Ask an Expert: View a Question

Ask an Expert is a free question-and-answer service about breast cancer and breast health that is available on weekends. If you'd like to ask a question or comment, please visit us again on Saturday or Sunday. In the meantime, please search the existing topics using the search tool at the top of the page. It's quite possible that one of our many existing topics already addresses your question.

If you would like a consultation with a breast specialist at the Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center, call 443-997-8282. It is possible to get an appointment for a second opinion within a few days of contacting us.

We hope you find the information helpful!.

ForumQuestionsAsk a Question
Family Support
Questions about breast cancer & family support.
162 This functionality is disabled from time to time due to volume.

AskedPublicly Submitted Question
5/22/2014My mom is a Stage 4 Breast Cancer patient of 8 years. She did not get treatment until the tumor has ulcerated and caused a visible sore. By that time the tumor had took over the entire breast tissue and spread to every bone in her body. She underwent hormone and radiation therapy. After two years of treatment and when the tumor was finally removed from her breast, a CT scan showed numerous cancer lesions in her liver, two of significant size and many more (This was three months ago). Of course, she still has cancer in her spine and almost every bone in her body. She has decided to not continue treatment and has been off treatment since the results of her scans (3 months ago) Since that time she has gotten weaker and worse. She is by no means bed bound, but her motivation and body's ability to do her normal routine has deteriorated. Any advice on what her prognosis is (ultimately I know) and what to expect? Any advice or input would be appreciated? Thanks.
RepliedJHU's Breast Center Reply
5/22/2014It must be incredibly difficult to watch your mom slowly leaving you but that is what is happening. over time she will likely start losing weight and telling you that food tastes like paper-- a classic sign that her body is saying there is no need to nourish it any longer.don't try to force feed her either. it won't help her. really important to get her in for a palliative care consultation with a palliative care oncologist who specializes in end of life care with a focus on symptom management and quality of life preservation. hospice also would be wise. she is a candidate now for it. they can come to her home. make sure her affairs are in order and her wishes known. this requires documentation. her skin may turn orange in the coming weeks due to the tumors in the liver. she is at high risk of a bone fracture so safety when up and ambulating is very important too. at some point not too far in the future she will be in bed and staying there. if there are people-- family or friends-- who she wants to see now is the time to gather them while she is still well enough to enjoy their company and commnicate with them. hospice is also important for you too. they can provide you support as this all is happening to you as well dear.

Please note: This service is not intended to provide primary medical advice concerning specific medical care or treatment. Ask an Expert is a free service operated by health care professionals at the Johns Hopkins Avon Foundation Breast Center. Due to the volume of questions and their complexity, there are times when medical oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists or oncology nurses are consulted for their input. These individuals volunteer their time for this service and will respond as soon as they are able. Please do not post or send the same question to us in multiple locations or categories.

The contents of this portion of the website cannot be used as a substitute for a consultation with your doctor or other healthcare provider. It also may not represent the opinions of other Johns Hopkins professionals. It is a free service performed on volunteer time and intended to provide feedback to questions posted by consumers however should not be used as a directive or instructions to now follow. Seeing your own medical provider is always important in getting your needs and questions addressed. In the majority of cases, a clinical examination, review of pathology slides and xrays, along with other medical information is needed to truly provide a consultative service. If you wish to receive a formal consultation with our physicians please call 443-997-8282 for surgical appointments and 410-955-8964 for medical or radiation oncology appts. For breast imaging, call 410-955-4100.


© The Johns Hopkins University, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and Johns Hopkins Health System, All rights reserved.