How to help my mum...

Hi all,
Hoping I can get some advice here… a few weeks ago my mum was diagnosed with stage 1 BC. She had a lumpectomy and breast reduction on both sides and a lymph node removed to test. The indication pre-op was that it hadnt spread and this would be it, but now she has been told it has spread and she needs chemo and full mastectomy in 2010. She is obviously v. upset as were not expecting this. Does anyone know what the prognosis is for this kind of cancer / op? Also, she has been told there is no test they can do to check if it has spread elsewhere - is this true?? With xmas coming up, I could really use ideas of how to cheer her up / xmas gifts, or any examples of women who had had this and come through the other side would be helpful.
Thanks so much all.

Hi kitty31

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Best wishes
June, moderator

Hi Kitty so sorry to hear of your Mums diagnosis. I m sorry I have no answers re prognosis.But as someone who was diagnosed and had surgury at this time last year my husband and myself deceided to get christmas out of the way by keeping things as normal as possible and then face whatever comes along. I too had chemo etc and it wasn’t great but hey i’m here to tell the tale. The only way to get the answers you want is to ask the surgeon and oncologist [write them down or like me you will forget]. Meanwhile have a good Christmas and try [very hard i know]to put other stuff out of the way for now.
take care kittyx

Hi Kitty,

Sorry to hear about your Mum. My Mum has cancer too so I know how you and your family must be feeling.

There’s no simple answer about prognosis. Everyone really is different and although there are statistics about types of cancer they don’t mean much to the individual. Your Mum’s medical team probably won’t offer an opinion about prognosis unless she asks. At this stage it is very difficult to predict because a lot depends on how she responds to treatment.

It’s hard to say what tests your Mum can have without knowing what has already been done. Generally, oncologists would ask for a bone scan, MRI and/or ultrasound scans of abdomen and chest. If these have already been done then any spread big enough will have shown up. One of the reasons for chemotherapy is to kill any cancer cells that might be present but not big enough to show up in tests so please be reassured they are doing all they can.

There are plenty of good news stories and you can see them in magazines such as Good Housekeeping, Red etc. and websites such as MacMillan. Our family have decided this year to donate the money we would have spent on presents to a local charity that have been ferrying me and my mum to hospital for treatment. Just let your Mum know you love her and, if you can, that you will help with practical things like housework and shopping when she most needs it. She probably needs to know that she doesn’t have to cope with it on her own.

best wishes for a good outcome. Jan xx

Thank you all for your comments. I will mention to my mum about the scan, and I think we will concentrate on her starting chemo and getting through xmas and new year.
Best wishes to you all, and thanks for taking the time to comment.