Secondary Breast Cancer


by sh

Secondary breast cancer is many different conditions; the only common factor is that the cancer cells all started from a primary breast cancer. (Ref: Cancerbackup)

Some people who have a secondary diagnosis don’t have signs or symptoms beforehand.

Some women also have a primary and secondary diagnoses at the same time so their needs on a medical and psychological level have to be addressed as they have had a double ‘whammy’ all in one go.

There is no timeframe to when people may go on to develop secondaries. It can depend on what type of breast cancer you’ve got, your family history, response to treatment, etc. etc. Some people’s cancer may come back within a year or so and yet others may be in remission for a great many years before receiving a secondary diagnosis. Also, not everyone will go on to develop secondaries but there currently are no national statistics to accurately know how many women have secondaries.

Secondary breast cancer can’t be cured but can often be effectively controlled for a long time** with treatments such as hormone therapies, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and bisphosphonates (bone strengtheners)

Dependent on where the cancer is, what type of breast cancer you have, whether you’ve been through the menopause, etc. will be a deciding factor on what is the best treatment available.

Obtaining help:
There are various ways of obtaining help on different things. The following list isn’t exhaustive!

Benefits Advice – your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau, Macmillan, Benefits Enquiry Line

Employment Information – which includes being covered under the Disability Discrimination Act can be obtained from ACAS, Department of Health and a website called ‘pointofdiagnosis’

Family/carer support - CarersUK

Disability Living Allowance – Macmillan Nurse, Benefits Enquiry Line, Department of Health.

DVLC - Department of Health’s website will inform you of certain medical conditions you have to declare if you drive (such as diabetes, lung cancer, etc).

Counselling – a list of registered psychotherapists and counsellors can be obtained by looking through Yellow Pages.

• Also, if you have any concerns regarding mobility issues an Occupational Therapist may well be able to help re mobility aids. You can be referred through a breast care nurse

** some members have found this viewpoint controversial but this page provides a sound backing for it.