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What is the cure for bone metastases in breast cancer?

Q: My mother has gone through a breast cancer operation. Before and after operation she has undergone chemotherapy and radiotherapy. After five months she has undergone bone scanning, which shows multiple bone metastases. So the doctor suggested to take Xeloda drug for 6 cycles, it will cost around 1.5 lakhs. If she takes these tablets, bone metastases would be cured. Could you please let me know whether it is better to go for these tablets because my mothers age is 55 years and current weight is 65 kgs. So We are getting scared of the side effects. Please help?

A:Your mother has had Chemo/surgery/radiotherapy for breast cancer. She has now developed bone metastasis. Information regarding the following parameters is required before advice can be given:

  1. What is the interval from primary treatment to the development of bone metastasis?
  2. What is the oestrogen receptor and progesterone receptor status of the tumour cells?
  3. Is the bone metastasis painful?
In general, bone metastasis is considered better than lung and liver metastasis. Patients with bone metastasis cannot be cured but they can go on to live for several years. If the receptors are positive, patients can be put on hormonal treatment. Drugs such as xeloda, taxol, taxotere, vinorelbine are used one after the other to keep the disease under control. Local radiotherapy can be given to control pain. Bisphosphonates as Zometa/aredia can be given to strengthen the bones and to avoid fractures. Thus, this is a chronic disease.

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