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What Is The Prognosis For Metastatic Breast Cancer

How Does Staging Relate To Types Of Breast Cancer

Bone Only Metastatic Breast Cancer, What Is The Best Approach?

In addition to cancer stage, doctors will determine the tumor grade and subtype.

Tumors are graded on a scale of 1 to 3, based on how abnormal the cells appear compared to normal cells. The higher the grade, the more aggressive the cancer, meaning that it tends to be growing quickly.

The subtype is important because treatment and outlook will vary depending on which subtype of breast cancer that you have. Subtypes include:

How Common Is It

About 155,000 women in the United States live with metastatic breast cancer. Men can have metastatic breast cancer too, but its rare.

Only 6% to 10% of women with breast cancer are diagnosed at stage IV. About 20% to 30% of women are diagnosed with an early-stage breast cancer, and then the cancer spreads.

Is Stage 4 Breast Cancer Curable

Theres currently no cure for stage 4 breast cancer, but with treatments it can be kept under control, often for years at a time.

People with metastatic breast cancer need to receive treatments for the rest of their lives. If a certain treatment stops being effective, another treatment regimen may be tried.

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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.

Poor Appetite And Weight Loss

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Sometimes people with secondary breast cancer cannot eat as much as usual. This means they may have difficulty maintaining their weight as well as providing the body with energy.

Poor appetite can be due to the effects of the cancer, treatment or anxiety. You might find it easier to eat little and often instead of having set meals. If you still feel youre not eating enough, or are losing weight, talk to your doctor or nurse about dietary supplements or ask to speak to a dietician for specialist advice. In some circumstances you may be prescribed medication to help stimulate your appetite.

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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.

Sensitivity Analyses To Account For Potential Study Biases

In eight studies, there was truncation of diagnosis ascertainment in the earliest cohorts of MBC patients with recurrent disease that could introduce an ascertainment bias, where earlier cases would include more aggressive disease that was more likely to recur early . In four studies, diagnosis and recurrence were truncated in the same year , and in the other four, diagnosis was truncated 27years before recurrence . Thus, in the earliest cohorts, only recently diagnosed patients from the time period were included. By definition, such patients had a shorter recurrence-free interval than in later cohorts, and because shorter recurrence-free interval is associated with shorter survival after distant recurrence , earlier patients were selected for more aggressive disease. In sensitivity analysis, we excluded studies with this potential ascertainment bias and concluded there was no change in the finding that survival improved over time: 20months in 1990 and 41months in 2010.

Second, several studies included over 20% locoregional recurrences , which are treated very differently from distant recurrences and have longer survival . When we repeated the analysis without these five studies, we concluded there was no change in the finding that survival improved, though survival was modestly lower when only distant recurrences were included : 19months in 1990 and 34months in 2010.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Metastatic Breast Cancer

The symptoms of metastatic breast cancer vary depending on where the cancer has spread in the body. Evelyn Toyin Taiwo, MD, hematologist and oncologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, tells Health these symptoms, based on which part of the body is affected, include:;

  • Bone: New, unexplained pain in bones and joints; commonly seen in the hip or lower back
  • Liver: Abdominal pain or discomfort

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Risk Covariates Related With Survival In Cohorts With And Without Surgery

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Initially, univariate Cox proportional models regarding to groups with and without surgery were built, respectively, to evaluate the multiple factors related with OS and BCSS . Eleven parameters were incorporated into this Cox model, including one demographic variable, seven disease-related variables, and three treatment-related variables. As shown in Table 3, the risk of death increased dramatically with age both in cohort with and without surgery. The T staging exerted a significant prognostic factors. For patients not receiving surgery, the risk of death in patients with higher T stage was higher than those with T1 tumors expect T2 tumors. Meanwhile, among patients receiving surgery, T staging was consistently associated with worse OS and BCSS compared with T1 . The risk of death also increased in patients with poorer tumor differentiation. Patients with lung, brain or multiple sites involvement had a significantly higher risk of death than those with only bone metastases regardless of surgery or not . However, there was no correlation between higher N staging and poorer survival outcomes in both groups. Moreover, positive status of ER, PR and HER2, and treatments with radiation and chemotherapy were proved to be protective factors for better OS and BCSS in both surgery and non-surgery group. Intriguingly, patients received radical mastectomy had slightly better prognosis than those undergone lumpectomy or mastectomy both in OS and BCSS .

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Myth #: If Youre Diagnosed With Metastatic Breast Cancer You Did Something Wrong Or Didnt Get The Right Treatment The First Time

When some people hear stage IV breast cancer, they assume something must have been missed along the way to let the cancer get that far. There is a misconception that breast cancer always develops in orderly steps from stages I to II, III, and then IV and that theres plenty of time to catch it early. People with MBC can face misguided assumptions that they must have skipped mammograms or self-exams, or they didnt control risk factors such as not exercising enough, watching their weight, or eating healthy. But a person can do everything right and still get MBC. Although regular screenings increase the odds of diagnosing breast cancer at an earlier stage, they cant guarantee it.

Another major misconception: If youre diagnosed with metastatic cancer after being treated for an early-stage breast cancer, you must have chosen the wrong treatment regimen or it wasnt aggressive enough. But between 20% and 30% of people with an earlier-stage breast cancer will eventually go on to develop MBC and theres often no good explanation as to why. And it can happen to anyone. Treatments can reduce the risk of recurrence, but they cant eliminate it.

As Illimae of Houston notes: that a stage IV diagnosis equals negligence on the part of the patient. In my case, it had spread before I ever felt a lump. I felt it Saturday and saw my doc on Monday, I ignored nothing, sometimes it just happens that fast.

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Individualized Prediction Of Survival Benefit From Locoregional Surgical Treatment For Patients With Metastatic Breast Cancer

  • 1Department of Breast and Thyroid Surgery, Zhejiang Provincial People’s Hospital, People’s Hospital of Hangzhou Medical College, Hangzhou, China
  • 2Department of Breast Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
  • 3Department of General Surgery, The 7th Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, Shenzhen, China

Objective: Recently, performing locoregional surgical treatment still remains debatable in patients with metastatic breast cancer . Current study aimed to develop prognostic nomograms for predicting the long-term survival in MBC patients with or without surgical intervention, thereby assisting clinicians in making individualized choice.

Methods: The training set included 5173 patients who were diagnosed with MBC in 20102013 from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program, while the validation set comprised 2924 patients diagnosed in 20142015. Multivariant Cox hazard model was applied to determine the independent risk factors for overall survival and breast cancer specific survival . Then, individualized pre- and postoperative nomograms for predicting 1- or 3-year survival probabilities were constructed accordingly. Internal and external validations were conducted to determine the accuracy of these nomograms by calculating concordance index and plotting calibration curves.

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What Is Metastatic Breast Cancer

Metastatic breast cancer is not a specific type of breast cancer. Its the most advanced stage of breast cancer.

Metastatic breast cancer is breast cancer that has spread beyond the breast and nearby lymph nodes to other parts of the body .

Although metastatic breast cancer has spread to another part of the body, its still breast cancer and treated as breast cancer.

For example, breast cancer that has spread to the bones is still breast cancer . So, its treated with breast cancer drugs, rather than treatments for a cancer that began in the bones.

Learn what Komen is doing to help people with metastatic breast cancer.

Survival And Prognostic Factors

Overall survival (OS) in patients with metastatic breast ...

Median follow-up after diagnosis of metastatic disease was 37.1 months , with 302 patients being alive at the end of the follow-up period.

The median survival of patients with de novo metastatic breast cancer was 29.4 months compared with 21.1 months for patients with recurrent metastatic breast cancer .

When looking at the patients with recurrent metastatic breast cancer stratified by MFI, survival of those with de novo metastatic breast cancer was significantly better than for patients with MFI <24 months . Survival of de novo metastatic breast cancer patients was not significantly different from the survival of recurrent metastatic breast cancer patients with MFI of >24 months .

Survival after diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer for patients with de novo metastatic breast cancer and recurrent metastatic breast cancer with MFI <24 months and recurrent metastatic breast cancer with MFI >24 months.

The prognostic impact of the prognostic factors did not differ significantly for the three MFI groups . Therefore, the results could be pooled to obtain the final Cox proportional hazards model .

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Intrahepatic Chemotherapy And Chemoembolisation

Intrahepatic chemotherapy and chemoembolisation involve giving chemotherapy directly into the liver. This is done through a thin tube, called a catheter, into the main blood supply to the liver.

Giving chemotherapy directly into the liver means a higher concentration of the drug can be delivered to the area of cancer.

In chemoembolisation, the chemotherapy is delivered along with an oily liquid or foam which blocks the blood supply to the cancer. The cancer is deprived of oxygen and nutrients, and the chemotherapy stays in the area for longer. The liver continues to be supplied with blood in the normal way.

These treatments may not be routinely available on the NHS but may be offered as part of a clinical trial.

Will I Ever Be Cured

Oncologists dont talk about curing stage 4 breast cancer as much as managing it as you would other chronic diseases, according to Brufsky. Were not likely going to get rid of every single bit of cancer, but were learning that people can live with this disease and be asymptomatic for years and years, he explains. While the mean survival of patients with HR-positive/HER-2-negative;metastatic breast cancer is now over five years, its hard to say what the future holds for a woman diagnosed with the disease today. The field is changing so quickly and dramatically that in two or three years, this will be a different conversation.

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Newly Diagnosed Or Worried About A Symptom

In the days or weeks after a diagnosis of secondary breast cancer, you may feel in turmoil and find it hard to think clearly.

You can read our information for people newly diagnosed with secondary breast cancer, including where to find support.

If you havent been diagnosed but are worried about a symptom, find out more about the signs and symptoms of secondary breast cancer.

Palliative And Supportive Care

First-Line ER-Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer Treatments

Palliative and supportive care focuses on symptom control and support. Its an extremely important part of the care and treatment for many people living 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 support 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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What Does Stage 3 Mean

Because stage 3 breast cancer has spread outside the breast, it can be harder to treat than earlier stage breast cancer, though that depends on a few factors.

With aggressive treatment, stage 3 breast cancer is curable; however, the risk that the cancer will grow back after treatment is high.

Doctors further divide stage 3 cancer into the following stages:

Living With Stage 4 Breast Cancer

Metastatic breast cancer affects people in different ways. Some women who are diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer may experience a reduction in their overall health as a result of disease progression and/or the resulting side effects of their treatment. If you are experiencing any symptoms that concern you or if symptoms get worse, it is important that you discuss these with your doctor. In addition, while there is no strong evidence that a special diet will improve the prognosis of metastatic breast cancer, healthy lifestyle choices can help you to feel your best, manage symptoms and improve your overall wellbeing.

Many women also find the uncertainty of their situation difficult to manage. Some people cope best by living in the present and not thinking too much about the future. Other people prefer to plan ahead, which gives them a greater sense of control. The best approach is the one that works best for you.

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How Breast Cancer Can Be Treated

During their breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, the majority of women experience at least some psychological hardship. The amount of suffering varies from woman to woman and within an individual during diagnosis and therapy. Cancer-related discomfort is predicted to fade with time for the vast majority of people afflicted with cancer. However, for others, such distress may significantly impair comfort, quality of life, and the capacity to make proper treatment decisions and adhere to therapy.

This study closes with a discussion of risk factors linked with various types of breast cancers, as well as techniques for identifying and curing them, and much more.

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.

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Survival Rates Of Stage 4 Breast Cancer

Unfortunately, cancer cells often become more difficult to treat and may develop drug resistance once they spread. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare , the 5-year survival rate for women whose breast cancer is metastatic at first diagnosis is 32%, compared to the 91% on average for all breast cancer patients.

Factors affecting survival rate of metastatic breast cancer

Survival rates can provide an estimate of what percentage of patients with the same stage of breast cancer are still alive after a certain period of time . However, they cannot predict how long any specific individual with breast cancer will live. The length of survival time for people with metastatic breast cancer can vary significantly from person to person, but there are a number of factors which can influence this including:

  • Response to treatment
  • The extent and location of metastases
  • The presence of other health issues not related to cancer
  • The specific subtype of breast cancer . This is very important, as some types of cancer can be more aggressive than others and respond differently to treatment.


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