Metastic bone disease

Hi all- new to the boards and looking for some help please. Been with my mum today to the hospital to find out she has metastatic bone didease and only months to live. She had breast cancer and single mastectomy 10 years ago and is now 69…I am devastated she has morphine for the pain…but has lost 3 stone in two months and is very weak and cannot walk more than a couple of steps. I need to undertand???
Is there anything that can be done?
Will her bones break?
Months …does this mean 2 or 10?
Finance - my dad still works is 74 part time can he stop and get financial help?
What else can I do?
My gran, my mum and two aunties all the same breast then bone cancer …should I be tested?
Any help guidance thoughts would be appreciated cannot sleep…


Hi bigdoll and welcome to the boards.
Unfortunately BC can come back at any point, something that catches us all out when it happens, especailly after such a long time as 10 years. It sounds like your Mum may have had these for a while if she has been in pain and you don’t say how extensive her bone mets are. From my experience (I also have bone mets) they are usually treatable even if they have also spread to any soft tissue as well ie different organs. The usual course of treatment is possibly chemotherapy, or hormone tablets if her cancer is hormone receptive, or Herceptin if her cancer is HER receptive. If she is in pain radiotherapy can be given to the specific area but I think that would depend on how extensive her mets are. I don’t have any experience of radiotherapy in this case so maybe someone else will be along to help. I think you need to ask her oncologist some of the questions you have asked here as it’s not clear why she has been told she has only months to live. Many of us are living considerably longer than that having had our diagnoses but each of us, and the extent of our disease, is different. As to finance your Mum will be entitled to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) which will help a bit - you will need to speak to your GP or MacMillan Nurse to find out what you need to do. As to what you do, you may want to investigate any genetic connection but that would be up to you to decide.
Sorry I can’t be more specific but I think you need to find out a bit more when you next see your Mum’s oncologist. If you haven’t got an appointment I would insist on one asap so you know if any treatment has been planned etc as it can all be very overwhelming when you are first told and it’s only afterwards that all these questions come up.
Good Luck and please come back with anything else you want to ask, I’m sure someone else will be more helpful than I have been!

Hi bigdoll,

From what you say this is all very new so I assume your mum hasn’t started on any treatments as yet. Have they made another appointment to discuss this with her and does she want you to go with her? I won’t repeat what nicky has already said but I imagine she will be offered bisphosphonates to strengthen the bones and repair some of the damage caused by the cancer. I am a bit surprised they have said she has months to live unless they know of further spread. I was diagnosed with cancer 20 years ago and since 2002 have had extensive bone mets. There is a lot they can do so don’t despair. I have heard of other oncologists say to patients they only have months to live and personally I think that is wrong unless they are very sure.

Nicky says you can claim DLA but unfortunately this is not so in your mum’s case as she is over 65 and to claim DLA you have to be under 65 when you start a claim. I think I am right in saying her husband can claim attendants allowance but a macmillan nurse or social welfare officer at the hospital will be able to tell you for sure and help her complete the forms.

Have they done an MRI scan on your mum’s spine? Once they know exactly what damage is done there are things that they can do. In some cases there is surgery and I am sure some of the ladies here who have had that will be along to tell you about that.

It sounds like you will have a lot of questions on her next visit so try to write them down as they occur to you - it always helps at appointments to have them written down so you don’t forget anything.


Your Mum can claim Attendance Allowance under the special rules and will automatically get £71.xx a week. A macmillnan advisor will be able to

Thanks for all your comments and kind words- the disease is all over and not confined to one area- i will write down the questions it was such a shock I could not think straight she is in lots of pain and taking so many tablets… will come back soon.