What is the prognosis with stage 4 invasive ductal carcinoma after chemo?

A fellow caregiver asked...

What are the prognosis for someone with stage 4 invasive ductal carcinoma after chemo?

Expert Answer

Linda Ackerman, R.N. has clinical experience in oncology, women's health, and medical nursing. She has been practicing for more than 20 years and is a licensed registered nurse in both Florida and Wisconsin. In addition, she serves as a board member of Breast Cancer Recovery and the Wisconsin Cancer Council.

Many physicians reference a five year survival rate when discussing the prognosis for stage 4 breast cancer. These statistics are always backward looking, based on survival rates of individuals treated in the past. The five year survival rate for someone that is being appropriately treated today is approximately 20% in the United States. These statistics are based on the American Cancer Society findings. Published survival rates are statistics based on a large group of patients. Individuals may respond uniquely, and fall outside of these statistical norms. Although these numbers can be scary, new treatments are constantly emerging. Working with an expert oncologist or by meeting with an expert for a second opinion, you could be certain you are receiving or have received the standards in care and every method of appropriate treatment for your type and stage of cancer.

Each individual's prognosis can vary greatly based on a number of factors which could include: "¢ Age, general health and menopausal status "¢ The type, stage and grade of your cancer "¢ The presence or absence of certain tumor markers, such as estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and/or HER2 "¢ Your response to the treatment(s) being used
I would encourage you to discuss the topic of prognosis with your personal physician on an ongoing basis. He or she will have more details specific to your individual circumstances.