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Is Metastatic Breast Cancer Curable

Early Detection Of Metastatic Disease In An Oligometastatic State

Breakthroughs in metastatic breast cancer treatment

Locoregional treatment strategies are generally limited to patients with oligometastatic disease. Therefore, patients might benefit from early detection of metastatic disease after early breast cancer treatment. Using sensitive diagnostic tools like positron emission tomography/computed tomography or liquid biopsies might help to detect metastasis much earlier. Liquid biopsies nowadays allow detection of circulating tumor deoxyribonucleic acid ), circulating tumor cells , circulating exosomes , circulating micro ribonucleic acids or tumor-educated blood platelets . However, by earlier detection, survival time of patients might falsely increase due to lead time bias . Biological characteristics including molecular breast cancer subtypes, specific mutations or microRNA profiles might additionally help selecting patients for certain specific therapeutic strategies leading to long-term tumor control.

How Often Does Stage 1 Breast Cancer Come Back After Treatment

If stage 1 cancer is treated comprehensively, it rarely comes back. A new, unrelated breast cancer is more likely to emerge after stage 1 breast cancer is treated than a recurrence. Your healthcare provider will recommend a surveillance schedule for you so that new breast cancer or a recurrence can be identified and treated as quickly as possible.

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.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Metastatic Cancer

The symptoms produced by metastatic breast cancer vary depending on the location of the metastases.

For example, metastatic disease to the bone causes severe, progressive pain, and less commonly, pathological fracture, erythema over the affected bone and swelling.

Breast cancer cells that have spread to the brain cause persistent, progressively worsening headache, visual changes, seizures, nausea, vomiting, vertigo, behavioral and personality changes and increased intracranial pressure.

Metastatic disease to the liver causes jaundice, elevated liver enzymes, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting.

Metastatic breast cancer to the lung or pleura causes chronic cough, dyspnea, abnormal chest x-ray, and chest pain.

In addition, general, non-specific systemic symptoms of metastatic breast cancer include fatigue, malaise, weight loss and poor appetite.

Is Breast Cancer Metastatic Terminal

Treatment of Metastatic Breast Cancer: Endocrine ...
  • Is Breast Cancer Metastatic Terminal? Center
  • Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer globally, overtaking lung cancer in some countries. Metastatic breast cancer is an advanced stage cancer that has spread to distant organs.

    About 20-30% of women with early-stage breast cancer develop into metastatic disease. Most cancers of metastatic cancers do not have a good prognosis and are often labeled terminal.

    Metastatic breast cancer cannot be cured but can be managed with treatment. According to the American Cancer Society, the 5-year survival rate after diagnosis for people with stage 4 breast cancer is 27%. This means 27 out of 100 women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer will survive for at least five years. However, these survival rates are only predictions. You will need to discuss this with your doctor about the various treatments. The response to the treatment for metastatic cancer depends on many things, such as age, health, other co-existing health issues, and access to medical care.

    Breast cancer cells can migrate and metastasize anywhere in the body, but the most common sites are the lungs, liver, bones, and brain. Bone metastasis has better chances of survival than lung and liver metastases.

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    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.

    The Breast Cancer Healthline app provides people with access to an online breast cancer community, where users can connect with others and gain advice and support through group discussions.

    Myth #: Metastatic Breast Cancer Is Curable

    Whether metastatic breast cancer is someones first diagnosis or a recurrence after treatment for earlier-stage breast cancer, it cant be cured. However, treatments can keep it under control, often for months at a time. People with MBC report fielding questions from family and friends such as, When will you finish your treatments? or Wont you be glad when youre done with all of this? The reality is they will be in treatment for the rest of their lives.

    A typical pattern is to take a treatment regimen as long as it keeps the cancer under control and the side effects are tolerable. If it stops working, a patient can switch to another option. There may be periods of time when the cancer is well-controlled and a person can take a break. But people with MBC need to be in treatment for the rest of their lives.

    As Breastcancer.org Community member Vlnprh of Wisconsin comments: The vast majority of people have no idea what MBC treatment involves. They somehow think that you will undergo something similar to early-stage patients surgery, radiation, chemo, whatever and then be done. They want to see you as a pink-tutu-wearing cheerleader jumping up and down declaring that you have beaten this disease

    Amarantha of France writes: The one I get over and over is, How long will you be on this chemo? I mean doesn’t it end sometime? Yes, it ends when it stops working and then we go on to another treatment lather, rinse, repeat I guess until we run out of options.

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    Hormone Therapy For Premenopausal Women

    For premenopausal women with metastatic breast cancer, hormone therapy almost always begins with ovarian suppression and either an aromatase inhibitor, tamoxifen or other hormone therapy drug.

    Ovarian suppression lowers hormone levels in the body so the tumor cant get the estrogen it needs to grow. This may involve surgery to remove the ovaries or, more often, drugs to stop the ovaries from producing hormones.

    Combining ovarian suppression and a hormone therapy drug improves survival over either treatment alone .

    If breast cancer progressed during past treatment with a hormone therapy drug, the same hormone therapy drug may not be an option for treatment.

    Progression During Hormone Therapy

    HER2 Metastatic Breast Cancer: Standard of Care Therapies

    For hormone receptor-positive cancers that were being treated with hormone therapy, switching to another type of hormone therapy sometimes helps. For example, if either letrozole or anastrozole were given, using exemestane, possibly with everolimus , may be an option. Another option might be using fulvestrant or a different aromatase inhibitor, along with a CDK inhibitor. If the cancer has a PIK3CA mutation and has grown while being treated with an aromatase inhibitor, fulvestrant with alpelisib might be considered. If the cancer is no longer responding to any hormone drugs, chemotherapy immunotherapy, or PARP inhibitors might be options depending on specific features of the cancer or any gene changes that might be present.

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    Disease Free Intervals And Prognosis In Metastasis

    The time that passes between the primary diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer and a diagnosis of metastasis is also of prognostic significance.

    A 2015 medical study from the Netherlands looked at 815 patients with metastatic breast cancer between 2007 and 2009 in eight hospitals.

    Of these 815 patients, 154 had metastatic spread at diagnosis. 176 patients had a metastatic free interval of less than 2 years and 485 patients had been metastasis-free for longer than 2 years.

    The ladies presenting with metastatic breast cancer at diagnosis had a longer survival rate than those who experienced a recurrence at distant sites in under 2 years from the initial diagnosis of breast cancer.

    However, there were no differences in survival rates between those diagnosed at Stage IV and those women who had metastatic spread over 2 years after an original breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.

    Furthermore, some medical studies show that survival rates vary for different types and subtypes of breast tumors according to the time intervals of recurrence. So, for example, breast cancer survival rates comparing two cancers may be better at a 5-year interval for some cancers but even out over 15 years.

    Therapeutic Effect Of The Combination Treatment With Mn

    To investigate whether MN-anti-miR10b has the potential to provide a curable outcome to Stage IV breast cancer patients, we performed studies in immunocompetent mice with established metastases. Similar to the clinical treatment of metastatic breast cancer, the primary tumors were surgically removed in these mice once metastases were confirmed by bioluminescence imaging.

    presents the results of treatment. In control mice treated with PBS, metastases progressed rapidly . None of the animals showed evidence of metastatic regression, defined as reduction in BLI signal to background level . This resulted in 100% animal mortality by week 5 . In mice treated with inactive nanodrug in combination with low-dose doxorubicin, metastases grew slower than in the PBS controls . There was 80% cancer mortality in this group by week 7 . By contrast, in the mice treated with the active nanodrug and low-dose doxorubicin, regression of distant metastases was evident by week 6 . Regression was accomplished in 65% of the animals, whereas the remainder of the animals progressed despite the fact that metastatic burden at the beginning of treatment was not different between the animals . Importantly, the animals that regressed remained metastases free for the course of the experiment even though treatment was stopped after BLI signal over the whole body reached background level.

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    Stage 4 Breast Cancer

    Advanced breast cancer refers to cancer that has spread beyond the breast to other parts of the body. This process of spreading from the original location to a new location is known as metastasis.

    The most common places of breast cancer spread include the bones, liver, lung, and brain. However, breast cancer may also spread to other organs.

    The majority of women who are diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer have been diagnosed with an earlier stage of breast cancer before. In this instance, the original cancer in the breast is called the primary cancer. However, for some women, a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer may be their first diagnosis of cancer .

    Histology And Fluorescence Microscopy Of Tissue Sections

    Fifth Annual Metastatic Breast Cancer Forum

    To analyze the metastatic lesions post mortem, excised tissues were embedded in Tissue-Tek OCT compound , snap-frozen in liquid nitrogen and cut into 7-μm sections.

    To determine MN-antiâmiR-10b accumulation in tissue, the sections were stained using incubation with an anti-firefly luciferase antibody at 4°C overnight, followed by incubation with a Texas Redâconjugated goat anti-rabbit secondary antibody at room temperature for 1hour. Afterward, the slides were counterstained and mounted with Vectashield mounting medium with DAPI . The same sections were co-stained with a FITC-conjugated anti-dextran monoclonal antibody .

    Apoptosis in excised tissues was evaluated by performing a terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferaseâmediated dUTP nick end labeling assay according to the manufacturerâs protocol.

    For determining proliferation, frozen sections were incubated with an anti-Ki67 antibody followed by a DyLight-488âlabeled secondary antibody at room temperature for 1hour. Afterward, the slides were counterstained and mounted with Vectashield mounting medium with DAPI.

    For monitoring E-cadherin, frozen sections were incubated with an anti-E-Cadherin antibody followed by a FITCâlabeled secondary antibody at room temperature for 1hour.

    For monitoring HOXD10 expression, frozen sections were incubated with an anti-HOXD10 antibody followed by a FITCâlabeled secondary antibody at room temperature for 1hour.

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    Stage 0 Breast Cancer

    What is Stage 0 breast cancer?

    Stage 0 breast cancer is when the cells that line the milk ducts have become cancerous. This type of cancer is called ductal carcinoma in situ , or non-invasive or pre-invasive breast cancer.

    At this stage, the cancer has not spread to surrounding tissues. And while its considered non-invasive, its important to remember that it can still become invasive and spread beyond the milk ducts if it isnt treated.

    What are the treatment options for Stage 0 breast cancer?

    • Surgery Breast surgery is often the first step at Stage 0. Depending on the size of the tumor, how fast the cancer appears to be growing and your personal preferences, there are two types of surgical options:
    • Lumpectomy A lumpectomy is a targeted surgery that removes the lump or tumor in question, and a small amount of normal tissue around it. This is commonly referred to as breast conservation surgery . In the United States, most women with Stage 0 breast cancer undergo a lumpectomy followed by radiation therapy.
    • Mastectomy If the cancer has spread throughout the ducts and affects a large part of the breast, doctors may recommend a mastectomy. With this surgery, the entire breast is removed and possibly some lymph nodes as well.
  • Radiation If BCS is done, radiation is almost always recommended after surgery. The goal of radiation is to get rid of any cancer cells lingering in your breast and prevent them from coming back.
  • Support For Living With Secondary Breast Cancer In The Liver

    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.

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    De Novo Metastatic Breast Cancer And Recurrent Breast Cancer

    It is important to understand the two types of Stage IV Breast Cancer and the differences between them:-

  • De Novo metastatic breast cancer: This term refers to women who are Stage IV at the initial diagnosis of breast cancer. That is, cancer has already spread to other parts of the body. De novo metastatic breast cancer accounts for only around 6% of cases at diagnosis in the US.
  • Recurrent Breast Cancer: More often, breast cancer returns or spreads after the initial diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. This recurrence can happen months, or even years, after the first presentation and treatment.
  • Why Does My Provider Need To Test The Metastatic Tumor

    Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day: Funding treatment

    Your care team will test the metastases to figure out the biology of the tumor, which can help guide your treatment plan. Providers may test tumors for:

    • Hormone receptor status: If the cancer is hormone receptor-positive, hormonal therapy may be your first treatment.
    • HER2 status: Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 is a protein that is overexpressed on some breast cancer cells. HER2-positive cancer responds to specific HER2-targeted therapies.
    • PIK3CA gene mutation: If a tumor is hormone receptor-positive and HER2-negative, your provider may test for this gene mutation. Specific targeted therapies can be used to treat tumors with this mutation.
    • PD-L1 status: Tumors that are hormone receptive-negative and HER2-negative may be tested for PD-L1 status. If the PD-L1 test is positive, you may be recommended to receive a combination of immunotherapy and chemotherapy.

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    How Treatment Can Impact Survival Of Early Stage Breast Cancer

    In most cases, the earlier breast cancer is first diagnosed and treated, the better the chance of survival. Cancer cells often become more difficult to treat and may develop drug resistance once they spread. The aim of treatment for Stage 1 and 2 breast cancer is to remove the breast cancer, and any other cancer cells that remain in the breast, armpit or other parts of the body but cannot be detected. Having treatment at this stage can also reduce the risk of the cancer coming back.

    Read more:

    Many Women Live For Decades With Metastatic Breast Cancer

    A stage 4 diagnosis is not an instant death sentence, says Renee Sendelbach, 40, from Austin, Texas, who was diagnosed seven years ago, when she learned that her breast cancer had moved into her lungs, bones, and lymph nodes.

    Ive had metastatic breast cancer for five years and Im still kicking, says Susan Rosen, 53, from Franklin, Massachusetts.

    According to a 2017 article in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 34 percent of women diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer have been living with the disease for five years or longer.

    The goal of treatment is to keep patients on their feet as long as possible so that they can continue to do what they want to do, says Gretchen Kimmick, MD, associate professor of medicine at the Duke Cancer Institute in Durham, North Carolina.

    In recent years, treatment for breast cancer has vastly improved, largely because doctors are able to more accurately target therapy to the type of breast cancer a woman has. The discovery of the HER2 protein and medicines that block it has revolutionized treatment for women with cancers that overexpress this protein, Dr. Kimmick says. This cancer was pretty deadly two decades ago, and now we are starting to debate if weve cured it in some women.

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