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Family Support
Questions about breast cancer & family support.
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AskedPublicly Submitted Question
5/29/2017My sister was diagnosed at the age of 50 with Triple Negative Inflammatory Breast Cancer. She underwent chemo, double mastectomy and radiation. Lymph nodes were clear and no other indication of tumors. Nine months later, it had metastisized to her lung, liver and lymph nodes. Further chemo shrunk the tumors on her lungs, the lesions on her liver and lymph nodes were gone. She is now taking a break as her white blood cell count was quite low. She is scared, sad, angry ..and so am I. I read that her type of cancer is very rare, but also that TNBC is most often in African, Hispanic or BRCA + ...SHE IS NONE OF THOSE! Genetic testing was negative for the gene. We lost our mom to a rare ovarian cancer the year before. I don't know how to support her...I didn't have time to mourn the loss of our mom because my sister got sick. I didn't know how to support mom and she was gone in four months from diagnosis to death. Now my sister, my only sister is fighting for her life and I wish so badly I could take some of her emotional pain away from her. I wish there was something, anything that I could do to make this relentless cancer go away. I'm so lost right now.
RepliedJHU's Breast Center Reply
5/30/2017You are dealing with a great loss- losing your mom-- and now are faced with losing your sister in the future. triple negative has a reputation for wanting to recur. inflammatory breast cancer upon diagnosis is stage 3, so it is not surprising that it has raised its ugly head now once again as stage 4. the probability was very very high this could happen. she may not have been told that though. intersting that she tested negative for a BRCA gene mutation as these usually are triple negative patients who have a family history of breast or ovarian cancer. that said, tell her you share her angry and distress but focus on spending quality time together and not spend it mad because it will drain you both of the energy and stamina needed to deal with what lies ahead. your mom is watching over you both. see if there are any clinical trials she is a candidate for. this is her best shot at lengthening her longevity. make sure her affairs are in order. wishes known. you may not be able to mourn the loss of your mom until much later. meet with a psychotherapist at the cancer center where she is getting treatment. both of you go together.

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