Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) is the most advanced stage of breast cancer, diagnosed as stage IV. It occurs when cancer spreads beyond the breast to other parts of the body. Typically, MBC metastases move from the breast to the bones, liver, brain, or lungs.
Each type of metastasis is associated with its own set of symptoms, which substantially impact the patient’s daily life. Bone metastasis, for instance, is the most common cause of cancer pain, while symptoms of brain metastasis include dizziness and seizures. We spoke to Uageh Hamed Radha about her mother’s diagnosis of MBC and her treatment in India that ensued.
Please tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Uageh Abdalaa Hamed Radha, I am from Iraq. I have arrived in India with my parents for the treatment of my mother’s metastatic breast cancer.
Tell us a little about the history of your mother’s illness?
My mother received her first diagnosis in 2012. After a routine visit to the doctor, we were advised to go in for a diagnostic mammogram after the doctor suspected something a bit off. When the results came back, the radiologist told my mother, “You have to see a surgeon, this is not a cyst”.
Immediately the next day we went to see a surgeon who advised to get more tests done. After a PET/CT scan, the doctors revealed that my mother had stage 2 breast cancer. We were shocked in horror and were not sure what to do.
What was your next course of action?
After receiving the diagnosis, my mother endured various types of hormonal and chemotherapy treatments for several months. In the beginning, things seemed to be going well almost to the point where we felt that she might be “cancer free”. (My mother could now live a “new normal” life.)
This was until she developed a persistent cough. To our dismay, a chest X-ray showed a blood clot and multiple tumors in her lungs; a biopsy confirmed that cancer had returned, however, this time it had spread to both her lungs and her liver.
How did you cope with this terrible news?
“I’m sorry, but your breast cancer has spread,” these were the words our doctor told us. When he told us that my mother was now metastatic; but to be honest, I can’t recall them clearly. What I can remember is the emotions: shock, disbelief, and the feeling of doom.
What did you do next?
We did not want to risk any further complications. I started looking online for treatment options abroad. The cost was not really a concern, we wanted to find the best treatment for my mother and see her get better.
After searching online, I finally came upon Vaidam.com. I contacted them and immediately got a callback. They provided me with options for the best hospital for breast cancer.
Tell us about your trip to India?
It was good. We arrived in New Delhi on the 5th of May. Our appointment at Medanta Hospital was in the following week. We took rest for a few days before the day of the appointment.
How was your mother’s treatment?
My mother was treated by Senior Oncologist, Dr. Jyoti Wadhwa. Doctor Wadhwa, who is the best breast cancer doctor in India requested some initial tests and a biopsy to get a better idea of cancer. Her treatment plan included multiple rounds of immunotherapy. The doctor adjusted her chemo oral medication which she still continues to take here in Iraq. After a thorough evaluation and close examination, there were noticeable signs of improvement.
Over the course of a few weeks, the goal for us is to hear that her scans are stable. Stable meant that it was good.
How is she feeling now?
The last few months have not been easy. This was a huge challenge for all of us and I think we all passed. Nobody gave up, including the most important person: our doctor. We have at this time not received an end date as of now, and progress is always expected. Some of the chemotherapies she underwent worked for a time. Some didn’t, but we never quit.