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Is Stage 4 Breast Cancer Survivable

What Is Stage I

Stage 4 Breast Cancer Diet For Survival

Stage I is the earliest point of invasive cancer when tumor cells have started to spread to surrounding, normal breast tissue, Cruz said. In this stage the spread is contained to a small area.

Stage I is divided into categories IA and IB based on the size of a tumor and where cancer cells are detected. In IA, the tumor is about the size of a grape, Cruz said. Stage IB indicates the tumor is smaller or nonexistent, but there are small clusters of cells in the lymph nodes.

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Chance Of Remission And Recurrence

When cancer goes into remission, tests that seek for cancer cannot detect it. A doctor may refer to this pathological complete response.

Treatment may also produce partial remission. This suggests that therapy has destroyed a portion of the cancer but that testing can still discover the cancer.

Stage 4 breast cancer will not go away completely. However, Breastcancer.org states that therapy can help manage the cancer for years. It states that the cancer might be aggressive at times and go into remission at other times.

Because stage 4 breast cancer is not treatable, it will not vanish and then resurface.

Myth #: People With Metastatic Breast Cancer Look Sick And Lose Their Hair

You dont look sick. You look so well. Why do you still have your hair? Are you sure you have cancer? These are comments that people with MBC report hearing. But there are many treatment options besides chemotherapy, and people often appear well while taking them.

As NancyHB comments: Id much rather be a poster child for how sometimes we can live with, rather than die from, MBC at least for a while. Instead, I find myself defending against people who are increasingly becoming impatient with my lack of cancer-patient appearance. Im grateful for this time of feeling good, and theyre harshing my buzz.

Some people with MBC report that they actually look better than they feel while in treatment. So they sometimes have to let family and friends know that even though they appear fine, they dont feel well.

Shetland Pony notes: If she looks good, she is good. Nope. Many of us suffer from the invisible disability of fatigue. I would venture to say every available treatment causes us some level of fatigue. We struggle to keep up. It may look like we are doing the bare minimum when we are really giving it our all.

JoE777 of Texas adds: The new normals advertised about therapies on TV are deceiving about the side effects. They talk about side effects while women are skipping through life. not looking to show the harsh side effects but think there is something wrong with me that my life is not like that.

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Will I Need More Than One Treatment For Metastatic Breast Cancer

Medications are important for metastatic breast cancer to help control its spread. Resistance to therapies may develop, which can lead your care team to recommend a change in treatment.

When you start a treatment regimen, you and your care team will see how:

  • The cancer responds to the therapy.
  • The side effects impact you.

If the treatment isnt working or the side effects are unbearable, your care team can discuss switching the treatment method. They may recommend a different drug, dosage or schedule.

There are many treatments available. If one therapy isnt working for you for whatever reason, there is usually another one you can try.

Relative Survival Rate By Stage

About Breast Cancer

The survival rates by stage are based on the stage at the time of diagnosis. Youve probably been given a number and letter for your cancer stage. Here, the terms localized, regional, and distant are used instead of numbers and letters. Heres what they mean and the 5-year relative survival rates for each:

  • Localized breast cancer is only in the breast. This includes stage IA , some IIA , and some IIB . The 5-year relative survival rate is 99%.
  • Regional breast cancer has spread to nearby tissue or lymph nodes. This includes stage IB , some IIA , some IIB , and all stage III . The 5-year relative survival rate is 86%.
  • Distant breast cancer has spread to other parts of the body. This includes stage IV, pronounced stage 4). The 5-year relative survival rate is 28%.

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What Tumor Factors Threaten My Life More

There are important tumor biology factors not well reflected in survival statistics by breast cancer stage. Below we list a few important factors that carry a higher risk to life beyond just the stage of cancer. You must ask your surgeon or medical oncologist to explain your receptor status and give you a copy of your biopsy pathology report.

Triple Negative Receptor breast cancer

Triple negative breast cancer is considered a more aggressive breast cancer. Invariably it does require chemotherapy. If you have triple negative breast cancer the risk of dying is higher than the standard statistics usually quoted for a particular stage of breast cancer . Learn more about Triple Negative Breast Cancer with our video lesson

HER2-Positive breast cancer

HER2-positive breast cancers are also more aggressive tumors. But the good news is that we now have incredibly effective, targeted chemotherapy and immunotherapy for HER2-positive cancers. Our video lesson covers HER2-Positive Breast Cancer in more detail .

Breast Cancer at a Young Age

Women younger than 40 have a higher chance of being diagnosed with a more advanced stage breast cancer. Also, the specific cancer type younger women develop has a higher chance of being more aggressive . As a result, age is a relative risk factor for survival.

Untreated breast cancer

Teaching everyone to be an expert in their own breast cancer care.

What Is Stage 2 Breast Cancer

Also known as invasive breast cancer, the tumor in this stage measures between 2 cm to 5 cm, or the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes under the arm on the same side as the breast cancer. Stage 2 breast cancer indicates a slightly more advanced form of the disease. At this stage, the cancer cells have spread beyond the original location and into the surrounding breast tissue, and the tumor is larger than in stage 1 disease. However, stage 2 means the cancer has not spread to a distant part of the body.

At stage 2, a tumor may be detected during a breast self-exam as a hard lump within the breast. Breast self-exams and routine screening are always important and can often lead to early diagnosis, when the cancer is most treatable.

Stage 2 breast cancer is divided into two categories:

Stage 2A: One of the following is true:

  • There is no tumor within the breast, but cancer has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, or
  • The tumor in the breast is 2 cm or smaller and cancer has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, or
  • The tumor in the breast measures 2 cm to 5 cm but cancer has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes.

Stage 2B: One of the following is true:

  • The tumor measures 2 cm to 5 cm and cancer has spread to the axillary lymph nodes, or
  • The tumor is larger than 5 cm but cancer has not spread to the axillary lymph nodes.

At stage 2, TNM designations help describe the extent of the disease. Most commonly, stage 2 breast cancer is described as:

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What Is Stage 4 Breast Cancer

Stage 4 breast cancer is also called metastatic breast cancer or advanced breast cancer. In this stage, cancer that developed in your breast has spread to other areas of your body.

Cancer cells might have traveled through your lymphatic system to your lungs, bones, liver, brain, or other organs.

Stage 4 is the most serious and life threatening stage of breast cancer. Most often, stage 4 breast cancer develops long after a person has first been diagnosed with cancer. In rare cases, the cancer may have progressed to stage 4 at the time a person is first diagnosed.

Facing stage 4 breast cancer can be challenging. But following your doctors recommended treatment plan and practicing healthy lifestyle habits can help to improve your outcome. It may significantly increase your lifespan and improve your quality of life.

Breast Cancer Healthline is a free app for people who have faced a breast cancer diagnosis. The app is available on the App Store and . Download here.

Definition Of Cure And Appropriate Endpoints

Surgery in stage 4 breast cancer increased survival

Most trials in MBC have relatively short follow-up. Long-term surveillance is exceptional, so little is known about the definitive outcome and the exact proportion of long-term survivors.

Complete response , as assessed by conventional or modern imaging, and long-term progression-free survival have usually been used as surrogates for cure in MBC. However, with the advent of new technologies, we are now able to detect minimal residual disease, which may influence the definition of cure.

Long-term survival may simply reflect the indolent nature of the disease, rather than the impact of therapy. However, cure does not necessarily mean destroying every cancer cell, but rather rendering the disease harmless for prolonged periods , which often can be achieved with less toxic therapies such as hormonal or targeted agents. Other clinical endpoints, such as tumor response, disease control, or time to progression are often used to replace overall survival in the ability to assess the long-term benefit of selected treatment strategies . Importantly, the ultimate goal in MBC management is to prolong the duration of life while maintaining a good quality of life. New endpoints must therefore be defined to assess this global definition of cure.

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Triple Negative Breast Cancer

With this type of breast cancer, the breast cancer cells dont have ER+ or PR+ receptors. They dont overproduce the HER2 protein, so hormone therapy isnt very effective.

Instead, triple negative stage 4 breast cancer is usually treated with chemotherapy. Radiation therapy may also be an option, depending on the site of metastasis.

Surviving Stage 4 Breast Cancer: Is It Possible

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.

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How Long Can Someone Live With Stage 4 Cancer

Doctors usually give a prognosis for cancer in terms of an estimated survival rate over 5 years. These survival rates are a rough guide based on data from thousands of other people with a similar cancer and stage.

Survival rates vary depending on the location or type of cancer. Despite how far cancer spreads, doctors will still refer to the type of cancer by where it started.

The stage 4 survival rates for some of the most common forms of cancers include the following:

Survival Rate For Stage 4 Cancer Depends On Factors Like The Cancer Types Treatments Patient’s Health Condition Etc Work With Your Doctor For Best Results

Stage IV breast cancer

When one is diagnosed to have Stage IV cancer, the immediate concern is if the person will be able to survive the disease. This concern, also medically known as the prognosis, depends on many factors, including availability of treatment and one’s general health condition. Knowing what stage one’s cancer is mostly determines his probability of surviving based on research. Cancer staging therefore helps the doctor to advise the patient about his condition and what forms of treatment are suitable, and to predict his survival rate in the next few years.

Cancer survival rate refers to the percentage of patients afflicted with a certain form of cancer who survive the disease for a specified amount of time. Statistics often refer to a five-year period where scientific surveys on these patients are based, although these data do not specify whether the patients are still undergoing treatment or are completely cancer-free after five years. An over-all five-year survival rate of 80% would mean that for every 100 patients with the disease, 80 would probably live for at least another five years, and 20 would probably not survive this period of time.

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How Is Stage 4 Breast Cancer Treatedand What’s 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 patient’s 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.

Treatment For Advanced Breast Cancer

Treatment of metastatic breast cancer aims to control the growth and spread of the cancer, to relieve symptoms, reduce pain, and improve or maintain quality of life.

The treatment recommended by doctors will depend on which treatments are likely to control the breast cancer and what side effects the person can cope with. Treatment options may involve:

Also Check: What Is Treatment For Stage 2 Breast Cancer

Why Does Metastatic Breast Cancer Happen

Most often, metastatic cancer occurs because treatment didnt destroy all the cancer cells. Sometimes, a few cells remain dormant, or are hidden and undetectable. Then, for reasons providers dont fully understand, the cells begin to grow and spread again.

De novo metastatic breast cancer means that at the time of initial diagnosis, the breast cancer has already spread to other parts of the body. In the absence of treatment, the cancer spreads.

There is nothing you can do to keep breast cancer from metastasizing. And metastatic breast cancer doesnt happen because of something you did.

Can You Actually Survive Stage 4 Breast Cancer Nowadays

Miracle Survivor author talks about surviving stage 4 breast cancer

    Hello

    Thanks in advance for any advice or answers.

    Am sorry to trouble you but am confused about what i have read and what i have been told.

    I have been told by a medical team that advanced breast cancer can be loooked at just like a chronic illness in some circumstances

    And I have also read recently that advanced breast cancer has an excellent survival rate,.

    But what is excellent in these circumstances? I want to be positive but also realistic.

    I read tales where people are happy that either themselves, their friends or relatives made it to 5 years, which indeed is lovely.

    And I know this may sound odd or maybe ungrateful but Is this considered excellent?

    I always thought with chronic illnesses you just lived a normal life span but carried on with treatment.

    Has anyone ever made it to 10, 20, 30,or even 40 years?

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    Survival Rates For 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.

    Breast Cancer Survival Rates

    The overall 5-year relative survival rate for breast cancer is 90%. This means 90 out of 100 women are alive 5 years after theyve been diagnosed with breast cancer.

    The 10-year breast cancer relative survival rate is 84% . The invasive 15-year breast cancer relative survival rate is 80% .

    Continued

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    Myth #: The Mental And Emotional Experience Of People With Mbc Is The Same As That Of Earlier

    People with MBC report hearing comments such as, At least you have a good type of cancer, Arent you glad so much research on breast cancer has been done?, Fortunately you have so many options. These might comfort people with early-stage breast cancer, who can look forward to one day finishing treatment and moving on but people with MBC dont have that luxury. They know they will be in treatment for the rest of their lives. They also know that their life is likely to be shorter than theyd planned.

    Mentally and emotionally, people with MBC have a completely different experience. For them, the whole ringing the bell idea does not work, says Dr. Gupta. I have patients who are coming in once a week and have to plan their lives around their treatment. The whole pink brigade idea is very upsetting to them.

    Fortunately, more and more people with MBC are speaking up and calling attention to how their experience differs from that of people with earlier-stage breast cancer. People with MBC live with cancer always in the background of their lives, but with new and emerging therapies, many are living longer and maintaining their quality of life.

    Clearly, the experience of metastatic breast cancer is quite different from early-stage breast cancer. But there are so many patients who understand just what youre going through. Read more about Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer and join our discussion forum for people with stage IV/metastatic disease.

    References

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