Metastatic breast cancer occurs when the cancer spreads from the breast to another part of the body. Symptoms and treatment for this stage of breast cancer are different to those of the earlier stages. Doctors may also refer to metastatic breast cancer as advanced breast cancer or stage 4 breast cancer. Many people live for months or years after a healthcare professional has diagnosed metastatic breast cancer.
Finding out your breast cancer has spread can cause many different emotions, from disbelief, denial and shock to anger, fear and helplessness. These feelings are normal, but support is available to help you cope. What is secondary breast cancer? Can secondary breast cancer be cured? How long do people live with secondary breast cancer?
What I Wish People Knew About Metastatic Breast Cancer
Stage IV cancers have spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes to other parts of the body. When breast cancer spreads, it most commonly goes to the bones, liver, and lungs. For women with stage IV breast cancer, systemic drug therapies are the main treatments.
Metastatic breast cancer occurs when cancer that started in the breast spreads to another part of the body. The outlook for people with metastatic breast cancer and the length of time between a stage 4 diagnosis and the onset of end-of-life symptoms varies greatly. Research suggests that about 27 percent of people who receive a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis live at least 5 years after their diagnosis. Many individual factors play a role in survival rates. Newer treatments are helping extend lives and improve the quality of life for people with metastatic breast cancer.