What To Know About Metastatic Breast Cancer Or Breast Cancer That’s Spread Elsewhere In Your Body
Breast cancer that’s metastasized has spread to the bones, brain, lungs, or other parts of the body.
Symptoms can depend on where the cancer is in your body, but pain, weakness, and fatigue are common.
Treatments include hormone and radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and palliative, or supportive, care.
Metastatic, or stage IV, breast cancer is an advanced stage of breast cancer.
It involves cancer that has spread away from the initial site of the breast to other parts of the body. About 30% of people with breast cancer develop metastatic breast cancer.
While metastatic breast cancer is a serious form of advanced cancer, treatment can still help improve survival odds.
Support For Living With Secondary Breast Cancer In The Lung
Everyones experience of being diagnosed with secondary breast cancer is different, and people cope in their own way.
For many people, uncertainty can be the hardest part of living with secondary breast cancer.
You may find it helpful to talk to someone else whos had a diagnosis of secondary breast cancer.
- Chat to other people living with secondary breast cancer on our online Forum
- Meet other women with a secondary diagnosis and get information and support at a Living with Secondary Breast Cancer meet-up
- Live Chat is a weekly private chat room where you can talk about whatevers on your mind
You can also call Breast Cancer Nows Helpline free on 0808 800 6000.
Most Common Places It Spreads
It’s still breast cancer, even if it’s in another organ. For example, if breast cancer spreads to your lungs, that doesn’t mean you have lung cancer. Although it can spread to any part of your body, there are certain places it’s most likely to go to, including the lymph nodes, bones, liver, lungs, and brain.
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How Lung Cancer Spreads
Lung cancer spreads when cancer cells break off from the primary tumor and travel through the bloodstream or lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and organs that collects, carries, and filters substances from the body, including cancer cells.
The most common areas for lung cancer to spread are:
Less commonly, lung cancer can spread to the stomach, intestines, pancreas, eyes, skin, kidneys, or breast.
Different stages of the disease indicate how much the cancer has grown and spread. Local spread is known as stage 2. Metastasis occurs when cancer spreads to distant sites. Unlike early-stage cancer that may be cured, metastatic cancer cannot and is instead managed.
If cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it is still referred to by the site of the primary tumor. For example, if lung cancer spreads to the bone, it is called “lung cancer metastatic to bone” rather than “bone cancer.”
Loss Of Appetite Could Mean Your Lung Cancer Has Metastasized
You may find you lose your appetite during the advanced stage of lung cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. This is a sign of your body slowing down. You might notice that food doesnt smell or taste good or you may be nauseas. Youll probably lose weight. There are medications that can stimulate your appetite, so talk with your doctor if you no longer want to eat.
Educating Yourself About Lung Cancer:
Diseases of the Lung: Lung metastases Metastatic cancer to the lung
Metastatic cancer to the lung
Metastatic lung cancer is cancer that starts somewhere else in the body and spreads to the lungs.
See also: Lung cancer
Metastatic tumors in the lungs are malignancies that developed at other sites and spread via the blood stream to the lungs. Common tumors that metastasize to the lungs include breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, sarcoma, bladder cancer, neuroblastoma, and Wilms tumor. However, almost any cancer has the capacity to spread to the lungs.
Note: Sometimes, there are no symptoms.
Exams and Tests
- Surgical lung biopsy
In most cases, metastatic cancer to the lung is a sign that the cancer has spread into the bloodstream. Usually cancer will be present even in places not seen by CT scans. In these circumstances, removing the visible tumors by surgery is usually not beneficial. Chemotherapy is usually the treatment of choice.
Cure is unlikely in most cases. Patients with testicular cancer or lymphoma, however, have a higher likelihood of long-term survival and cure compared with those with most other cancers.
In some circumstances in which the primary tumor has been removed and cancer has spread to only limited areas of the lung, the lung metastases can be removed surgically with the goal of long-term survival or, occasionally, cure.
Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatment And Planning
After a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer, its helpful to take all the time you need to gather information and make decisions about your treatment. Learn about the medical specialists that may be involved in your care, treatment options, genetic testing, taking a break from treatment, and more.
SurgeryDoctors sometimes recommend surgery for metastatic breast cancer in order, for example, to prevent broken bones or cancer cell blockages in the liver. Learn more.
ChemotherapyChemotherapy is used in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer to damage or destroy the cancer cells as much as possible. Learn more.
Radiation TherapyYour doctor may suggest radiation therapy if youre having symptoms for reasons such as easing pain and controlling the cancer in a specific area. Learn more.
Hormonal TherapyHormonal therapy medicines are used to help shrink or slow the growth of hormone-receptor-positive metastatic breast cancer. Learn more.
Targeted TherapyTargeted therapies target specific characteristics of cancer cells, such as a protein that allows the cancer cells to grow in a rapid or abnormal way. Learn more.
Local Treatments for Distant Areas of MetastasisLocal treatments are directed specifically to the new locations of the breast cancer such as the bones or liver. These treatments may be recommended if, for example, the metastatic breast cancer is causing pain. Learn more.
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How Common Are Brain Metastases
4.7/5brainbrain metastasesBrain metastasesbrainBrain metastases
People also ask, can you survive brain metastases?
Early studies of patients with brain metastases revealed poor prognosis with median survival of 1 month reported for patients not treated with either radiation or surgery, and about 3-4 months among treated patients.
Secondly, what are the most common primary malignancies that metastasize to the brain? Metastasis is the most common cause of brain cancer, with primary tumors that originate in the brain being less common. The most common sites of primary cancer which metastasize to the brain are lung, breast, colon, kidney, and skin cancer.
Also to know is, how long can you live with metastatic brain cancer?
Being diagnosed with a brain metastasis used to mean your life expectancy was six months or less, but thats no longer true. With longer survival rates due to a variety of more effective treatments, neurosurgeons are now closely involved in treating metastatic brain cancer.
What are the signs of brain metastases?
Other signs and symptoms of brain metastases include:
- nausea and vomiting.
How Breast Cancer Spreads To The Lungs
Breast cancer starts in the breast. As the abnormal cells divide and multiply, they form a tumor. As the tumor grows, cancer cells can break away from the primary tumor and travel to distant organs or invade nearby tissue.
Cancer cells can enter the bloodstream or migrate to nearby lymph nodes under the arm or near the collarbone. Once in the blood or lymph systems, cancer cells can travel through your body and land in distant organs or tissue.
Once cancer cells reach the lungs, they can start to form one or more new tumors. Its possible for breast cancer to spread to multiple locations at the same time.
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Probabilities For Lung Cancer Subtypes And Staining Patterns
The exception will be for staining for ER, given that staining for mammaglobin is negative, because staining for these 2 markers has been demonstrated to be statistically dependent., Thus, using the combined results of these 2 studies, the probability that ER is positive in a mammaglobin case was reduced from .75 to .71.
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Types Of Breast Cancer
There are several types of breast cancer, and any of them can metastasize. Most breast cancers start in the ducts or lobules and are called ductal carcinomas or lobular carcinomas:
- Ductal carcinoma. These cancers start in the cells lining the milk ducts and make up the majority of breast cancers.
- Lobular carcinoma. This is cancer that starts in the lobules, which are the small, tube-like structures that contain milk glands.
Less common types of breast cancer include:
Inflammatory breast cancer is a faster-growing type of cancer that accounts for about 1% to 5% of all breast cancers.
Pagets disease is a type of cancer that begins in the ducts of the nipple.
Breast cancer can develop in women and men. However, breast cancer in men is rare. Less than 1% of all breast cancers develop in men.
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Common Sites Of Metastasis
- Brain: 7.3%
- All less common sites: 22.4%
Invasive lobular carcinoma tends to have a significantly different pattern of metastases than ductal breast cancer. In one 2017 study, almost 70% of people with metastases from lobular carcinoma had peritoneal metastases.
For roughly a third of women , cancer spreads to multiple organs at the same time.
Stem Cell Or Bone Marrow Transplant
A stem cell transplant, sometimes called bone marrow transplant, replaces damaged blood-forming cells with healthy ones. The procedure takes place following large-dose chemotherapy or radiation therapy to kill cancer cells and to stop your stem cells from producing cancerous cells.
Stem cell transplants can be used for several types of cancer, including multiple myeloma and some kinds of leukemia.
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Outcomes And Survival Rates
There is currently no cure for widely metastatic lung cancer. However, advancements in cancer research and treatment continue to improve survival times and quality of life for people living with lung cancer that has metastasized to the brain. Previously, lung cancer with multiple brain metastasis was considered a hopeless diagnosis, but new targeted therapies have changed that. For example, a decade ago, many people with ALK-driven lung cancer were expected to survive six to nine months. Now, they are able to survive an average of four or five years.
It is important not to get discouraged by survival rates you might read online. They are only averages of the millions of people around the world who have dealt with lung cancer and brain metastases each of whom, like you, is in a unique scenario. Some people survive the average amount of time, but there are also many people who survive much longer.
It is also important to remain hopeful as you or your loved one go through this journey. In fact, studies show that people who have high resiliency and greater social and emotional support report a higher quality of life during treatment than people who do not. Having regular follow-ups with your doctor and health care team will also give you the best outcome for your specific situation.
What Treatments May I Be Offered
Treatment for secondary breast cancer in the lung aims to relieve symptoms and slow down the growth of the cancer.
Treatments can be given on their own or in combination.
When making decisions about how best to treat you, your treatment team will consider factors such as:
- How extensive the cancer is within the lung
- Whether the cancer has spread to other organs
- Any symptoms you have
- What treatment youve had in the past
- The features of the cancer
- Whether youve been through the menopause
- Your general health
Your specialist should discuss any recommendations for treatment with you and take into account your wishes. They will talk with you about your options, explain what the aim of your treatment will be and help you weigh up the potential benefits against the possible side effects you may have.
You may also be referred to the respiratory team, which specialises in treating people with breathing difficulties. They can help plan your treatment or manage your symptoms. Your care will continue under your usual breast oncologist, but with involvement or advice from the other team.
If you had a biopsy or surgery for primary breast cancer, the tissue removed will have been tested to see if it is ER+. However, in some people the oestrogen receptors change during the development of secondary breast cancer. Because of this, your doctor may discuss having a biopsy to retest for hormone receptors.
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Where Does Metastatic Lung Cancer Spread To
Lung cancer can spread in several ways. Cancerous cells can grow into surrounding healthy tissues, including the lining of the lungs and nearby lobes. This is known as local metastasis. Or, cancerous cells can invade the lymph nodes and travel through the lymphatic system to other parts of the body. This is known as distant metastasis.
Palliative And Supportive Care
Palliative and supportive care focuses on symptom control and support. Its an extremely important part of the care and treatment for many people with secondary breast cancer and can significantly improve quality of life for them and their families.
People often associate palliative care with end-of-life treatment. However, many people value having it at any stage of their illness, alongside their medical treatment, to help prevent and relieve symptoms such as pain or fatigue. It can also help with the emotional, social and spiritual effects of secondary breast cancer.
The palliative and supportive care teams are based in hospitals, hospices and the community. You can be referred by your treatment team, GP or breast care nurse depending on your situation.
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Treating Metastatic Breast Cancer
When treating metastatic breast cancer, the goal is to help minimize or eliminate symptoms and lengthen your life without sacrificing your quality of life.
Breast cancer treatment depends on many factors, such as the type of breast cancer, previous treatments, and your overall health. Another important factor is where the cancer has spread and whether the cancer has spread to multiple locations.
Metastatic Lung Cancer Outlook
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in the world. Thereâs no way to prevent lung cancer, but there are ways to treat it. And thereâs reason to be hopeful: Doctors are working on new treatments every day. Immunotherapy, which boosts your bodyâs own cancer-fighting powers, has shown promise in recent years.
Your outlook for living with metastatic lung cancer depends in part on where the cancer started. Itâs rare, but people with sarcoma, renal cell carcinoma, bladder cancer, colon cancer, or melanoma can sometimes be cured with surgery. And chemotherapy may cure some people with cancer that started in the testicles or lymph nodes.
Most people with this type of cancer can expect to live about 5 years. But that doesnt take into account newer treatments, like immunotherapy, which boosts your bodyâs own cancer-fighting powers. And it also doesnât reflect that everyone is different. How well you respond to treatment depends on what treatment you and your doctor chose, your overall health when you were diagnosed, how soon you were diagnosed, and how far the cancer has spread.
Joining a cancer support group or talking privately with a therapist are booth good ways to deal with your feelings. Ask your doctor to suggest options that may be right for you.
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Poor Appetite And Weight Loss
Sometimes people with secondary breast cancer cant eat as much as usual. This means they have difficulty maintaining their weight as well as providing the body with energy. Low energy levels can affect mobility and might make it harder to manage any symptoms such as breathlessness.
Poor appetite can be due to the effects of the cancer, treatment or anxiety. A small number of people may have difficulty swallowing.
You might find it easier to eat little and often instead of having set meals. If you still feel you arent eating enough, are losing weight or have no interest in food, talk to your doctor or specialist nurse about dietary supplements or ask to speak to a dietitian for specialist advice.
In some circumstances you may be prescribed medication to help stimulate your appetite.
Exercise And Secondary Breast Cancer In The Lung
Some people with secondary breast cancer in the lung have no symptoms while others have a combination of pain, sickness, loss of appetite, hiccups, tiredness and fatigue. While physical activity may help reduce some symptoms its important to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard. Gentle, regular activity, such as walking, is often most effective.
If youre currently having treatment you may need to exercise at a slightly lower level. Stop if it hurts or feels like youre working too hard.
When choosing your exercise, try to focus on aerobic activities such as walking, swimming or cycling. Activities such as dancing and gardening can also be beneficial. You could also include some light toning or conditioning exercises such as stretching or low-impact yoga. The most important thing is to choose something you can safely enjoy.
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