My mom has breast cancer and possible metastatic brain cancer. Would either of those contribute to dementia?

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She had not received any treatment for her breast cancer which was first noticed by her doctor back in Oct 2014.
Recent cat scans (due to 2 separate falls) revealed “many nodules “ on her left lung (under the breast tumor), and also some “growths that are eating away at her skull” as said by the ER doctor recently.
My question is is there any correlation between what’s happening to my mom's brain & if she’s getting dementia?

Answers 1 to 10 of 15
That's really a question for her doctors... her regular GP, neurologist and oncologist, not someone in the ER who doesn't know her.
Any kind of infection or debilitating illness in the elderly can have an effect on cognitive function, often it is temporary (delirium) but if there is pre-existing dementia it can help to push them farther along. As for the brain lesions, while it may seem logical that something awry in the brain would cause cognitive problems it is not always so, lots of people are living with benign and malignant brain tumours who don't have any cognitive effects.

Have you considered calling in hospice?
Brain metastases can cause all kinds of symptoms.

What is it that you actually want to know, though? Are you noticing something about your mother's functioning or behaviour or personality that is worrying you, and you want to know whether it's related to the cancer or something else altogether?

"Growths eating away at her skull" is among the less helpful explanations I've ever heard - what on earth was that supposed to mean, or to contribute to your and your mother's understanding of what to expect? Sometimes doctors trying to be down to earth just end up talking twaddle.

I think your best bet is to make an appointment with your mother's doctor and ask him to talk you through the latest images plus any reports from the radiologist. Then you can discuss options for palliative care, which will help to relieve your mother's symptoms even if she's still not interested in actively treating the disease. I'm very sorry you're having to go through this.
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I think both of those could. The trauma of having the disease, and also brain metastases. I am so sorry for you and your mum.
Has she chosen no treatment? I would want a visit with her doctor to look at what to expect as the cancer progresses and also what is available to her in terms of comfort care if she does not want treatment.
Yes if her cancer has possibly spread to her brain that could cause many adverse symptoms that can present as dementia.
What was she like before this latest episode? Why did she choose no treatment for her breast cancer in 2014?
Poor dear. What is next for her? I would consider hospice too.
The cancer has probably spread to her brain, if it's spread to her lungs. I would say logically that is the issue. My mom had breast cancer that spread to her spine and brain, she was 57, other wise healthy without cognitive issues until the cancer spread. Is she on steroids? If so it's for swelling of the brain. Depending on your mom's age, I would recommend hospice, they can come into the home too. I did that for my husband when he had Glioblastoma. If your mom is on the young side and aware, I'd bring hospice in the home, if she's not aware of her surroundings, it'll be tough taking care of her, you'll need help either way.
Has your mother had any radiation for the metastasis to her brain? If so, that could contribute to symptoms of dementia, such as forgetfulness and confusion. I saw that with my sister after she had the whole brain rads. There's a phenomenon called "chemo brain".

At this point, though, I think the focus will be on keeping her comfortable, and just recognizing that her outlook, thoughts, and behavior will become more challenging for her as the cancer metastasizes.
ANYTHING in the brain can cause any number of "oddities" in behavior. Depends on where the brain is being affected. This is something you should be talking to her Drs about. I would think that any assault on the brain (radiation, chemo) is going to result in some behavioral changes.
Hi Hangingon, your poor mom -- I'm so sorry about the added diagnoses. How are you doing?
Untreated breast cancer can also spread to the bones (which could explain the skull comment). You need to schedule an appointment with your mother and doctor to get an explanation of exactly what is happening. Does she have an oncologist (cancer doctor)? She may be a candidate for hospice and related treatment, and it sounds like it may be worth it. You say that your mother is still living at home?
My mother had unoperable abdominal soft tissue cancer which responded some to radiation but the tumor never fully went away. She then developed lung nodules and began having infections from deterioration of the bladder walls due to the radiation. She had a fall, another UTI was discovered and she went into delirium several times within the last 2 years of her life. She was in and out of delirium despite antibiotic treatment. This entire episode, from the cancer diagnosis to her death lasted 13 years. She had several trips to the hospital, rehabs in nursing homes that couldn't help anymore. The best thing we did was call hospice in. They were truly a God send for her and for us. I took her home to care for her 24/7 and cannot imagine what it would have been like without the wonderful support of hospice.

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