Stage 4 cancer is generally considered not to be curable. However, stage 4 breast cancer patients can live for between 10 and 15 years further and in some cases longer depending on a number of factors.
The factors relating to survival include the normal survival rate in terms of percentage of patients, which varies with different types of cancer, the circumstances of the individual and her state of health otherwise and also on the care and treatment that the patient receives.
Stage 4 cancer is the condition in which cancer has spread from its original site to other parts of the body (in which it is said to have metastasized).
The survival rate for cancer is usually expressed in terms of life expectancy in the next one year or the next five years. For instance, a five year survival rate of 40 per cent means that out of every 100 patients diagnosed for that particular kind of cancer, around 40 patients will live for 5 years or longer.
One cause for optimism with breast cancer is that survival rates are in general higher than for many other kinds of cancer. Breast cancer is often detected at an early stage, and this is turn means that more treatment options are available. Stage 1 breast cancer has an excellent survival rate of 98 to 100%. This survival rate does decrease down to around 16 per cent in stage 4.
In general, women are better at surviving cancer than men.
The main factors that govern stage 4 breast cancer survival rates are the age of the patient, her general health, and the availability of medical facilities to treat the disease. For all kinds of cancers, women and young patients have the best survival rates.
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer 16 years ago when she was 42 (and I was 14). She has been stage 4 breast cancer for 13 years when it came back in her bones. She then had a stem cell transplant (in 1997-1998) and the cancer continues to spread throughout her bones (ribs, femur, spine, hip, skull etc) ... But ever so slowly. It is picking up the pace and we are waiting on results that it may (or most likely) have spread to your brain which means that our time with her is limited. But it is a miracle that she is still around. They didn't think she would make it to see me graduate from high school... Then they didn't think she would make it to 50... Well she will be 59 in October of his year... She saw both me and my younger brother graduate from high school and college... She danced at my wedding and she is still here today. Will she see 60 or meet any future grandchildren? Maybe not, but she certainly outlived the expiration date that her doctors originally gave her. Just don't give up hope... No matter how grave the prediction.
My sister has been Stage 4 for about 7 years. The cancer is in her bones: Spine, pelvis, skull, etc. But she is still working, active, raising her kids.
How long are you expected to live with stage 4 breast cancer when it has spread to the neck, lymph nodes, and stomach?