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Breast Cancer Stage 4 Survival Rates

Its Never Too Late To Exercise

Understanding Breast Cancer Survival Rates

Exercise is important for your overall mental and physical health. Since fatigue is often a symptom associated with stage 4 breast cancer, it can help to plan your exercise during your most energetic time of day.

Consistency is key. Its better to exercise in small amounts every day than to follow an extreme pattern of occasional intense activity between long periods of inactivity.

While there are potential benefits to exercise when you have stage 4 cancer, its important to talk to your healthcare provider before starting an exercise program.

If your blood counts are low or your electrolyte levels are imbalanced, most healthcare providers wont recommend exercising because you could put yourself at risk for further harm.

Also, your healthcare provider may recommend avoiding public places, like gyms, because of your risk for germ exposure.

Safety is always a concern when you have stage 4 breast cancer. Bleeding and risks of injury are important considerations.

Some women experience balance and foot numbness problems due to their treatments and fatigue. If this is the case, its best to do exercises that put you at less risk for falls. An example could be riding a stationary bicycle instead of running on a treadmill.

There might not be a direct link between exercise and stage 4 breast cancer survival rates, but you can reap other benefits from regular exercise.

For example, it may help you:

  • lose excess body fat
  • improve your quality of life
  • reduce side effects from treatment

Signs And Symptoms Of Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Inflammatory breast cancer causes a number of signs and symptoms, most of which develop quickly , including:

  • Swelling of the skin of the breast
  • Redness involving more than one-third of the breast
  • Pitting or thickening of the skin of the breast so that it may look and feel like an orange peel
  • A retracted or inverted nipple
  • One breast looking larger than the other because of swelling
  • One breast feeling warmer and heavier than the other
  • A breast that may be tender, painful or itchy
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes under the arms or near the collarbone

Tenderness, redness, warmth, and itching are also common symptoms of a breast infection or inflammation, such as mastitis if youre pregnant or breastfeeding. Because these problems are much more common than IBC, your doctor might suspect infection at first as a cause and treat you with antibiotics.

This may be a good first step, but if your symptoms dont get better in 7 to 10 days, more tests need to be done to look for cancer. The possibility of IBC should be considered more strongly if you have these symptoms and are not pregnant or breastfeeding, or have been through menopause.

IBC grows and spreads quickly, so the cancer may have already spread to nearby lymph nodes by the time symptoms are noticed. This spread can cause swollen lymph nodes under your arm or above your collar bone. If the diagnosis is delayed, the cancer can spread to distant sites.

Relative Survival Rates For Breast Cancer

The National Cancer Institute gives 5-year relative survival rates for breast cancer based on how far the disease had spread before a doctor found it.

  • Localized : 99%
  • Unknown stage: 55%
  • All stages: 90%

While these numbers can give you a general idea, they are an average for women with any type of breast cancer. They arent specific to the HER2+ type. They also come from data that researchers collected from 2010 to 2016, so they dont reflect more recent treatment advances.

Also Check: Encouraging Words For Breast Cancer Patients

What Are Cancer Survival Statistics

A key part of making a prognosis is looking at survival rates. These are numbers researchers collect over many years in people with the same type of cancer. These numbers are based on large groups of people. For breast cancer, there are two main measurements:

Breast cancer survivalrates reflect the percentage of women who are alive 5 years or longer after their diagnosis. This means the numbers are based on women who were found to have breast cancer at least 5 years ago. Advances in diagnosing and treating cancer have led to steadily improving survival rates, so the outlook for women diagnosed today is likely better.

Relative survival rates dont take into account the cause of death. Theyre a measure of the percentage of people with cancer who have lived for a certain time after diagnosis, compared with people who did not have cancer.

Also Check: What Is The Prognosis For Stage 4 Breast Cancer

Is Stage 4 Breast Cancer Painful

Is cancer always fatal?

Stage iv metastatic breast cancer can be painful for patients similar to other cancer types. Because the prognosis of metastatic cancer is often less favorable, many patients question is stage 4 breast cancer painful? It depends on several factors such as, where the cancer has and what type of cells are being affected. For example, if the cancer has spread to the bone, patients may experience persistent bone pain. Palliative treatments can be given to patients to help relieve symptoms such as pain. These treatments can include chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or radiation therapy.

Also Check: Why Is Breast Cancer Awareness Important

What Is The Life Expectancy For Stage 4 Breast Cancer

Stage 4 breast cancer life expectancy can vary depending on several factors. The following factors can affect your life expectancy with metastatic breast cancer:

  • Amount of hormone receptors and HER2 receptors on cancerous cells
  • Tissues that the cancer has affected

There is still not a clear answer for how long can you live with stage 4 breast cancer because it can vary greatly from patient to patient. Other factors such as past and current treatments being used also can have an effect on the life expectancy for patients.

Other Information About Staging

Along with the numerical stages, breast cancer is classified using the American Joint Committee on Cancer TNM system, which takes into account:

  • The size of the tumor ,
  • Spread to nearby lymph nodes ,
  • Spread or metastasis to distant sites ,
  • Estrogen receptor status,
  • Status called Her2 protein ,
  • The grade of the cancer , or how much the cells look like normal cells

The grade for breast cancer is how aggressive it looks under the microscope, Henry says. The grade is also assigned a number, with one being the least aggressive and three being the most. Since both the stage and grade are numbered systems, patients sometimes confuse the two, she says.

When meeting with a breast cancer patient, Henry says she talks about the stage, the grade, and other factors to advise the best form of treatment.

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How Is Stage 4 Breast Cancer Treatedand Whats The Survival Rate

While every stage 4 breast cancer diagnosis is differentwhich means the methods used to treat it will also differthis stage of breast cancer is usually treated systemically , since the cancer has already spread to other areas of the body. Systemic treatments usually include options like hormone therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy, according to the NCI.

Still, those treatments vary depending on a variety of factors, including where the cancer is located, as well as the patientâs symptoms, overall health, and previous cancer treatmentsand patients are closely monitored throughout treatment for the best outcome. Patients are generally started on the treatment of best reflex or biology and followed closely using scans, with change in treatments as needed if the current treatment is not resulting and either shrinkage or stability of the breast cancer, Dr. Tripathy explains.

In addition to more standard systemic treatment options, Dr. Tripathy explains that there are newer technologies being increasingly usedlike ones that sequence the DNA of cancerous tumor cells for more specified treatmentsas well as various clinical trials designed to offer more options and possibly better outcomes to those dealing with the disease.

Will I Die Of Breast Cancer

Stage 4 Breast Cancer Diet For Survival

This is a difficult question to answer early in your cancer care but it is still worth asking. Many people just diagnosed with cancer have no idea how much of a risk to their life their unique situation poses. Most breast cancers carry a low risk of recurrence, especially early-stage cancers. The answer is usually reassuring.

Recommended Reading: Why Are So Many Young Women Getting Breast Cancer

What Are The Stages Of Breast Cancer

Staging system

The most widely used system in the U.S. is the American Joint Committee on Cancer TNM system. Medical professionals developed a new eighth edition of this staging system for 2018 that includes results of testing for certain biomarkers, including the HER2 protein, estrogen receptor and progesterone , and the results of gene expression assays, in addition to the factors described below.

Besides the information gained from the imaging tests, this system also uses the results from surgical procedures. After surgery, a pathologist looks at the cells from the breast cancer as well as from the lymph nodes. They incorporate this information into the staging, as it tends to be more accurate than the physical exam and X-ray findings alone.

The TNM system uses letters and numbers to describe certain tumor characteristics in a uniform manner. This allows health care providers to stage the cancer and aids communication among health care providers. The following is an abbreviated example of the TNM staging system.

T: This describes the size of the tumor. A number from 0 to 4 follows. Higher numbers indicate a larger tumor or greater spread:

  • T1: Tumor is 2 cm or less across
  • T2: Tumor is 2 cm-5 cm
  • T3: Tumor is more than 5 cm
  • T4: Tumor of any size growing into the chest wall or skin

N: This describes the spread to lymph node near the breast. A number from 0 to 3 follows.

M: This letter is followed by a 0 or 1, indicating whether the cancer has spread to other organs.

Survival Rate With Metastatic Breast Cancer

Many people wonder about the life expectancy for stage 4 breast cancer . It’s important to note that everyone is different and survival rates vary widely. There are some people who survive many years and even decades with stage 4 disease. At the same time, it’s important to understand that stage 4 breast cancer isn’t curable.

It can be helpful to look at current statistics and consider the many variables that affect life expectancy. While it’s important not to raise false hope, it may help to know the reality that there are some long-term survivors.

Some people want to know the statistics, but many don’t. If you’re living with stage 4 breast cancer, there is absolutely no requirement that you know the prognosis. The information provided here is only for those who truly wish to know what the current research iseven this research has many limitations.

Also Check: Lobular Breast Cancer Survival Rate

When Do People Get A Metastatic Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Metastatic breast cancer can occur at different points:

  • De novo metastatic breast cancer: About 6% of women and 9% of men have metastatic breast cancer when theyre first diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Distant recurrence: Most commonly, metastatic breast cancer is diagnosed after the original breast cancer treatment. A recurrence refers to the cancer coming back and spreading to a different part of the body, which can happen even years after the original diagnosis and treatment.

Surviving Stage 4 Breast Cancer: Is It Possible

Stage 4 Prostate Cancer

Understanding survival rates of stage 4 breast cancer

According to the National Cancer Institute , an estimated 27 percent of people in the United States live at least 5 years after being diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer.

Many factors can affect your longevity and quality of life. Different subtypes of breast cancer behave differently. Some are more aggressive than others, and some have far fewer treatment options than others. For this reason, your subtype may affect your outlook.

Higher survival rates are also associated with the extent and location of metastasis. In other words, your long-term outlook may be better if your cancer has only spread to your bones than if its found in your bones and lungs.

Immediately seeking treatment, like chemotherapy, surgery, or hormone therapy, can help improve your outlook. Making healthy lifestyle choices might also improve your chances of survival.

Also Check: Does Immunotherapy Work For Breast Cancer

Why Should You Consider Getting Breast Cancer Treatment In India

India is the most favoured place for cancer treatment due to a few major reasons. And if you are searching for the best thyroid cancer treatment hospital in India, we will help you to find the same.

  • India’s cutting-edge techniques,
  • Advanced medical equipment
  • State-of-the-art surgical techniques for breast cancer surgery
  • Breast cancer treatment costs in India are among the best in the world, as our patients need affordable and quality outcomes.

All these have significantly increased the success rate of thyroid cancer treatment in India.

By simply packing their medical journey to India, liver transplant treatment can substantially benefit the patient. We also offer a comprehensive range of counselling for coping with emotional changes while getting cancer treatment to our national and international patients as well.

Diagnosis Of Stage 4 Breast Cancer

If you are diagnosed with breast cancer, you may have further tests to determine the extent that the cancer has spread throughout the body. This is called staging. It helps you and your doctors decide on the best treatment options for you.

In addition the numbered staging system, the TNM staging system is also commonly used for breast cancer staging.

Also Check: Symptoms Of Breast Cancer Spreading

Read Also: Is Breast Cancer Slow Growing In The Elderly

What Is Stage 3 Breast Cancer

Also known as locally advanced breast cancer, the tumor in this stage of breast cancer is more than 2 inches in diameter across and the cancer is extensive in the underarm lymph nodes or has spread to other lymph nodes or tissues near the breast. Stage 3 breast cancer is a more advanced form of invasive breast cancer. At this stage, the cancer cells have usually not spread to more distant sites in the body, but they are present in several axillary lymph nodes. The tumor may also be quite large at this stage, possibly extending to the chest wall or the skin of the breast.

Stage 3 breast cancer is divided into three categories:

Stage 3A: One of the following is true:

  • No tumor is found in the breast, but cancer is present in axillary lymph nodes that are attached to either other or other structures, or cancer may be found in the lymph nodes near the breast bone, or
  • The tumor is 2 cm or smaller. Cancer has spread to axillary lymph nodes that are attached to each other or other structures, or cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone, or
  • The tumor is 2 cm to 4 cm in size. Cancer has spread to axillary lymph nodes that are attached to each other or to other structures, or cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breast bone, or
  • The tumor is larger than 5 cm. Cancer has spread to axillary lymph nodes that may be attached to each other or to other structures, or cancer may have spread to lymph nodes near the breastbone.

Stage 3C:

Living With Stage : The Breast Cancer No One Understands

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Leer en español.

Editor’s note: We’re bringing back this piece from October 2014 for Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day and to honor Jody Schoger, featured in the story. Schoger died of metastatic breast cancer in May. Want to learn more about MBC? Look for our tweets at the Northwest Metastatic Breast Cancer Conference this Saturday at Fred Hutch.

A no-nonsense Texan of 60 years, Jody Schoger* has a very no-nonsense way of educating people about her metastatic breast cancer.

âSomeone will say, âWhen are you done with treatment?â and Iâll tell them, âWhen Iâm dead,ââ said Schoger, a writer and cancer advocate who lives near Houston. âSo many people interpret survivorship as going across the board. That everybody survives cancer now. But everybody does not survive cancer.â

An estimated 155,000-plus women in the U.S. currently live with âmets,â or metastatic breast cancer. This type of cancer, also called stage 4 breast cancer, means the cancer has metastasized, or traveled, through the bloodstream to create tumors in the liver, lungs, brain, bones and/or other parts of the body. Between 20 and 30 percent of women with early stage breast cancer go on to develop metastatic disease. While treatable, metastatic breast cancer cannot be cured. The five-year survival rate for stage 4 breast cancer is 22 percent median survival is three years. Annually, the disease takes 40,000 lives.

Also Check: Does Nipple Piercing Cause Breast Cancer

Coping With Stage 4 Breast Cancer

It is natural to feel depressed, anxious, or even angry when you have been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. It can leave you feeling as if you have no control over your health or future. Moreover, you may find that certain people will withdraw from you or suggest that you have metastatic cancer because you “left it too long.”

It is important to shield yourself from these negative emotions and embrace people who can provide you with genuine support. These include loved ones, support groups, and your oncology team. If you are unable to cope, ask for a referral to a therapist who can provide you counseling or a psychiatrist able to dispense treatment.

With that being said, there are women who experience positive emotional growth after being diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. It is not uncommon to hear someone say that cancer helped prioritize their life, allowing them to pursue what is truly important and connect with people on a deeper, more profound level.

Whatever your experience, don’t go it alone. Seek support and work with your medical team as a full partner in your care.

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