Recently diagnosed with SBC in the breastbone

hi.  I was  diagnosed with breast cancer in April.   I had a mammoplasty  then pathology showed that it had spread to the lymph-node and the tumour was twice the size as originally thought along with other tumours which were taken out. I have DCIS  left in the breast and a mastectomy was planned followed by chemo and radio.  however after a routine CT and bone scan followed by sternum biopsies it was diagnosed that I had secondary breast cancer in the whole sternum.  Removing the sternum was discussed as an option but due to the fact this is too much of a huge operation they are going to pursue chemotherapy followed by radiotherapy then Tamoxifen and bone strengthening drugs.  Chemo will  hopefully start in a few weeks as there has been a delay to this due to skin necrosis from my original mammoplasty which has now been treated with a skin graft and is healing.

   I’m in a bit of a mess at the moment after this recent diagnosis as I hadn’t realised until now  that my cancer is incurable.

  I am 46, My husband left me 18 months ago and I have two girls aged 8 and 12.

  Any advice that anyone can give would be much much appreciated to help me deal with what’s going on at the moment and more info on life expectancy xx


So sorry that you gave to join us in the secondaries part of the forum - none of us want to be here! However we are supportive and knowledgeable bunch so someone can usually help out with any questions. Although you’ve come to the right area about what treatments you may be habing there is normally a lot more activity in the Living with SBC section, particularly in the Bone Mets please join in thread. The majority of ladies with SBC have bone mets and some have other mets as well. I had a diagnosis of bond mets over 7 years ago and have since had chemo, hormone tablets and bone strengthening drugs. When my mets spread to my liver in 2013 I changed treatments as my receptor status had changed and since then I have had tablet chemo and finally intravenous chemo. This sounds like a long list of treatments but for the most part (nearly 5 years) I just had tablets and occasional, six monthly, visits to my oncologist. It is a huge shock to find out you have SBC particularly when you’ve only recently found out you had primary BC. There are other ladies on here who god had a similar double whammy diagnosis. As to life expectancy we are all different and we react differently to the treatments we have. The life expectancy figures quoted by many doctors are just that - figures and are based on old data that doesn’t encompass newer treatments. I’ve always found its best not to ask! I think all of us have found once we have a treatment plan in place we are more able to cope with this diagnosis but give yourself time, it’s a huge shock. 

Do check out the bone mets thread and introduce yourself on there, you can always copy and paste the post you’ve already written here as it gives a lot of info for any of the ladies who may have had similar operations or experiences. 

Nicky x

Hi there BJH, I agree with all of Nicky’s post. I was diagnosed with BC and bone Mets after my hip spontaneously fractured but this was in 2003 so I have been living with this for a long time, twelve years. I use one crutch but manage, just wanted to let you know there are many treatments out there for you. Good Luck, Best Wishes, Belinda. X


Along with the support you have here, please feel free to call our helpliners as they are here with further practical and emotional support for you on 0808 800 6000, lines are open tomorrow 10-2 and weekdays 9-5

I am posting a link to the secondary support and information from BCC which I hope you will find helpful:

Take care

Lucy BCC

Thank you so much.  Glad I came on here today, although I posted in the wrong section, I will certainly join the thread you recommend.  Thank you all so much again xx

Hi BJH sorry to hear about your situation. I was diagnosed in 2012 with sternum and spine Mets. They thought it was just in the sternum to start with which is classed as local recurrence. When they saw the spine met it is classed as distant spread. So I think you are in quite a good position prognosis wise. There are lots of treatments especially as I assume you are ER pos. my bone mets have remained stable. do hope you av family and friends to support you. This forum is very good too for chatting to people who have been through it. Take care xx

Hi, I was diagnosed in 2013 and had a wide local incision followed by radiotherapy. A trace was found in only 1 of 15 lymph nodes so we opted against chemo at that time. I was then put on anastrozole. I develop pain in the lower sternum in November 2014 and underwent numerous tests until diagnoses in February 2015. I had 6 cycles of chemo [FEc] plus the bone strengthening drug Zometa every month. A PET scan  at the end of chemo found that the chemo had worked and there was no trace of the cancer. However the feeling is that some of the cancer cells may be just stunned [!] and the original proposal to remove part of the sternum will still go ahead. It is anticpated that they will remove 2/3 of the lower part of the sternum [which is in 2 parts] and reconstruct with a Gore - Tex patch. I am booked into Guys hospital in London for this procedure on 28th October and I expect to be in hospital for 7 days. This will not prevent a cancer appearing somewhere else but I pray it wont.


Since finishing chemo on 11 August i have continued to experience side effects to the drug. I still have a lack of taste  and mouth ulcers, have grotty finger nails and a loss of confidence. But on the plus side I lost over a stone in weight and my hair is beginning to grow back.


So good luck BJH - there IS a light at the end of the tunnel




Hi there, I was diagnosed with mets to sternum 3.5 years ago, since then I have had progression to liver, but have been well throughout and only stopped working in March this year. No one has an expiry date stamped on them and statistics on life expectancy do not deal with individuals. There are lots of treatment options to keep you stable for many years to come xx