Metastatic cancer is cancer that has spread to another part of the body from where the original cancer was, but still has the same cells as the original cancer. Usually when the cancer has spread, it is at the onset or following treatment. The most common site is the breast or where the breast was. If you have cancer in the liver, brain, bones, lungs or lymph nodes, it is likely that the breast cancer has spread into these areas and is now known as metastatic breast cancer.
Metastatic breast cancer is different than recurrent breast cancer. Recurrent happens in the exact same spot and not in other parts of the body. If cancer shows up in second breast, it is considered a new cancer, not recurrent and not metastatic breast cancer. Some of the risk factors for getting breast cancer of course include gender even though males can get breast cancer also the number is dramatically smaller for males. If there is lymph node involvement then there is a 30-60% chance that you will also get metastatic breast cancer. If the cancer involves a great number of the lymph nodes you have a higher risk of getting metastatic breast cancer. If the tumor size is large, you have a greater chance of getting metastatic breast cancer. Larger tumor means larger risk to you. Some of the symptoms of having metastatic breast cancer are pain, nipple discharge, thickening in the breast or armpit area. Your bones could have pain or you might fracture one, you could get a shortness of breath in your lungs or have a difficult time breathing, if it is in your brain or spinal cord you could have pain, confusion, headache, blurred or double vision, trouble talking or moving or seizures.
There are treatments for metastatic breast cancer that you and the doctor can try. It can be treated but not cured and it is considered a chronic disease. Depending on the extent of the spread and that it has not invaded other organs can help determine the correct way to proceed with treatment. It can be put into long term remission if it is not resistant to hormonal therapy or chemotherapy. If you have only received a couple of rounds of treatments last time the better. There are always new treatments available and clinical trials are always starting up too. You may have to look these up in your area to see or talk to your doctor. Each time a new cancer comes up on your body after having breast cancer it is usually a secondary cancer relating to the first cancer. You can, with the help of your doctor send it into long term remission where it can lay dormant for years.
Tips and comments
If you are undergoing treatment now for metastatic breast cancer, make sure you tell your doctor of any new pain or issues you may be having. This could mean that the cancer has once again spread and the faster you know, the better off you will be.
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