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Old 12-29-2014, 01:27 PM   #1
bejuce
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Question on brain mets

Hi HER-2ers,

I have some questions about brain mets to those of you that know about and follow the literature:

1. What is the likelihood that one has brain mets but no other mets?
2. Has anyone found brain mets without having a headache as a symptom?
3. What is the likelihood of a brain met finding 5 years post diagnosis?

I ask because I had a vertigo episode when moving my head from one side to another in my pillow the other morning and am trying to determine whether this is an isolated incident accompanied by a feeling of a heavy head and a cold that I feel is trying to attack me, or whether I should bring this up with my doctors.

Thanks!

Bejuce
__________________
ER+ (30%)/PR-/HER-2+, stage 3

Diagnosed on 02/18/09 at 38 with a huge 12x10 cm tumor, after a 6 month delay. Told I was too young and had no risk factors. Found swollen node during breastfeeding.
March-August 09: neo-adjuvant chemo, part of a trial at Stanford (4 DD A/C, 4 Taxotere with daily Tykerb), loading dose of Herceptin
08/12/09 - bye bye boobies (bilateral mastectomy)
08/24/09 - path report shows 100 % success in breast tissue (no cancer there, yay!), 98 % success in lymphatic invasion, and even though 11/13 nodes were still positive, > 95 % of the tumor in them was killed. Hoping for the best!
September-October 09: rads with daily Xeloda
02/25/10 - Cholecystectomy
05/27/10 - Bone scan clear
06/14/10 - CT scan clear, ovarian cyst found
07/27/10 - Done with Herceptin!
02/15/11 - MVA-BN HER-2 vaccine trial
03/15/11 - First CA 15-3: 12.7 and normal, yay!
10/01/11 - Bone scan and CT scan clear, fatty liver found
now on Tamoxifen and Aspirin


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Old 12-29-2014, 01:39 PM   #2
Lucy
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Re: Question on brain mets

I can't speak to the brain mets but I'm a firm believer of giving your doctor all the information you can - even if it turns out to be an isolated incident. If you don't have a scheduled appointment, call the office and see if they think you need to come in. Better safe than sorry. I hope it is nothing more serious than a cold coming on.
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Old 12-29-2014, 01:45 PM   #3
StephN
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Re: Question on brain mets

Hello,
Hope your "symptom" is due to something else like the cold, being tired, etc.

1. The stat for brain as first site of HER2 mets used to be pegged at around 10%, but I have not looked for an update.

2. Many members here have reported NO symptoms, including headache, when our brain mets were discovered. As a first mets site, there usually have been some symptoms, but not always.

3. My brain mets were noticed at just 5 years past diagnosis, but I had already been stage IV.
__________________
"When I hear music, I fear no danger. I am invulnerable. I see no foe. I am related to the earliest times, and to the latest." H.D. Thoreau
Live in the moment.

MY STORY SO FAR ~~~~
Found suspicious lump 9/2000
Lumpectomy, then node dissection and port placement
Stage IIB, 8 pos nodes of 18, Grade 3, ER & PR -
Adriamycin 12 weekly, taxotere 4 rounds
36 rads - very little burning
3 mos after rads liver full of tumors, Stage IV Jan 2002, one spot on sternum
Weekly Taxol, Navelbine, Herceptin for 27 rounds to NED!
2003 & 2004 no active disease - 3 weekly Herceptin + Zometa
Jan 2005 two mets to brain - Gamma Knife on Jan 18
All clear until treated cerebellum spot showing activity on Jan 2006 brain MRI & brain PET
Brain surgery on Feb 9, 2006 - no cancer, 100% radiation necrosis - tumor was still dying
Continue as NED while on Herceptin & quarterly Zometa
Fall-2006 - off Zometa - watching one small brain spot (scar?)
2007 - spot/scar in brain stable - finished anticoagulation therapy for clot along my port-a-catheter - 3 angioplasties to unblock vena cava
2008 - Brain and body still NED! Port removed and scans in Dec.
Dec 2008 - stop Herceptin - Vaccine Trial at U of W begun in Oct. of 2011
STILL NED everywhere in Feb 2014 - on wing & prayer
7/14 - Started twice yearly Zometa for my bones
Jan. 2015 checkup still shows NED
2015 Neuropathy in feet - otherwise all OK - still NED.
Same news for 2016 and all of 2017.
Nov of 2017 - had small skin cancer removed from my face. Will have Zometa end of Jan. 2018.
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Old 12-29-2014, 04:21 PM   #4
europa
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Re: Question on brain mets

I get dizzy spells sometimes and I have had brain mris and nothing was found. Turns out it's a side effect of tamoxifen
__________________
DX 10/2011
PET Scan + MRI 10/2011
Lumpectomy 11/11/11
Stage 2B +++ ER+(10%), PR+(5%), HER2+++(1 positive node, 1 micromets to second node)
AC started 12/2011 ended 1/2012
Taxol + Herceptin weekly for 12 weeks ended 4/2012
30 zaps of radiation done 6/2012
Tamoxifen 6/2012
every 3 weeks of Herceptin for another year.
Metformin Trial 8/12
10/12 MRI- CLEAR
01/13 BRAIN MRI- CLEAR!
01/13 Neck MRI- CLEAR!
FINISHED HERCEPTIN 1/9/2013...Woot Woot
Starting Walter Reed Vaccine Trial 2/13
CT Scans + ultrasound of abdomen CLEAR-5/13
02/2015 through 11/2015 emergency D&Cs for Tamoxifen induced uterine polyps which caused uncontrollable hemorrhaging
12/2015 blood clot to left leg caused by Tamoxifen. No longer taking it. On Xarelto, a blood thinner
12/2015 Ablation to prevent hemorrhaging from potential issues with Tamoxifen residue in my system
1/2016 continuing journey without hormonal therapy. Reevaluating the option of a hysterectomy and oopherectomy.
4/1/2018 2mm stroke. Yes, stroke! No cause ever found but they believe it was a migraine that went bonkers and created a tiny clot. No deficits. I was back to normal with 24hrs. Now on baby aspirin for life.
7/27/2018 hysterectomy and oopherectomy
01/07/2019 Mastectomy and expanders put in
3/22/2019 Vtach, almost died. Cause unknown.
7/22/2019 New perky boobs put in
7/21/2020 Off of all drugs but a baby aspirin because of the stroke in 2018.


www.mychemobag.org
www.facebook.com/mychemobag

8 YEARS NED
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Old 12-29-2014, 04:57 PM   #5
Pat94
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Re: Question on brain mets

I was given a brain MRI recently because I had unending nausea; it seems there is a spot in the brain that can cause it. Fortunately, it was all good and just a few days later enough of the chemo wore off I got my appetite back, started eating, and the nausea disappeared.
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Old 12-30-2014, 10:54 PM   #6
bejuce
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Re: Question on brain mets

Thanks ladies, this community is always so helpful and supportive, truly my lifeline! I emailed my oncologist at Stanford and she wants me to get an MRI to be sure. I think it was probably a weird head cold, Tamoxifen SE or holiday stress, but better safe than sorry! I'll keep you posted.

Happy and Healthy New Year to all!

Bejuce
__________________
ER+ (30%)/PR-/HER-2+, stage 3

Diagnosed on 02/18/09 at 38 with a huge 12x10 cm tumor, after a 6 month delay. Told I was too young and had no risk factors. Found swollen node during breastfeeding.
March-August 09: neo-adjuvant chemo, part of a trial at Stanford (4 DD A/C, 4 Taxotere with daily Tykerb), loading dose of Herceptin
08/12/09 - bye bye boobies (bilateral mastectomy)
08/24/09 - path report shows 100 % success in breast tissue (no cancer there, yay!), 98 % success in lymphatic invasion, and even though 11/13 nodes were still positive, > 95 % of the tumor in them was killed. Hoping for the best!
September-October 09: rads with daily Xeloda
02/25/10 - Cholecystectomy
05/27/10 - Bone scan clear
06/14/10 - CT scan clear, ovarian cyst found
07/27/10 - Done with Herceptin!
02/15/11 - MVA-BN HER-2 vaccine trial
03/15/11 - First CA 15-3: 12.7 and normal, yay!
10/01/11 - Bone scan and CT scan clear, fatty liver found
now on Tamoxifen and Aspirin


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Old 12-31-2014, 04:47 PM   #7
embur102
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Re: Question on brain mets

Hi Bejuce,

I had "just one" brain met, no symptoms prior to seizure, and 9 months after finishing Herceptin and being declared NED. Was stage 2b at diagnosis, but the tumor of origin was very vascularly (sp?) involved, so not surprising (but very disappointing!) to have mets so quickly.

The brain lesion was treated with Gamma Knife Radiation. So far, no new progression in the brain. Liver mets discovered on routine scan--again, no symptoms---in Oct, now doing Taxotere/Herceptin/Perjeta.

Will be sending healing energy your way for negative results and awaiting the news. ~~~~~~~~~~~~

Blessings,
Paula
__________________
Dx 4-12-2012
R unilat Mx 5-25-2012 (no reconstruction)
Stage 2B, Grade 3, Her2+++, Er + (15%), Pr -
4.2 cm, 2/14 nodes +
3 AC, 4 T/H
Zoladex 4 months
Oophorectomy Feb 2013
AI daily
Herceptin every 3 wks until Sept 2013
Gamma Knife June 2014, 2 cm brain met
Liver mets Oct 2014
Taxotere/herceptin/perjeta-CLEOPATRA trial Nov 2014-Mar 2015


"RISK BEING SEEN, IN ALL OF YOUR GLORY!" Jim Carrey
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Old 01-05-2015, 08:48 AM   #8
karina14
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Posts: 23
Re: Question on brain mets

Hi Bejuce, I don't want to scary you and I hope the problems you have are not caused by mets ... but you need a brain MRI to make sure there are no brain mets. I follow closely the studies for brain mets for HER2+ and the brain is a sucker for HER2+ breast cancer ,even when everything else is controlled (lungs, bones, liver). Much less for the other types of breast cancer. Brain mets are not screen regularly if you don't have symptoms. If I would be you I would ask for MRI to know. My brain mets were found 4 months after mets diagnosis. See my signature.
__________________
2011/03 - dx IDC (15 weeks pregnant), Rx mastectomy, 1.5 cm, stage 1B, grade 3, ER-/PR-/HER2+, 1/20
2011/04 - started 3xFEC while pregnant (2 sessions)
2011/06 - daughter born healthy @36 weeks
2011/08 - 3xTaxotere & Herceptin, followed by 1 year of Herceptin, no rads
2013/09 - mets to liver, bones & lungs, started weekly Taxotere + Herceptin
2013/10 - stopped Taxotere after 4 weeks due to severe side effects, stay on weekly Herceptin, pleurodesis to right lung (previously 2 x thoracentesis)
2014/01 - Dec CT scan shows good liver response but progression to bones, Pamidronate plus Herceptin only
2014/01 - brain & spine MRI (symptomatic) shows very large number of mets in the brain, do urgent WBR (20Gy/5 fractions)

2014/02 - Herceptin, Perjeta, Abraxane, XGeva
2014/08 - stopped Abraxane, stayed on Herceptin, Perjeta, XGeva
2014/12 - brain mets progression, second round of WBR (25Gy/10 fractions), lungs stable, light activity in liver
2015/02 - progression in lungs (lymphangitic carcinomatosis), stop Herceptin / Perjeta, start TDM1
2015/07 - stable on the extra cranial disease (lungs, abdomen)
2015/07- brain MRI show tumors went to the leptomeningeal area and also new one started to grow deep brain, still on TDM1, not sure of next step ....
2015/08 - looking for help to get IT Herceptin in Canada






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Old 01-05-2015, 09:31 AM   #9
Shobha
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Re: Question on brain mets

I too have had two cases of Vertigo that were very severe. One happened after a bout of cold and the other just out of the blue. I had MRIs done in both situtations and they came back clean.

It seems after chemo, we are more susceptible to vertigos and balance problems. Inner ear related issues can can use Vertigo. I was told to always make sure there was no water in my ears, especially after a long hair wash etc.

Wishing and praying that your MRI is clean as well.

-shobha
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DX: 06-30-2007 - left breast -stage IIIB, Her2/Neu 3+++, ER weakly positive, PR-
Taxol+herceptin weekly for 3 months
FEC+herceptin every 3 weeks for 3 months
BRCA 1 and 2 - Negative
Jan 2008 - Bilateral mastectomy, prophylactic Rt. side.
Radiation for 5 weeks
Completed my yr of herceptin on 07-14-2008
Brain MRI - 3/2/09 Clean
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Old 01-05-2015, 10:40 PM   #10
DizzyDo
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Posts: 49
Re: Question on brain mets

Oh Bejuice - I just posted my brain met story, hope it doesn't scare you! Good idea to get the MRI. Best of luck to you and I'm praying for a clean scan for you!
__________________
2009: dcis rt side, mastectomy, no chem or rads
2009: rt recon implant.
Jan 2014: stage 4. pain right side, found "too many to individually account for" liver mets. Found right axilla lymph nodes and nearby mass (source). Lung, lymph and bone mets. Brain clear by MRI. Er and pr neg, HER2 +++
Feb 2014: herceptin, perjeta, taxol
July 2014: no active disease, only bone scars and 1 liver scar! Tumor markers all normal again.
Dec 2014: seizure, 3 brain mets (15, 5 and 3 mm)
Feb 2015: Linac Stereotactic Radiation for brain mets
June 2015: no new brain mets, old ones greatly reduced in size. Bod still no active disease
October 2015: New brain Met, zapped by Stereotactic rads, watching another spot
Jan 2016: The other spot grew, zapped again. Still on herceptin and perjeta every 3 weeks
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Old 01-22-2015, 07:10 PM   #11
bejuce
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Re: Question on brain mets

Hi ladies,

I finally had my brain MRI last night that my Stanford doctor ordered to check that single episode of vertigo, and they found no cancer, woohoo! They did find a tortuous blood vessel that is most likely nothing but they want me to get a MRI:angiogram to make sure it's not a sub-cm aneurysm. I joked with the doctor that after having cancer, hearing aneurysm sounds like a walk in the park. I'm sure it's nothing and it's just a sign of getting older.

Btw, I was impressed that I had my MRI at 9:30 pm and got a voice mail today at 2:30 pm. They had told me it would take 2 days but it took only a few hours for the results to come out!

Thanks for all your support!

Bejuce
__________________
ER+ (30%)/PR-/HER-2+, stage 3

Diagnosed on 02/18/09 at 38 with a huge 12x10 cm tumor, after a 6 month delay. Told I was too young and had no risk factors. Found swollen node during breastfeeding.
March-August 09: neo-adjuvant chemo, part of a trial at Stanford (4 DD A/C, 4 Taxotere with daily Tykerb), loading dose of Herceptin
08/12/09 - bye bye boobies (bilateral mastectomy)
08/24/09 - path report shows 100 % success in breast tissue (no cancer there, yay!), 98 % success in lymphatic invasion, and even though 11/13 nodes were still positive, > 95 % of the tumor in them was killed. Hoping for the best!
September-October 09: rads with daily Xeloda
02/25/10 - Cholecystectomy
05/27/10 - Bone scan clear
06/14/10 - CT scan clear, ovarian cyst found
07/27/10 - Done with Herceptin!
02/15/11 - MVA-BN HER-2 vaccine trial
03/15/11 - First CA 15-3: 12.7 and normal, yay!
10/01/11 - Bone scan and CT scan clear, fatty liver found
now on Tamoxifen and Aspirin


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Old 01-22-2015, 07:55 PM   #12
caya
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Re: Question on brain mets

Thrilled to hear your news, Bejuce!

all the best
caya
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ER90%+/PR 50%+/HER 2+
1.7 cm and 1.0 cm.
Stage 1, grade 2, Node Negative (16 nodes tested)
MRM Dec.18/06
3 x FEC, 3 x Taxotere
Herceptin - every 3 weeks for a year, finished May 8/08

Tamoxifen - 2 1/2 years
Femara - Jan. 1, 2010 - July 18, 2012
BRCA1/BRCA2 Negative
Dignosed 10/16/06, age 48 , premenopausal
Mild lymphedema diagnosed June 2009 - breast surgeon and lymph. therapist think it's completely reversible - hope so.
Reclast infusion January 2012
Oopherectomy October 2013
14 Years NED!!
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Old 01-24-2015, 10:51 AM   #13
DizzyDo
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Posts: 49
Re: Question on brain mets

Such good news! I am happy for you!
__________________
2009: dcis rt side, mastectomy, no chem or rads
2009: rt recon implant.
Jan 2014: stage 4. pain right side, found "too many to individually account for" liver mets. Found right axilla lymph nodes and nearby mass (source). Lung, lymph and bone mets. Brain clear by MRI. Er and pr neg, HER2 +++
Feb 2014: herceptin, perjeta, taxol
July 2014: no active disease, only bone scars and 1 liver scar! Tumor markers all normal again.
Dec 2014: seizure, 3 brain mets (15, 5 and 3 mm)
Feb 2015: Linac Stereotactic Radiation for brain mets
June 2015: no new brain mets, old ones greatly reduced in size. Bod still no active disease
October 2015: New brain Met, zapped by Stereotactic rads, watching another spot
Jan 2016: The other spot grew, zapped again. Still on herceptin and perjeta every 3 weeks
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Old 01-24-2015, 07:34 PM   #14
Aewhiteh
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Re: Question on brain mets

Wonderful news.
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Old 01-25-2015, 03:13 AM   #15
Lien
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Re: Question on brain mets

Ah, great news! Thanks for letting us know.

Jacqueline
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Diagnosed age 44, January 2004, 0.7 cm IDC & DCIS. Stage 1, grade 3, ER/PR pos. HER2 pos. clear margins, no nodes. SNB. 35 rads. On Zoladex and Armidex since Dec. 2004. Stopped Zoladex/Arimidex sept 2009 Still taking mistletoe shots (CAM therapy) Doing fine.
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Old 01-25-2015, 12:27 PM   #16
KathyT
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Re: Question on brain mets

Great news! Sounds like you have great Docros as well
__________________
Kathy
38 years old!

January 17th 2014-mammo, ultrasound, biopsy
January 20th 2014- diagnosed, ER/PR+, Her2+++, Stage 2A
January 21st 2014-MRI, right breast only plus lymph nodes
January 23rd 2014- Pet scan-2 cm tumor, 3 lymph nodes
February 4th 2014-port insertion
February 12th 2014-first chemo treatment(TCHP x6 cycles)
May 28th 2014-LAST chemo treatment!!
July 10th 2014-double mastectomy
July 29th 2014-start radiation(30)
Sept. 11th 2014last radiation treatment!!!
November 12 2014-started Tamoxifen
January 20 2015-reconstruction begins, lat flap
February 4 2015-last Herceptin treatment!!
April 24, 2015- pet scan-NED!!
June 3 2015- exchange surgery, port removed!!
September 8 2015-hysterectomy/oophorectomy
September 15 2015-Revision of lat flap reconstruction
December 23 2015-nipple reconstruction
May 9th 2016-Mets to pituitary gland, liver and C7 vertebrae
May 10th-port put back in:(
May 17th- biopsy of mass on back
May 19th-started Herceptin/Perjeta
May 20th-5 treatments Cyberknife to pituitary gland tumor
June 9th-Started THP (will have 6 cycles)
August 17th-MRI of brain, significant reduction in tumor
😃, repeat MRI in 3 months. Received first Zometa
infusion.
June 24th 2019- Thoracic spine Mets, leptomeningeal Mets , 10 radiation treatments
Aug 1st- Ommaya Reservoir implanted
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Old 01-27-2015, 05:19 PM   #17
Rolepaul
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Re: Question on brain mets

Typically it is not good news with a quick call. Glad yours was great. It is not good to get brain mets, but it is best to find them as soon as possible.
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