It is also known as “metastatic” or “stage IV” breast cancer. It spreads from the breast to the other parts of the body such as bones, liver, lungs, or brain and forms tumors there.
The process of spreading cancer is itself known as “metastatic.” When anyone is diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, he is in severe condition; now, it will not only affect the breast but the other parts of the body as well.
Symptoms of metastatic breast cancer
Symptoms of metastatic breast cancer vary from area to area. Some of the symptoms of metastatic breast cancer are the following:
- Dry cough
- Numbness or weakness in any body part
- Pain in the chest
- Severe pain in the back, bone, and joints
- Incontinence and difficulty in going to the washroom
- Loss of balance
- Abdominal bloating and pain
- Jaundice(yellowing of eyes and skin)
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Vomiting or constant nausea
- A problem in vision such as blurry vision, loss of vision, or double vision
- Difficulty in breathing
Breast cancer can spread to the other parts of the body in three ways;
- Cancer can invade and spread to the surrounding breast parts, like in underarm, lymph nodes, or near the collar bone.
- The cancer cells can also spread from lymph nodes to other body parts.
- Cancer cells can also spread through the bloodstream from the breast to the other body part.
Familiar places at which breast cancer spread
The lymph nodes in the underarm, collar bone, and the inner side of the breast are among the best places to spread breast cancer quickly. When a person is diagnosed with breast cancer, the doctors will check lymph nodes near the tumor to check whether they are affected or not. If they are involved, the patient might feel symptoms such as a lump, pain, or swelling in that area.
When it spreads from the breast to the lungs, the chest wall, or in the space between lungs, it can lead the fluids to move back into the lungs, which leads to the symptoms such as chest pain, loss of appetite, weight loss, shortness of breath, and extreme cough.
When the breast cancer spreads to the liver, the patient feels pain in the belly area with a full or bloated sensation. Some other symptoms are weight loss, loss of appetite, and yellowing of eyes or skin, due to dysfunctioning of the liver.
When breast cancer targets the bones, the first symptom that occurs will be extreme pain in all of the body. Bones will become weak and easily breakable. Any bone can be affected by cancer, including legs, spine, or arm bones. If the spine is affected by cancer, it may create many problems such as incontinence and difficulty in going to the washroom. When cancer affects the spinal cord’s nerves and creates pressure, the patient feels numbness and weakness in certain parts of the arms and legs.
Breast cancer can also spread to the brain; the patient suffers from mental confusion, headache, dizziness, memory loss, lightheadedness, and vision changes during this condition. The patient might feel numbness and weakness in one part of his body.
Treatment of Metastatic breast cancer
Spreading cancer from the chest to other body parts doesn’t mean it becomes untreatable. There are many options for metastatic breast cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy, hormonal therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, surgery, and medication.
The treatment of metastatic breast cancer depends on the severity of the disease and the affected area. For instance, if the patient has breast cancer HER2 positive, the doctor will use targeted therapy for treatment.
The doctor may use two-three options together or one by one to treat metastatic breast cancer. In specific cases, when the tumor is irremovable from the body, the doctor will focus on improving symptoms such as reducing pain and extending the patient’s survival.
- https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/ breast cancer metastatic /introduction