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    Stage 4 cancer questions
    bpcookie posted:
    Hello everyone, I'm new to this board but not knew to WebMD. My step mother developed cancer in a number of places on her body. She did chemo and all the cancer was gone except for a small spot on her lungs. Three months later she the cancer came back and now she is back to doing chemo. I have a few questions.

    Right now she has stage 4 cancer, what exactly does that mean? I was told that it was the highest stage.

    What is the life expectancy of a stage 4 cancer patient? Thats just something that I can not ask her.

    If after she does chemo and the cancer is gone, does the cancer stage change? Like, does it go down to a stage 1?

    My step mother won't show us her true feelings about it because she doesnt want to upset anyone. So I have NO idea how she is doing emotionally.

    Thanks everyone.
    georgiagail responded:
    A good explanation of the different stages of cancer are described in the attached. In stage 4 the cancer has spread from the primary site (i.e., where it first developed) to other parts of the body.

    This is why your step mother was told she had cancer in a number of places on her body. It didn't initially develop in all these places but rather in one place and then spread.

    Once the cancer has been staged, it remains at that stage.

    No one can say how what her life expectancy is. If the chemotherapy she is undergoing is considered to be "palliative" (as opposed to "curative") this typically indicates that her cancer cannot be cured and the chemotherapy is being done to relieve symptoms or to extend life but not necessarily to cure the cancer.

    I hope this makes sense...

    bpcookie replied to georgiagail's response:
    THANK YOU SSSSSOOOOO MUCH!!!! This explains a lot. I appreciate you replying. I have been so confused about all of this and when I ask her questions she just says "I don't know". She may really NOT know, she may not want to know or she may be trying to cushion her children from the facts. Thank you again.

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