• Stage 5

    Asked by Jenann on Friday, May 7, 2021

    Stage 5

    My sister in law was recently diagnosed with stage 5 breast cancer. I would like to helpful in some way, any ideas? My brother and her have 2 kids. The girl is 19 and attending college and their boy is 17 , a junior. Girl lives in dorm.

    15 Answers from the Community

    15 answers
    • MarcieB's Avatar
      MarcieB

      Gee, I have not heard of stage 5? What kind of treatment is she going to experience? That can make a difference in how you can help. Lots of us here have been through various chemo treatments, surgeries, radiation - we can help you anticipate what she may be going through. Do you live close by?

      about 1 month ago
    • legaljen1969's Avatar
      legaljen1969

      I had not ever heard of Stage 5 either. There are lots of great people here who have been through almost anything and everything you could possibly imagine. All of our stories are different, but we all have insight that we developed from our own stories. Some are more medically knowledgeable or have more experience with the technical terminology. Others will share more personal life experience related tips. Take what you can use and don't get too wrapped up in any of it.

      More than anything, just be a listening ear and a safe place to land. Know there will be ups and downs. Some days your friend will be thankful to be alive and other days she may not feel so thankful.

      about 1 month ago
    • legaljen1969's Avatar
      legaljen1969

      Oops. I mean your sister-in-law.

      This is no easy road for anyone. We are here for you and for her if she wants to come and share a little of her journey with us.

      about 1 month ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      There’s no stage 5. Stage 4 (IV) is the most serious stage.

      As said by MarcieB and legaljen1969, we’re all here to help.

      about 1 month ago
    • CrazyHarry's Avatar
      CrazyHarry

      Like the others have said there is no stage 5 but my mom got it bad at 35. Which may have been the elusive stage 5.

      Best thing you can do is be supportive. Help your brother be the best caregiver he can.

      Having been through 2 cancers and a spinal fusion it really helped to have a super supportive wife/caregiver.

      My mom, grandma both had young onset metastatic breast cancer and my daughter at age 32 was just diagnosed and treated for the same.

      Please feel free to reach out to me anytime

      about 1 month ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      CrazyHarry, I’m sorry your daughter is going through this. I wish her and you all the best.?

      about 1 month ago
    • ChildOfGod4570's Avatar
      ChildOfGod4570

      Hmmm, there isn't any such thing as Stage 5 cancer as far as I know. Perhaps it's a typo, meaning you intended to say Stage 4? Anyway, as the above posters have said, we are all here for you and your sister-in-law any time you need us. HUGS and God bless.

      about 1 month ago
    • MarcieB's Avatar
      MarcieB

      I am wondering if your sister-in-law meant to say, "GRADE 5" instead of stage 5? Because that could be possible. It probably would indicate her cancer is aggressive, but not, necessarily in it's last stages. Grade and Stage are different.

      about 1 month ago
    • omaalyce's Avatar
      omaalyce

      I looked it up and according to WebMD and several other sites the Stages are 0-4 thus 5 stages.

      Stage 0 means there's no cancer, only abnormal cells with the potential to become cancer. This is also called carcinoma in situ.
      Stage I means the cancer is small and only in one area. This is also called early-stage cancer.
      Stage II and III mean the cancer is larger and has grown into nearby tissues or lymph nodes. Stage IV means the cancer has spread to other parts of your body. It's also called advanced or metastatic cancer.

      I had never heard of it either so I went searching.

      As the others have said we are here for you and your family. We have all had our own experiences to draw from and at all different stages. The What Next Blog site has a lot of good information as well.

      I have found this site to be so accepting and helpful. We support each other and care for each other. We answer all questions, and always remind each other that our responses are exactly that "ours". Not everyone has the same reactions but our comments are about what could or might happen. We share what we have learned during our journeys in the hopes that we can help each other. I have personally learned many things on this site and highly recommend What Next to my family and friends.

      about 1 month ago
    • ChicagoSandy's Avatar
      ChicagoSandy

      There's no "Grade 5" either--just 1, 2, or 3. "Grade" is a measure of the aggressiveness of the cells themselves, regardless of stage. "Stage" refers to where the cancer cells are (and often size of the primary tumor itself).

      Stage IV is the most advanced stage--metastatic. ("Stage V," if it even exists, would be post-mortem). One can possibly live with well-treated Stage IV for years before it becomes resistant to treatment and finally terminal. (Perhaps the "terminal" stage, when all available treatments have failed, might be mistakenly referred to as "Stage V," though I've never heard so).

      BTW, "Stage" is always referred to by Roman, not Arabic, numerals; "Grade," with Arabic, not Roman, numbers.

      What you describe, omaalyce, as "Stage 0" is really atypical hyperplasia (ADH if in the duct, ALH if in the lobe).

      "Carcinoma in situ," aka Stage 0, is actual Grade 1, 2, or 3 cancer cells found only in the duct (DCIS) or lobe (LCIS) and not elsewhere in the breast or body (hence "in situ" and not "invasive"). They are definitely cancer cells, more often hormone-receptor-negative than invasive Stage I cells (IDC or ILC), and they don't get tested for HER2 expression because unless they mutate, they are cytologically different and therefore theoretically incapable of breaking out into & invading the breast tissue (i.e. invasive). Sometimes they can even be Grade 3.

      ADH & ALH is most often treated with either "watchful waiting" or simple excision (not always as extensive as a lumpectomy for invasive tumors), because the atypical cells haven't yet consolidated into a tumor. Increasingly, ADH cells are being tested for hormone-receptors and if positive for them, treated with endocrine therapy even without surgery.

      That's why, even though many oncologists refer to Stage 0 as "pre-cancer," surgery is almost always performed to lower the odds of cells mutating into becoming invasive. Grade 3, especially if accompanied by "comedo necrosis" (dead cells with a central dark dot resembling blackheads) and/or in a relatively small breast, is more often than Grade 1 or 2 treated with mastectomy rather than lumpectomy--as Grade 3 cells have a higher proliferation rate and therefore higher likelihood of mutating into invasive cells. Sometimes a mastectomy for Stage 0 cancer reveals ADH or ALH elsewhere in the breast.

      about 1 month ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      omaalyce, yes, there are five stages, but there is no stage 5. Your list does not include a stage 5. “Stage 5” is death.

      about 1 month ago
    • Carool's Avatar
      Carool

      ChicagoSandy, thank you. I hadn’t seen your comment until after I posted my recent one.

      And I didn’t know that stage is always written in Roman numerals, and grade always in Arabic. Good to know.

      about 1 month ago
    • ChicagoSandy's Avatar
      ChicagoSandy

      I know that when I was awaiting biopsy, I assumed that it was at worst DCIS because the anomaly was seen on my mammogram, not as a lump nor deformity like dimpling or nipple inversion. But not all invasive breast cancer starts as atypia, progresses to in situ, and then to invasive. Often, the cells start out with the cytology of invasive carcinoma--but if Stage I, it's still considered very early. I didn't know that till after I got diagnosed and met with my care team.

      So when I got the call that I had IDC, Grade 2, I first freaked out, then beat myself up for not having a mammogram sooner (even though my previous, "normal" mammo was just a year earlier), then blamed the previous radiologist for "missing" my tumor on that prior mammo. Nothing could have been further from the truth. (And as far as "grade" goes, neither do cells start out as Grade 1 and evolve to 2 or 3--especially not due to missing a timely diagnosis).

      about 1 month ago
    • Dltmoll's Avatar
      Dltmoll

      Volunteer to do specific things that you can do for them. Bring a meal on days after chemo, offer to pick up items at the store, or now that the weather is turning offer to do some planting for them. Anything that you feel comfortable with. Is your niece local? If so, you could plan occasional outings with her and your nephew to just give them a chance to talk if they want to. Be available and supportive, it will be much appreciated.

      about 1 month ago
    • petieagnor's Avatar
      petieagnor

      A lot depends on your relationship with S-I-L. Be supportive. My chemo was 4 hrs. so people sat with me to give my husband a break. I found that to be most helpful. Does she like to read. Get her some new paperbacks. Vacuuming was hard, so my daughter did that until I could. Bring in a casserole that just has to warmed up. Listen closely. Listen to what she is not saying, too.

      about 1 month ago

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