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My mother's breast cancer recurred and is now stage 4. We are both positive for the BRCA2 mutation. I also had breast cancer in 2010. Does my mother's cancer recurrence mean my cancer will come back, too? We were both stage 1 when we were diagnosed.

Mary Foti Profile
Asked by

anonymous

Survivor since 2010 about 8 years
 
  • Thumb avatar default
    anonymous
    Learning About Breast Cancer
    That is very unfortunate news and I am sorry to hear it. I don't think it means that your cancer will return but I think it might be an idea to talk to your doctor about the options to help reduce the chance of it reoccurring. It might be an idea to consider a bi lateral mastectomy if you haven't already. I have stage 2 IDC and don't have the gene but still chose to have a bilateral for my own peace of mind.
    about 8 years Comment Flag
  • Trish Watt Profile
    anonymous
    Learning About Breast Cancer
    Mary, Sorry to hear of the reoccurrence. I never had the test for BRCA2 but I went through 5 years of watching and waiting. The mental roller coaster I was on was more stressful than deciding and having a bi lateral mastectomy. Making that decision literally and physically lifted a big weight off of my shoulders. I had Stage I triple negative breast cancer which is a very aggressive type. Having the mastectomy was the best decision I ever made and I don't regret it at all. I'm sure you are younger than I was when diagnosed but who wants that hanging over your head. When you make the decision, and it has to be yours, you'll know it was the light one. Blessing and prayers for your family.
    about 8 years Comment Flag
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    anonymous
    Survivor since 2012
    I too have the BRCA2 mutation, and have had breast cancer twice -- first in 2000 on one side, then in 2011 on the other side. The second was not a recurrence but a new, more aggressive type of cancer. My mother did not have breast cancer, although she died young (45). It seems the mutation is on my father's side, and my sister also has it. Did your Mom have any radiation or chemo after her diagnoses? Any follow-up therapy like Tamoxifen, Femara, etc.? I know with the mutation it's hard to predict what will happen in the future. There's nothing in particular that points to you having a recurrence, other than the fact that your chances are increased because of the mutation. I've been told to remain diligent -- frequent checks -- and to act immediately on anything suspicious. Good luck to you and your Mom.
    about 8 years Flag
    • Mary Foti Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      Thanks for your response, Evelyn. May I ask when you found out you were BRCA2+? My mother also had two separate types of breast cancer, two years apart, in each breast. Her first occurrence was in 2006 and she had genetic testing then but came...

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      Thanks for your response, Evelyn. May I ask when you found out you were BRCA2+? My mother also had two separate types of breast cancer, two years apart, in each breast. Her first occurrence was in 2006 and she had genetic testing then but came back negative. When her second breast cancer occurred 4 years ago, she should have been re-tested for BRCA because apparently the testing changes all the time (as new mutations are discovered). Her first cancer was stage 1, triple negative, so she had a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation. Her second cancer was stage 1, ER/PR+, HER2-. Her treatment was mastectomy ad tamoxifen. It is her second cancer (the ER+) that has recurred. I had genetic testing after my cancer in 2010 because my geneticist felt my mother probably was BRCA+ but the testing wasn't as advanced as it is now. Sure enough, BART genetic testing confirmed my BRCA2 mutation and my mother was re-tested and of course was positive for the same. Since then, my brother and 2 first cousins have all tested positive as well. I had stage 1, lymph node negative, ER/PR+, HER2- breast cancer also. I was treated with mastectomy (both), hysterectomy and am takin Arimidex. I didn't have chemo because my Oncotype DX score was very low (13) and didn't need radiation because I got clean margins via the mastectomy. My mother did not have the benefit of the more advanced genetic testing (BART testing or the Oncotype DX test. It is possible her cancer was more aggressive than mine, and in retrospect perhaps se should have had chemo again after her second breast cancer instead of only tamoxifen. But it is too late to know the answer to that now, I guess.

      about 8 years Flag
    • Mary Foti Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      Sorry for all the typos! My big thumbs have trouble with this iPhone!

      about 8 years Flag
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      I didn't find out I was BRCA2 positive until the second time I got breast cancer, in October 2011. I first had it in 2000, Stage 1B, no lymph nodes. I had a mastectomy (I wanted to be aggressive) at that time and didn't have chemo, just...

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      I didn't find out I was BRCA2 positive until the second time I got breast cancer, in October 2011. I first had it in 2000, Stage 1B, no lymph nodes. I had a mastectomy (I wanted to be aggressive) at that time and didn't have chemo, just radiation followed by Tamoxifen and Femara for about 8 years. I wasn't tested for the mutation back then, nor was it offered to me. Maybe it just didn't exist at the time.
      When I got the second cancer last fall and they found out after a mastectomy that it was a new cancer and not a recurrence, they suggested I get genetic testing. Sure enough, I have the mutation.
      Of course I'm concerned about the future but I can't dwell on it. I'm very scared for my four children, 3 boys and 1 girl -- especially my daughter, although I know the boys' chances of breast cancer also are higher.
      We haven't told the younger three (19, 17, and 17) because (a) they can't even be tested until they're 18, and (b) I wanted everyone to calm down now that I've finished chemo and have gotten the thumbs up. My oldest is a man, 33, and he and his wife want to start trying to have children. He knows I have the mutation but has not been tested and may never be. I wish he'd be a bit more aggressive, but it's his choice.
      By the way, along with the gene mutation, I found out that my Oncotype was very high -- in the 70's -- and that's why I had chemo. I was Stage 2A only because of the size of my tumor - my lymph nodes were negative.
      Please let me know if you have any other questions. I know it's frightening because the risk of breast cancer and recurrence are so high. Again, just be diligent -- I actually plan to be pretty anal about it and request frequent ultrasounds, CT scans, MRI's, or whatever.

      about 8 years Flag
    • mary anne  zeug Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 1997

      my mother had breast cancer i was cancer in 1995 amastectomy chemo and radiation in 2005 i had a second cancer in the other breast and radiation

      my mom had breast cancer i had breast cancer in 1995 a mastectomy radiation and chemo...

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      my mother had breast cancer i was cancer in 1995 amastectomy chemo and radiation in 2005 i had a second cancer in the other breast and radiation

      my mom had breast cancer i had breast cancer in 1995 a mastectomy radiation and chemo in 2005 the cancer returned to the other breast i had a lumpetomy and radiation and am cancer free right now you must keep checked up even after ten years a new cancer occured frequent exams are the key to the cancer i did have the cancer in my lymp glands and was in stage 1 for the second cancer stage 4 for the first cancer keep checked and your children should be regularly checked

      about 8 years Flag
    • Susan Broderdorp Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2006

      Mary, after my diagnosis, and the following testing of both myself and my mother (who had already been diagnosed and had double mastectomies), my doctor gave me the numbers. An 80% greater chance of returning breast cancer than the general...

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      Mary, after my diagnosis, and the following testing of both myself and my mother (who had already been diagnosed and had double mastectomies), my doctor gave me the numbers. An 80% greater chance of returning breast cancer than the general population. That number was big enough for me to get radical bilateral mastectomies, and a hysterectomy. I'm cancer free almost 6 years now.

      about 8 years Flag
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Good for you, Susan. Thankfully my sister has not yet had breast cancer but will be getting a bilateral mastectomy and hysterectomy this summer. She's 53 and has a lot of living left -- why not remove the risk?

      about 8 years Flag
    • Mary Foti Profile
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2010

      Evelyn, I am glad your sister has made the decision to have the double mastectomy - and believe me, I will be the first to tell you that is not an easy decision to make. But I'm sure you understand that removing the breasts does not "remove the...

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      Evelyn, I am glad your sister has made the decision to have the double mastectomy - and believe me, I will be the first to tell you that is not an easy decision to make. But I'm sure you understand that removing the breasts does not "remove the risk" - it greatly reduces it, but nothing can completely eliminate the risk of recurrence or another cancer. I am sorry you have been through breast cancer twice but I am so glad you're doing well. It is very encouraging to me and I appreciate your words of support.

      about 8 years Flag
    • Thumb avatar default
      anonymous
      Survivor since 2012

      Better late than never, Mary! I know the risk is not completely removed. I stay away from objective statistics these days. My sister has been told that her risk of getting breast cancer will go from 97% to 3%. That sounds a little high on one...

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      Better late than never, Mary! I know the risk is not completely removed. I stay away from objective statistics these days. My sister has been told that her risk of getting breast cancer will go from 97% to 3%. That sounds a little high on one end and a little low on the other. There are other pieces/parts in your body that continue to manufacture hormones, such as your pituitary gland. So again, you're right -- the risk never is completely removed.

      almost 8 years Flag

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