Mum just diagnosed with secondary bone cancer

Hi there, am new to this forum. My mum who is 82 years old was diagnosed with an 8cm lump in her breast last June. All her lymph nodes were diseased and removed. In July a CT scan showed she has secondary bone cancer throughout her body. At the moment her liver is clear. Not sure whether it is inevitable it will spread any further. She is taking Letrozole and is having monthly infusions of Zometa. Her recent blood tests show she is responding well to the drugs. Not really sure what to expect next. Cannot ask the Oncologist in front of my mum as she gets very frightened and does not want to know. I would be very interested to hear from anyone who has been in the same position. She is currently fairly well,she does have lower back pain and has shrunk about 4-5 inches in height. I think she will be having more radiotherpy soon for the lower back area to help with the pain.
Jessica 500

Hi Jessica

Welcome to the forums where I know you will recive support and help from the ‘family’ of forum users and posters here. In the meantime, if you have any questions please do call our helpline on 0808 800 6000 the trained specialist nurses and helpliners are there to support everyone affected by breat cancer not only those with the diagnoses.

Best wishes

Hi Jessica,

So sorry about your Mum but you have come to the right place to get support and advice. I was diagnosed with bone mets in Sept. and have found great comfort from all the ladies with their experience and positivety. Many have kept going for years with bone mets, The radio will help with your Mum’s pain and doesn’t have any side effects.
Love Rosie aka Trash xxx

Hi Rosie,
Thanks for your response. Have read through a lot of the messages and I could not see many people like me writing on behalf of someone else. I hope it is okay to do this?

Hi Jessica, its absolutely fine to ask on behalf of your mum - The diagnosis sounds very scary because of course the cancer has spread but the fact your mum’s liver is clear is hopeful it is just to the bones - I have had secondaries for almost 3 years now - most of the time they have been very stable and I take appropriate medication to keep it so - have had a little hiccup and will be having a small op to a tumor on my lower spine in the new year and should get some relief from the pain it’s giving me. Your mum will be monitored and the oncologist will have lots of “ammunition” to throw at your mum should she need it - I hope this helps a little - there is lots they can do and many of us live long and comfortable lives with bone mets - all the best to you both - Debbie xx

Hi Jessica, my mum is in a similar situation to your mum by the sound of it. my mum was diagnosed with a similar size tumour in September 2010 , it had also grown through her skin and she hadn’t realised the seriousness until blood started to appear on her bra and nightwear, she,s 92 by the way!!! In July of this year she was diagnosed with bone mets in her hip, pelvis and several ribs with signs of it on her upper spine. She was always really strong for her age and could easily out walk me but obviously things have changed dramatically. she is on Letrozole and it has done a fantastic job of shrinking the breast tumour to almost non existent and the oncologist has said that it has probably also slowed down the bone secondaries. She does have side effects taking the Letrozole but is coping well and her spirits are good. For her bones she is taking Bondronat and is also tolerating this well. Like you I thought the worst and was frightened and I suppose deep down I still am scared of what the future will bring but it is true that ladies with secondaries in the bones can go on for many years as it can be managed. My mum has had radiotherapy which has really helped and she no longer suffers with the severe pain that she had prior to diagnosis. She has shrunk and she was never tall to be begin with but it just makes her all the more cute! Can,t really say anymore apart from her courage and strength of character never ceases to amaze me and I love her with all my heart just as you love your mum xx

Hi Jessica
I’m sorry to hear about your Mum, it must be very worrying for you especially once you knew it had spread to her bones. I’m from the other side of the fence and have bone mets so I’d like to re-assure you that treatments such as hormone treatments work very well in the majority of hormone sensitive cases. If you want to read about how many of us with bone mets are coping and what treatments we’re on there is a thread on here called ‘Bone Mets - please join in’ There’s a lot of info from all of our experiences and having bone mets doesn’t mean that it will necessarily spread although each case is individual.
Good Luck to you and your Mum
Nicky x

Hi Jessica,

I’m so sorry to her about your Mum. this is a bit of a tangent, but I understand how difficult is to talk to the oncologist when your mum is present and she doesn’t want to hear any details. We had the same thing recently with my sil (she had cancer but not bc). She did not want to know anything at all. We wrote out a letter which she signed saying that she gave permission for her onc to speak to us without her being there. This really helped. It was good for us and also helped the doctors as it is difficult for them when any info just upsets the patient.
She was the total opposite of me - I wanted to know everything and then went and researched.
Thinking of you and your mum.

Stella x

Hi Emperortooco
Many thanks for your reply. Has really lifted my spirits hearing about your mum of 92. It did worry me a little that maybe more elderly patients would not get as much treatment as someone younger what with some drugs being restricted etc due to costs. I had been torn about whether to book a holiday next year but think maybe we could. Was worried she might go downhill really quickly. I feel a lot more positive now.
Jessica x

Hi Stella,
Thank you for your message. Is a very good idea about a letter to the Oncologist. Will bring tho]id up with her soon.
Thank you everyone for your messages. I do feel a lot more hopeful now.
Jessica x

Hi Debbie
Many thanks for your message. I really thought mum’s situation would deteriorate quickly. Am realising now that she will hopefully go on for some time. She does look very well and hopefully the radiotherapy will help her back. Will see Oncologist again early Feb so hopefully she will not have too long to wait. She is being seen every three months.
Hope all goes well with your op on your back. All the best.
Janice x

Hello, My mother is also 84 and has secondary lung cancer. I also would love to talk with someone about the prognosis but as mum is always with me it is impossible so I feel somewhat in the dark too. My mum’s chemo has made her very unwell, much worse than before she started it so it is good that your mum is coping well.