that we live with, and control through medication - rather like conditions such as diabetes.

Good luck and hugs Maria x

(1) You could get run over by a bus, or keel over with something else long before cancer kills you.
(2) You could go into spontaneous remission - 5% of cancer disappears and does not come back (I know of two people where this has happened)
(3)Not all stage 4 cancer is terminal. Try looking up the phrases oligometastatic disease, and Anderson Cancer Centre. The Anderson Cancer Centre have found that by treating cancer aggressively before it has had chance to spread too much (under five metastases in one area constitutes oligometastatic disease), they have achieved survival rates in the region of 30% at ten years (I am actually in touch with a woman called Beverly who was treated by them for metastatic Breast cancer 21 years ago).
(4) Treatments like Cyberknife radiotherapy and TomoTherapy are revolutionising the way metastatic cancer is treated. By the end of 2011, four NHS Hospitals will have Cyberknife, and more will follow. As a result, medics will be able to zap mets as soon as they pop-up. This will delay progression, and the point when chemo is needed.
(5) Scientists now know how cancer cells spread around the body by manipulating the Lox enzyme, and they will soon have a drug that addresses this. If they can stop spread, cancer will cease to pose a problem.

Hello Kaz,

I’m one year down the line from my secondary diagnosis, and fully agree with Dawn’s post. The early days following diagnosis are tough, with lots to come to terms with, but as time has progressed I have definitely come to a calmer state of mind.

I think I am another glass half full person, and I try to concentrate on the present rather than an uncertain future - and instead of thinking I am going to die from this, I handle it by thinking I am going to die with this, hopefully a long time from now.


Hello Kaz
If you have just had a secondary diagnosis I’d imagine you are still in shock and so scared. I was when I was told 3 years ago that my BC had spread and certainly had the ‘terminal’ label firmly attached to me in my own mind. However, as some of the other ladies have said and also what was said to me by my onc was that, it is incurable but it is treatable. I continue to accept that and draw great comfort from all the secondary ladies like Dawn and Belinda who have been living with secondary BC for so many years. Good Luck with all your treatments.
Nicky xx

hi Kaz

I can only echo what has been said already, I think secondary cancer is now thought of more as a chronic illness than terminal. I like to consider myself as ‘living with cancer’ rather than dying of cancer’. Once I had turned my thinking around, mainly thanks to the ladies who have already posted on here, I now have a more positive attitude and intend to join the above ladies on these forums in many years posting about how many years we have ‘notched up’ since our secondary diagnoses!!

Take care, Nicola xxx

I can only agree with what’s been posted already.

Technically, yes it’s terminal but when I was told almost 4 years ago(same time as primary), the onc and surgeon said it was treatable and manageable although not necessarily curable. The way in which they told me was also an important factor in how I regard my secondaries - they weren’t at all gloom and doom and I take a positive attitude about it all and value my new lifestyle, relishing the things I am able to do while I am fit enough.

And I always remember the old knocked-over-by-a-bus scenario. Nobody knows what is round the corner whether they are in perfect health or not. The inspiring stories on here from those who have been living with mets for years help so much too.

Liz x

Hi Kaz, I too am a half glass full sort of person. Yet when I was told about my bone mets 12 years ago I thought that my life was going to end there and then. So many new treatments and drugs are out there that were not available a few years ago. If anything I would say my life is enriched now and I am more comfortable both physically and mentally than I was 12 years ago. I have always tried to take one day at a time whenever possible. Also if your body says REST then I do just that. Keep in touch and let us know how you are coping. Love Val

Hi all I’ve just been dx lung mets but I’m tn is any of you later tn I would love to hear a positive story feel v low at moe just want a pick me up x

thanks for everyones support, i posted it when i first found out and my head was a shed , i am now out of the pit i was in for a week and back to my normal optomistic self,hoping this course of chemo works should know in approx 6 weeks or so, im deff glass half full person so im fine now and its very comforting hearing from all you lovely ladies :slight_smile: i have a terrible cough with my lung mets any advice? doc give me an inhailer, cough med i suck lozengers but nothing helps!
kaz xxxx

chin up laura, but i do know how u feel xxx

Hi Laura
Sorry that you have joined the secondaries ‘club’ - somewhere that none of us want to be or belong to. I don’t have experience of lung mets (I have bone mets) but I do understand just how awful things are for you right now. I was in exactly the same state as you 3 years ago (just about to the day) but, as Kaz has said things do get better - especially when you have a treatment plan in place, it does take a while though. I hope someone else is able to give you more advice about lung mets on here, if not you can do a search to find other threads with lung mets ladies on or start a separate thread asking for advice etc.
Good luck with your treatment and hope you feel more able to cope soon - as I said, it does take a while but we all seem to get there.
Nicky x

Thanks for your reply I’m triple neg so it’s hard to deal with hoping someone who is the same will pop on let me know how there doing x

Hi Laura,
Have you been on the triple negative reurrences/secondaries thread?
You could pick-up some info there and lots of support from the lovely ladies - hope it helps a bit.
Love,Julie x

Julied no I can’t find it I can only find the norm triple neg one

hi Laura
I am er positive but was dx with lung mets and exstensive bone mets in 2007.As I had never had a primary dx it came as a great shock.
I had aggressive chemo,3 FEC followed by 6 TAX and my latest scan shows my lungs to be totally clear.
I am sure when you get your treatment plan and start treatment you will feel more positive.

Love Lucinda xx

lungs clear wow thats encouraging what treatment did u have???

I had chemo,radiotherapy,and have been on femara since.My lungs are now clear, but I still have a mass in the axilla plus bone mets.The lympth nodes mass did not really respond to the chemo so had to have 31 rads.This resulted in some shrinkage and it has become more mobile.hopefully femera will cause it to shrink further,if not surgery is still an option,and I still have the bone mets.I feel lucky that at least i got the all clear for my lungs and the rest is improving.

Lucinda xx

Posted on behalf of new user Susan:

ive recently been dx with bone mets as well. felt like the world had ended to start with but being a naturally optimistic person i am now getting my head round it. since finding all you inspirational ladies on here my positivity for a long and eventful life has soared and i am feeling good about things.