Symptoms Of Regional Recurrence
Symptoms of a regional recurrence may include:
- lumps in your lymph nodes under the arm or near the collarbone
- chest pain
- pain or loss of sensation in your arm or shoulder
- swelling in your arm on the same side as the original breast cancer
If youve had a mastectomy or other surgery related to breast cancer, you might get lumps or bumps caused by scar tissue in the reconstructed breast. This isnt cancer, but you should let your doctor know about them so they can be monitored.
As with any cancer, early detection and treatment are major factors in determining the outcome. Breast cancer is easily treated and usually curable when detected in the earliest stages.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, according to the World Health Organization . Whether youre concerned about breast pain or tenderness, its important to stay informed on risk factors and warning signs of breast cancer.
The best way to fight breast cancer is early detection. Talk with your doctor about when you should start breast cancer screening.
If youre worried that your breast pain or tenderness could be something serious, make an appointment with your doctor today. If you find a lump in your breast see your doctor.
Emotional And Spiritual Care
End-of-life care also includes emotional, mental, and spiritual therapy. A personâs healthcare team may include social workers, counselors, mental health professionals, and religious or spiritual advisors.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, up to 40 percent of people with cancer experience serious mental distress. This may include anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and post-traumatic stress disorder .
Medications, therapy, religious or spiritual rituals, and support groups can help a person cope with mental health issues and stress during this difficult time.
Caregivers may also need help with stress, anxiety, and depression. The palliative care team can usually also provide support and advice to caregivers for their emotional needs.
Symptoms Of Secondary Breast Cancer
Secondary breast cancer means that a cancer that began in the breast has spread to another part of the body. Secondary cancer can also be called advanced or metastatic cancer.
It might not mean that you have secondary breast cancer if you have the symptoms described below. They can be caused by other conditions.
Don’t Miss: When Is Breast Cancer Awareness Week
What Can I Expect While Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer
Your care team will monitor you every few months to check if the cancer is responding to treatment, and also to see if you are having any side effects. The process of restaging the cancer includes:
- History/physical exam.
- Blood tests.
- Imaging tests, including CTs and bone scan or PET scan.
Before your scans or tests, its normal to feel anxiety. It may help to bring a friend or family member to the appointment with you.
What Hope Do You Give Patients With Metastatic Breast Cancer
“We have seen quite a number of medications approved in the last few years. And we know that there are more medications being reviewed by the FDA for consideration of approval in the next few years.” Henry says. “It’s an exciting time in oncology to have all these new treatments being developed.
“I always stress to patients that I want to do everything I can to help them live as long as they can, while still maintaining quality of life, allowing them to do the things they want to do. We do our best to make sure that we adjust treatment schedules to allow people to attend graduations or family reunions, or a trip they want to be able to take,” explains Henry.
“We want to help them look forward.”
Continue learning about breast cancer, metastatic cancer and the people who live with it
Also Check: Does Breast Cancer Make You Dizzy
Survival Rates For Inflammatory Breast Cancer
Inflammatory breast cancer is considered an aggressive cancer because it grows quickly, is more likely to have spread at the time its found, and is more likely to come back after treatment than other types of breast cancer. The outlook is generally not as good as it is for other types of breast cancer.
Survival rates can give you an idea of what percentage of people with the same type and stage of cancer are still alive a certain amount of time after they were diagnosed. They cant tell you how long you will live, but they may help give you a better understanding of how likely it is that your treatment will be successful.
Keep in mind that survival rates are estimates and are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had a specific cancer, but they cant predict what will happen in any particular persons case. These statistics can be confusing and may lead you to have more questions. Talk with your doctor about how these numbers may apply to you, as he or she is familiar with your situation.
Can Chemo Cause Metastasis
While chemotherapy is one of the oldest and most successful ways of treating cancer, it doesnt always work. So, yes, cancer can spread during chemotherapy. Spreading could mean the tumor keeps growing, or that the original tumor shrinks, but cancer metastasizes, forming tumors in other areas of the body.
Also Check: Where Do You Get Breast Cancer Lumps
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.
What If A Patient Sees The Term Metastatic On An Online Pathology Report Before Seeing The Oncologist Does That Mean They Have Stage 4
“Because we have electronic medical records now, and everyone has fairly early access to documents like pathology reports, it can cause a lot of anxiety and be very confusing to a patient,” Henry says. “Sometimes a pathology report may say ‘metastatic to lymph node.’ But that may not mean it is stage 4.” It may simply mean the cancer has spread to an adjacent lymph node. Henry emphasizes that patients should talk to their doctor to understand their diagnosis.
Don’t Miss: How Long Is Chemo For Stage 1 Breast Cancer
Symptoms Of Metastatic Cancer
Metastatic cancer does not always cause symptoms. When symptoms do occur, what they are like and how often you have them will depend on the size and location of the metastatic tumors. Some common signs of metastatic cancer include:
- pain and fractures, when cancer has spread to the bone
- headache, seizures, or dizziness, when cancer has spread to the brain
- shortness of breath, when cancer has spread to the lung
- jaundice or swelling in the belly, when cancer has spread to the liver
Also Check: Why Is Breast Cancer So Deadly
How Can I Take Care Of Myself While Living With Metastatic Breast Cancer
Living with metastatic breast cancer can be challenging. Your care team can help provide physical and emotional support. Talk to them about how you can:
- Eat the most nutritious diet for your needs.
- Exercise regularly.
- Get emotional support, including finding support groups.
- Reach out for help from friends, family and loved ones.
- Find mental health services.
- Find complementary therapies.
Also Check: Can Chest X Ray Detect Breast Cancer
Breast Cancer Symptoms You Shouldnt Ignore
Most breast cancer symptoms are discovered by women during regular dailyactivities like bathing. Knowing how your breasts look and feel, andbeing alert for the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, like a lump,can help you detect the disease early, when its easiest to treat.
Most breast changes are due to hormonal cycles or conditions that are less worrying than breast cancer. However, if you experience any of the following breast cancer symptoms, even if they seem mild, see your doctor.
- A lump in the breast or armpit is the most common symptom of breast cancer. Patients often describe this as a ball or a nodule. Lumps may feel soft and rubbery or hard. Unless you have small breasts or the lump is very large, you probably wont be able to see it.
- Skin redness
- Nipple changes, including the nipple turning inward, pulling to one side or changing direction
- Ulcer on the breast or nipple
- Thickening of the skin, resulting in an orange-peel texture
Though rare, men can also get breast cancer. The most common symptoms of male breast cancer are a lump, discharge or dimpling.
Metastatic Breast Cancer Symptoms
Metastatic breast cancer symptoms depend on the part of the body to which the cancer has spread and its stage. Sometimes, metastatic disease may not cause any symptoms.
- If the breast or chest wall is affected, symptoms may include pain, nipple discharge, or a lump or thickening in the breast or underarm.
- If the bones are affected, symptoms may include pain, fractures, constipation or decreased alertness due to high calcium levels.
- If tumors form in the lungs, symptoms may include shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, coughing, chest wall pain or extreme fatigue.
- If the liver is affected, symptoms may include nausea, extreme fatigue, increased abdominal girth, swelling of the feet and hands due to fluid collection and yellowing or itchy skin.
- If breast cancer spreads to the brain or spinal cord and forms tumors, symptoms may include pain, confusion, memory loss, headache, blurred or double vision, difficulty with speech, difficulty with movement or seizures.
Read Also: What Causes Breast Pain Besides Cancer
New Jerseys Largest Network Of Cancer Specialists
We offer access to New Jerseys largest network of breast cancer specialists, including nationally and internationally recognized hematologists/oncologists, radiation oncologists, advanced practice nurses, and oncology support professionals with advanced credentials in cancer specialty care with expertise in blood cancers.
What Is Metastatic Breast Cancer
Metastasis is the process by which cancer cells spread. In the case of metastatic breast cancer, the cancer originated in breast tissue, then spread to other parts of the body.
Metastatic cancer is further described as local, regional or distant, depending on the location of the cancer cells in relation to the original tumor.
- Localized metastatic breast cancer often means the breast cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
- The more distant locations include the bones, lungs, skin, liver and brain, although its possible for other parts of the body to be affected.
Its important to remember that every cancer is unique and that your experience may not necessarily be the same as that of another breast cancer patient. With a personalized treatment plan, metastatic breast cancer is typically treatable. A recent National Cancer Institute study found that the number of U.S. women living longer with distant metastatic breast cancer is growing, thanks to advances in treatments.
Its also important to prepare yourself with information about the disease, its symptoms and how its detected and treated.
This article will cover:
Don’t Miss: Can You Have Breast Cancer At 16
Types Of Breast Cancer:
In many cases, the subtype of breast cancer cant be identified until imaging and a biopsy are done, but these are the main types to be aware of:
Ductal just means that it started in the milk ducts, says , a breast medical oncologist at Cedars-Sinai Tower Hematology Oncology in Beverly Hills, California. Ductal carcinoma can present in a variety of ways so there aren’t really specific signs to watch for. In the beginning, it’s considered non-invasive, but as soon as the cancer leaves the ducts, it becomes invasive. While ductal cancer is the most common type of breast cancer, there are many rare subtypes under the ductal umbrella, including medullary breast cancer and mucinous breast cancer.
Lobular cancer means that it started in the lobules, which form the milk, says Dr. El-Masry. This subtype tends to result in a thickening of the skin rather than a lump, according to El-Ashry but of course, everyones body is different. If the cancer spreads beyond the lobules, thats when its considered to be invasive.
Breast sarcomas are very rare, but they originate in the connective tissue of the breast rather than the ducts or lobules. Two subtypes of breast sarcomas include angiosarcoma and phyllodes tumor.
Inflammatory breast cancer
Pagets disease of the breast
Recurrent breast cancer
Hormone-fueled breast cancer
When Metastatic Cancer Can No Longer Be Controlled
If you have been told your cancer can no longer be controlled, you and your loved ones may want to discuss end-of-life care. Whether or not you choose to continue treatment to shrink the cancer or control its growth, you can always receive palliative care to control the symptoms of cancer and the side effects of treatment. Information on coping with and planning for end-of-life care is available in the Advanced Cancer section of this site.
Don’t Miss: How Many Women Have Breast Cancer
Dimples On The Breast
Yet another one of the common and warning signs of breast cancer is the presence of dimpled skin around the breast region. It is very common for you to experience dimpling around the skin when you wear tight clothes and such.
But, the problem does arise when the condition is persistent and doesnt go away. If you find that the dimple in the skin around the breast is persistent and doesnt go away, it is best to consult a doctor to get the same checked out.
This is predominantly caused when the tumor inside the breast causes a pull in the skin, thus leaving behind an indent in that area. If you are confused as to how you will detect the same, it can easily be done when you do lift your hands above your head and check whether the whole skin of the breast rides up and down with the motion of your arms.
What Are The Early Signs Of Metastatic Breast Cancer
Metastatic breast cancer is an advanced form of breast cancer that has spread to another part of the body, usually the bones, brain, lungs or liver. When a cancer like this spread, it is still made up of cells from the original cancer site. For example, breast cancer that has spread to the lungs is still made up of breast cancer cells as opposed to lung cancer cells. Metastatic cancer occurs because cancer cells can travel through the body through the bloodstream or the lymph system, which is a channel of nodes and vessels that work to remove bacteria, viruses and cell waste.
It is a common misconception that developing metastatic breast cancer means you are out of options. However, there are many types of ongoing treatment options that can keep this type of cancer under control, and many people continue to live productive lives with breast cancer. Treatment choices can depend on a persons age, overall health and other medical conditions. The risk associated with metastatic cancer varies according to each person and their body, but it can be helpful to be aware of the early warning signs as you navigate your breast cancer diagnosis.
However, if you experience new symptoms, you should always talk to your doctor. Its great to remember the 3 Ps when managing symptoms:
Again, most people will not develop metastatic breast cancer, but its always important to manage your overall health and speak to your doctor if you feel anything out of the ordinary.
Read Also: Are There Different Types Of Breast Cancer
What Are The Signs That Breast Cancer Has Spread
Metastatic breast cancer is a secondary cancer the cancerous cells originate in breast tissue and then travel to other parts of the body. The most common areas of breast cancer metastasis are the bones, lungs and liver.
Following an initial breast cancer diagnosis, a patient will receive a personalized monitoring plan for metastatic reoccurrence from their care team. Depending on the specific parts of the body affected, the symptoms of metastatic breast cancer can vary.
Also Check: Who Is Considered High Risk For Breast Cancer
Treatment Of Stage Iv 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. It may also spread to the brain or other organs.
For women with stage IV breast cancer, systemic drug therapies are the main treatments. These may include:
- Some combination of these
Treatment can often shrink tumors , improve symptoms, and help some women live longer. These cancers are considered incurable.
Recommended Reading: What Is P53 In Breast Cancer