Breast cancer rears its ugly head

Damn. Damn. We just found out that my wife’s youngest sister, still young at 29, has advanced breast cancer. Worse, it’s spread and has invaded her lungs and ovaries, which they just removed yesterday.

Taiwanese are superstitious concerning pregnant woman, so they hadn’t told my wife until now, because they didn’t want to alarm her. As if it were something which could be hidden forever.

The mother doesn’t want to know any bad news, so she’s not asking tough questions to the doctor. Consequently, we have no idea what the prognosis is. This just came up last week, so everyone is in a state of shock.

We arranged a flight as soon as possible for my wife to go down, which is next Friday. The mother doesn’t want her to go down because pregnant women shouldn’t do these things, but we both agree it’s important.

The other sister will try to find out some more if she can.

I’m so sorry.

I’m so sorry. You have my good thoughts. I know how terrifying this can be.

Really awful news, Tokyo. Cancer at any age is awful, but 29? Oy. Is she married? Does she have children? I’m glad she has her sister, your wife, who would put aside the taboo about traveling and lend her the support she needs.

No, she single without kids. Everyone’s joked before if she’s interested in guys, as no one has ever seen a sign of boyfriends.

This is the hard part about international marriages, as I’m unable to communicate directly with my wife’s family. You can tell a lot about people, even without talking directly to them, and she’s a really great person.

We hope to find out more information next week.

This is really hard on my wife, but she’s handling it well.

So sorry to read this, TokyoPlayer. Hugs.


Hugs from here. And a non-intrusive pat to your wife’s belly.

Let us know how it’s going.

:frowning: I’m so sorry to hear that.

Oh man. {{hugs to all}} May you and your family have all the support you and they need.

I’m so sorry to hear about this. Sending as much comfort and warmth as I can across the miles. :frowning:

I’m so sorry. You and your wife will be in my thoughts.

So sorry.

I have a girlfriend being treated for Stage IV breast cancer. She is doing quite well and hopes to beat it - or at least throw it into remission and get many more years before it shows up again. Hers went into her lungs and brain, but scans are showing her clear - she is still in chemo. Breast cancer treatment, even into Stage IV has come a long way. Best wishes.

Thanks to everyone for your support.

Unfortunately, the information is coming third hand, through people who seem unwilling to think that the worst is a possibility.

We hope to find out more this weekend.

By coincidence we went to a symposium yesterday on a massive-scale study of genetic components of diseases and effectiveness of medicines. (My wife is involved in the project on ethics side.)

Anyway, one of the papers concerned finding a genetic component which determines the effectiveness of one of popular treatments, and the clear difference in reoccurrence rates. I don’t have the material in front of me, but it was something like the difference between greater than 90% and around 60% for those who had one gene vs. another.

{{{TokyoPlayer and TokyoWife}}} I hope you can get some more information and hopefully some good news.

:frowning: Wherever this road ends up going, the path’s going to be tough. I’d like to write here some sort of well wish but anything I come up with just sounds mushy, so accept generic well wishes, please.

Sorry to hear that this happened. However, it is true that even advanced breast cancer can be very treatable even though it is not curable currently, and many women live with it for years. There is a mailing list archive with ton of good info/support on advanced breast cancer over at if you need to talk to others who are dealing with it.

On a side note, your wife and other direct female relatives of the sister may want to look into getting tested for the BRCA gene mutations that indicate a higher breast cancer risk. It is unusual for women to have breast cancer at such a young age, and when that does occur it MAY indicate the person has a genetic predisposition to it (though that’s by no means a guarantee, and in fact only about 5% of breast cancer is related to BRCA mutations, so I don’t want you to be alarmed about it - just thought I should mention it).
All t he best to her and her family.

My chemo doctor mentioned the BRCA genetic test to me. Unfortunately, if you have genetic markers, the only preventative treatment is a double mastectomy and whatever that operation is that removes your ovaries. :eek:

I’m not ready to face that, either for myself or my daughter. I’ll get through chemo and radiation first, then make sure Ivygirl gets squished early and often.

My wife’s cousin, a dentist, will go tomorrow with the sister. As a fellow medical professional, she should be able to get more information.

The researcher at Tokyo University who gave the presenation said that he’ll look at her medical charts and give his opinion.

On reason my wife is unhappy that they withheld the information was that no one had thought about extracting and freezing eggs, which she would have suggested. :frowning: Obviously we won’t mention that to her sister now, but it would have been nice.

My wife is going to have another exam. She needs to do this before her breast milk comes in.

A few years ago, they found a small lump in her breast but no one was particularly worried about it. :eek: Obviously the worry level has kicked up a bit.

Get wife’s docs to ultrasound her breasts if you can, it’s not invasive or painful or anything and they have the machine right there. That’s how 1.Aunt’s cancer was detected, when she was pregnant with 3.Cousin and the docs decided to show off their new machine (1.Aunt had gone to school with what seemed to be half the nurses in town, plus her own uncle had been the family doctor for what seemed to be… heck, everybody in town). It’s also what’s done if anything funny shows up on the squeezing, in Navarra; they make you wait until the radiologist has seen the squeeze-pic and depending on what things look like you get ultrasounded. It tickled me, but then, I’m ticklish.

I’m so sorry to hear this. Good luck to your family.