Eight years ago, Dian Corneliussen-James had surgeons cut out half of her right lung, a risky procedure she believes saved her life.
Though she thinks the surgery saved her from death from metastatic breast cancer, which had spread to her lung, she said she is "terrified to go off" the drug, Faslodex, that doctors say could be keeping her alive.
Her survival has prompted doctors and others to call her and patients with metastatic breast cancer like her "outliers" because they don't know why some patients with the incurable disease live a long time. Some say the answer to a longer life with metastatic breast cancer lies in targeted treatments, such as Faslodex, a drug designed to treat the cancer in women after menopause.
Metastatic, or stage IV, breast cancer is cancer that has spread to another organ. The median life expectancy of someone with metastatic breast cancer is 26 months, said Dr. Katherine Tkaczuk, professor of medicine and director of the breast evaluation and treatment program at the University of Maryland Cancer Center. About 155,000 Americans are living with metastatic breast cancer, and about 40,000 patients die annually in the United States, according to the Metastatic Breast Cancer Network.
Source : http://www.baltimoresun.com/health/breastcancer/bs-hs-metastatic-breast-cancer-20141003-story.html251