Out of the blue diagnosis

Hi there,


Please forgive me if I ramble, but I’m a bit confused and upset. 


I’ve just been told that my mum has secondary cancer and it has spread to her liver and bones. She’s going for a full bone scan this week to see the full extent of it. She didn’t have any symptoms and just went for a routine mammogram. And then there it is. 


I’m at uni (again) and I’m away from where she is and I don’t know enough about things to know who or what to believe. She’s starting hormone treatment and some anti-body thing for her bones. What I don’t understand is that the breast tumour was only 12mm. Does that mean it’s a really aggressive one that will spread fast? Or was it just unlucky? If she’s not getting chemotherapy is that better or worse? The doctor said the usual life expectancy is about 3 years. Do the doctors tend to over or under-estimate? I’ve looked on the internet (dangerous I know) and I’ve seen different people saying that what she has will normally kill in 5.5 months (medical type websites) and other places (personal blogs etc) say that they’ve had longer than 5 years. I don’t know what to do or what to believe.  I’m not ready to let her go yet. Is she going to be in pain? Is she going to suffer? I’m so scared she’s just going to suffer and then be gone.


Please can anyone help me get my head around this? She’s being brave and I want to be strong for her but at the same time I just feel completely bewildered and as if I don’t know what to do about anything.


Sorry if I upset anyone but I have no experience with this at all and I’m just feeling lost. 

Hi avaadora1

Welcome to the BCC discussion forums where I am sure you will get lots of good, honest support from the many informed users of this site who will be along soon to offer you that support.

In the meantime I have put for you below the link to one of BCC’s publications you might find helpful to read about secondary breast cancer.  Also, I think you might find it helpful to give our helpline a call and have a chat with one of the staff there.  They’re here to offer both you and your mum practical and emotional support.  Calls are free, 0808 800 6000 lines open Mon-Fri 9-5 and Sat 10-2.


Take care,

Jo, Moderator

Hi avaadora, I am sorry your mum has had this worrying diagnosis; it’s a hard thing to deal with for the whole family.

I have bone mets and have been living with them for 2 years now. Many others who contribute to these forums are living a good quality of life with a secondaries diagnosis. It’s worth having a browse to read about people just getting on with things while having treatments. Of course we all know where it will end but meanwhile we try to make the most of what we have at the present moment. It’s unpredictable and each person has a different story to tell of how the disease progresses, periods of stability, setbacks and successes of treatment (the successes are about keeping things stable for longer). It is impossible to say how your mum will get on but it sounds as if she is having the standard treatment designed to give her the best chances. There are several hormone treatment options. If the first one doesn’t work well there are others down the line as well as chemo. I have not had chemo at this point but others on the forum are having chemo. Your mum may also need radiotherapy at some point. She may need pain relief, which is very effective. There is no need for her to be in a lot of pain at any time.

My daughter is at uni and I know she would like to know what to do too! The best thing she can do for me is to get on with her life and be her lovely self. I wouldn’t want her to drop everything or put her life on hold. We have talked and been sad together and I know she is there for me when I might need her for anything. At the moment I enjoy watching her going out into the world and love it when she is back here with us sharing times.

Your mum is very lucky to have you in her corner.

All the best

Ruth x

Hi there, I’m sorry to read this. It must be hard for you being away from your Mum right now. :heart:

The average life expectancy for my cancer was 2-3 years when I googled just after my diagnosis. But I’m still here ten years later. I was diagnosed with cancer and bone spread together in 2003 when I was just in my 40’s. I had hormonal treatments to start with and I didn’t have chemo until 5 years later.

There are many hormonal treatments and many chemotherapies out there for breast cancer which has spread. There’s also some good pain relief drugs.

Don’t worry about upsetting us, :smileyhappy: drop in anytime you need some help and support. Would your Mum find these forums helpful too?

Take Care, both of you, xx

Hi,avaadora,so sorry to hear about your mum. I second the comments from the lovely ladies on the forum. As Belinda has said pop in any time for a chat,advice or a cyber hug.take care and hugs to you both,Helen xx