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Brain metastases

Canna

Registered User
Jan 24, 2022
24
0
Mum's GP would like her to have a CT scan to confirm whether breast cancer is spreading to her brain, or whether her symptoms are due to dementia. He says that this will have a bearing on the way she is treated. Could anyone tell me what the difference in treatment might be?

Mum is 91, and is fit and active for her age, but a CT scan will mean a ferry journey and a very long and tiring day (we stopped attending the Macmillan clinic at the start of this year for that reason). She has delusions a lot of the time, and I'm worried that a day in hospital will make this worse.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,843
0
South coast
He says that this will have a bearing on the way she is treated. Could anyone tell me what the difference in treatment might be?
Treatment for cancer in the brain is similar to treatment of other cancers - usually chemotherapy, but it depends where it is situated and what type of cancer it is.

Dementia has no treatment. There is no cure. There are no survivors.
There is donepezil for Alzheimers which is a drug that can boost the brain function so that the person with Alzheimers can make the best use of what they have left, but it does not cure, halt, or even slow down the progression of the disease. It only works for Alzheimers (no other type of dementia) and even then it doesnt work for everyone and not everyone can tolerate it. Other than that there is only treatment of the symptoms - antidepressants, anti-anxiety, antipsychotics, etc.

The scan will show whether it is cancer or not and may well indicate which type of dementia it is (if it turns out not to be cancer). I know these tests are difficult when someone is confused, but I would honestly do everything to get her there.
 

jennifer1967

Registered User
Mar 15, 2020
12,614
0
Southampton
Mum's GP would like her to have a CT scan to confirm whether breast cancer is spreading to her brain, or whether her symptoms are due to dementia. He says that this will have a bearing on the way she is treated. Could anyone tell me what the difference in treatment might be?

Mum is 91, and is fit and active for her age, but a CT scan will mean a ferry journey and a very long and tiring day (we stopped attending the Macmillan clinic at the start of this year for that reason). She has delusions a lot of the time, and I'm worried that a day in hospital will make this worse.
my mum had breast cancer that spread to her lungs and eventually brain. she was treated with chemo, radiation and had steroids for that. she was only 56 at the time. i dont think my mum would have been cured but just maintaining.
dementia has no treatment except as @canary says donezepil for alzheimers which may delay the progress. some you can maybe ease the symptoms. probably what you need to decide is what you would do with the information once its diagnosed what it is. my mum died at 57 from a heart attack after 9 years of battling because her heart wasnt strong enough to cope with the treatment which is another point to think about.
 

Canna

Registered User
Jan 24, 2022
24
0
Treatment for cancer in the brain is similar to treatment of other cancers - usually chemotherapy, but it depends where it is situated and what type of cancer it is.

Dementia has no treatment. There is no cure. There are no survivors.
There is donepezil for Alzheimers which is a drug that can boost the brain function so that the person with Alzheimers can make the best use of what they have left, but it does not cure, halt, or even slow down the progression of the disease. It only works for Alzheimers (no other type of dementia) and even then it doesnt work for everyone and not everyone can tolerate it. Other than that there is only treatment of the symptoms - antidepressants, anti-anxiety, antipsychotics, etc.

The scan will show whether it is cancer or not and may well indicate which type of dementia it is (if it turns out not to be cancer). I know these tests are difficult when someone is confused, but I would honestly do everything to get her there.

my mum had breast cancer that spread to her lungs and eventually brain. she was treated with chemo, radiation and had steroids for that. she was only 56 at the time. i dont think my mum would have been cured but just maintaining.
dementia has no treatment except as @canary says donezepil for alzheimers which may delay the progress. some you can maybe ease the symptoms. probably what you need to decide is what you would do with the information once its diagnosed what it is. my mum died at 57 from a heart attack after 9 years of battling because her heart wasnt strong enough to cope with the treatment which is another point to think about.
I'm so sorry about your mum, that's so tough, and at such a young age. Sending love and hugs.
 

Canna

Registered User
Jan 24, 2022
24
0
Treatment for cancer in the brain is similar to treatment of other cancers - usually chemotherapy, but it depends where it is situated and what type of cancer it is.

Dementia has no treatment. There is no cure. There are no survivors.
There is donepezil for Alzheimers which is a drug that can boost the brain function so that the person with Alzheimers can make the best use of what they have left, but it does not cure, halt, or even slow down the progression of the disease. It only works for Alzheimers (no other type of dementia) and even then it doesnt work for everyone and not everyone can tolerate it. Other than that there is only treatment of the symptoms - antidepressants, anti-anxiety, antipsychotics, etc.

The scan will show whether it is cancer or not and may well indicate which type of dementia it is (if it turns out not to be cancer). I know these tests are difficult when someone is confused, but I would honestly do everything to get her there.
 

Canna

Registered User
Jan 24, 2022
24
0
Treatment for cancer in the brain is similar to treatment of other cancers - usually chemotherapy, but it depends where it is situated and what type of cancer it is.

Dementia has no treatment. There is no cure. There are no survivors.
There is donepezil for Alzheimers which is a drug that can boost the brain function so that the person with Alzheimers can make the best use of what they have left, but it does not cure, halt, or even slow down the progression of the disease. It only works for Alzheimers (no other type of dementia) and even then it doesnt work for everyone and not everyone can tolerate it. Other than that there is only treatment of the symptoms - antidepressants, anti-anxiety, antipsychotics, etc.

The scan will show whether it is cancer or not and may well indicate which type of dementia it is (if it turns out not to be cancer). I know these tests are difficult when someone is confused, but I would honestly do everything to get her there.
Thanks Canary, I guess I'm just wondering whether any possible benefits would outweigh the stress of getting to the appointment. We've already stopped attending the Macmillan unit appointments, so chemotherapy wouldn't be considered.
 

nitram

Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
25,465
0
North Manchester
Some general information which might be of use >>>here<<

Whether or not any regular treatment would require attendance at a hospital a ferry journey away may swing your decision.
Also she may not be able to tolerate some of the procedures.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
18,843
0
South coast
Thanks Canary, I guess I'm just wondering whether any possible benefits would outweigh the stress of getting to the appointment. We've already stopped attending the Macmillan unit appointments, so chemotherapy wouldn't be considered.
Im sorry, I had not realised that everything was so advanced. You will have to weigh up the pros and cons, but I do think that one of the main things to consider is knowing what the cause is.
If it is cancer, even if you decide to let nature take its course, there is a lot of support, but with dementia there is almost nothing.
 

Canna

Registered User
Jan 24, 2022
24
0
Some general information which might be of use >>>here<<

Whether or not any regular treatment would require attendance at a hospital a ferry journey away may swing your decision.
Also she may not be able to tolerate some of the procedures.
Thank you, I'll read up!
 

jennifer1967

Registered User
Mar 15, 2020
12,614
0
Southampton
I'm so sorry about your mum, that's so tough, and at such a young age. Sending love and hugs.
that was 18 years ago but she did have some of the characteristics of dementia caused by the spread. she used to sit on her bed and say why arent people talking to me when they were in the street and she saw them out of the window.
 

Canna

Registered User
Jan 24, 2022
24
0
Cancer that has spread to the brain more often treatment is surgery and radiotherapy which it sounds like she won’t tolerate . It’s very sad but I know and i agree if this diagnosis is made the support would be much better than the nil support with dementia . Have a good think about the upheaval of the journey though and consequences and if it’s worth putting her through this . I feel for you , take care
Thanks 15moterbike, I did wonder if he meant 'access to care' when he said 'treatment.' It's so much easier when people are straight about this sort of thing. When my dad had bowel cancer the nurse practitioner sat down with us and told us and him that he only had a short time to live, probably about 4 months. It was done in such a kind way, and helped us so much. A few days later we were given the 'official' news from a doctor, and if we hadn't known, we'd never have known he wasn't going to get better.
Thinking back to dad, once he had a diagnosis, the care was there instantly, which doesn't seem to be the case with dementia.
 

lollyc

Registered User
Sep 9, 2020
800
0
I agree with many others. Diagnosis of cancer will get you into a system of support, even if the decision is made not to treat. Diagnosis of dementia will get you nothing. It may also give you a time frame.
Best friends mum died from brain metastisis (from lung cancer) last year, and her symptoms were very similar to my Mum's dementia ones.