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Question about a friend....

gizzyluv's picture
gizzyluv
Posts: 144
Joined: Feb 2013

Hi, my name is Kris. I joined the site when my husband Jason was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer in January. I have found so much support here & so many answers to the many questions I've had, so I'm hoping now to get an answer to a question that has to do with a good friend of mine. She is a breast cancer survivor, but just recently was told that she has cancerous cells around her brain that are causing her to be very unsteady & causing her to pass out with terrible headaches. The doctors are still doing tests to see if they can figure out exactly what is going on, but I thought that maybe someone here may have had a similar experience & could tell me what kind of treatments, etc. were used?.....Thanks in advance!

arnie05's picture
arnie05
Posts: 6
Joined: Aug 2005

Hi Kris,

  I'm probably not the best qualified person to respond, but I noticed your post while I was looking for information about my brother-in-law's stage 4 glioma, and I saw that your request had gone unanswered for several weeks.  So here goes . . .   I joined when I was diagnosed with Stage 1 colon cancer in August 2005, so I have some idea what you and your husband are going through.  My thoughts are with you both.  Remember that although cancers come in types, each one seems to have its own "identity," if I can put it that way.  My surgeon explained the frequency of my checkups as a consequence of "this talent your cells have demonstrated."  That's totally weird, but still somehow true.  So we have to discover what our cancers are and how they work by comparison with other people's experience even while knowing there may be some important differences built into our own cellular makeup. 

     The exact nature of your friend's breast cancer may guide the treatment options they try for the brain cancer because your friend's situation may be a metastasis of the original breast cancer.  As you certainly learned with your husband's situation, different cancer types have tendencies to metastasize into specific organs.  Colon cancer often seems to spread to nearby organs, the liver, kidney, etc.  Unfortunately, the brain is sometimes a place where breast cancer cells hide even when the original cancer has been defeated. I lost one of my best friends and colleagues to that pattern a year after my cancer was diagnosed.

     If the cells were literally discovered "around her brain," the doctors might be talking about microRNA "markers" that the cancer throws off into the cerebrospinal fluid that circulates around the brain and spinal cord.  The researchers apparently can use them to figure out what kind of hidden cancer is producing them.  Here's a PubMed link that contains an abstract describing the test:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22492962

That's way more technical than I'm qualified to pronounce on, but if that's what your friend's doctors are working with, it sounds as if they are pretty advanced, technically, and trying to zero in on the exact nature of the brain cancer before moving forward.

     I hope that helped at least a little.  Being there for your friend is so important--I'm glad she has you for an ally. 

--Arnie

 

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